Nursing college answer to Covid crisis
The Institute of Child Health in Park Circus will on Wednesday inaugurate a nursing college, from where 120 nurses will graduate every year.
In Bengal, healthcare delivery is hobbled by the absence of enough qualified nurses. The shortage is being felt more during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Officials of private hospitals said the shortage could only be met if more nursing colleges were opened and existing colleges increased their seat count.
Metro had on October 20 reported that a fresh round of exodus of nurses from private hospitals had threatened to derail plans to increase the number of Covid beds.
The requirement of nurses has gone up because of the pandemic, said officials. While nurses used to work in three shifts of eight hours each earlier, they are now working in four shifts of six hours each. Working for a longer duration wearing PPE is difficult.
“We will offer two degrees. One is a diploma in general nursing and midwifery (GNM). The other is a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Both courses can admit 60 students,” said Apurba Ghosh, the director of the Institute of Child Health (ICH). The course will be offered by ICH in collaboration with Nirmala Foundation, a trust that runs a nursing college in Kalyani.
The courses will be affiliated to the West Bengal University of Health Sciences. Classes will start towards the end of November or December, said Ghosh.
Private hospitals in Calcutta face repeated exit of nurses. Most of the nurses who leave private hospitals join the government health care.
Rupak Barua, the president of the Association of Hospitals of Eastern India (AHEI), said the shortage of nurses in Calcutta was in the thousands. “The Nursing Council of India must relax some of its rules to encourage more hospitals to set up nursing colleges. Only then the deficit can be met. Rules have to be more practical and realistic.”
He cited two rules that he said were posing obstacles to plans to set up nursing colleges. “For every 50 student, there must be about 22,000 sq ft space. Also, the rules say the college has to be within 9km of the hospital. A hospital without untouched land in Calcutta will not be able to open a nursing institute,” Barua said.
Ghosh said they had plans to start a postgraduate course in paediatrics nursing from next year. “Nursing an adult and nursing a baby require very different skills. A baby will cry and the nurse has to take the baby in lap to calm him or her down,” he said.