Nurses do not get their due

Published Jan 21, 2014, 1:56 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 7:25 am IST
Nurses with 3-4 years experience migrate to UK, UAE, US for better opportunities.
In India, the current nurse to patient ratio is 1 nurse for 1,100 people. WHO recommends 1 nurse for 500 people.
 In India, the current nurse to patient ratio is 1 nurse for 1,100 people. WHO recommends 1 nurse for 500 people.

Hyderabad: The country needs 2.4 million nurses. The current nurse-to-people ratio is one nurse for 1,100 people, while the World Health Organisation recommended ratio is one nurse per 500 people.

The nurse-patient ratio in general wards in private hospitals is one nurse to seven patients and one nurse to three patients in acute medical wards. The ratio in government hospitals is one nurse to 12-15 patients in the general ward and one nurse to five patients in acute medical care wards.


Despite more than 1,000 training institutions in the country, the deficit is high. Andhra Pradesh is the second largest provider of nurses, with 220 colleges and schools in the city from where 4,000 nurses graduate every year.

Despite such a large number of graduates, the shortage is acute as many of them obtain experience of three to five years and then migrate to the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, the UK, New Zealand and Europe.

Principal of Care Nursing College, Vasundhara Tulsi acknowledges that nursing staff are keen to get jobs abroad. Vijaya Udumala, principal of JMJ College of Nursing says that nursing staff does not get its due here.


“Nursing is a very difficult profession and it requires tremendous amount of patience. When it comes to representing our problems to the government, there is no proper forum. The salary in some private hospitals is only Rs 5,000 per month and that can’t be a motivation. Not everyone makes it to the corporate hospitals. Due to these reasons, the drain has been continuous and no efforts have been made to stop it.”

The worst hit are small nursing homes and pathology centres that often have to pool resources. Some have begun providing accommodation and additional perks to retain staff. Unless better pay and facilities are offered to nursing staff in India, the drain to better paid jobs abroad, where there is a dearth of nursing staff, will continue.


Next: Continuous upgradation of skills required, feel experts

Continuous upgradation of skills required, feel experts

Hyderabad: Specialisation in the nursing profession is not part of the curriculum. Therefore, whether nurses are in the general ward, acute medical care, intensive medical care or surgery, they are often found performing the same job.

Shubhada Sakurikar, nursing director at Apollo Hospitals says, “It is very important to upgrade the system and include the super specialties as it requires a different kind of handling. This will also help to create levels in the nursing industry and create a gradation system.


There will be internal competition and also progression as far as work culture is concerned. These aspects are missing. A few private hospitals are trying to inculcate it, but all must follow to improve the quality of nursing and also make it exciting for the nurses.” Technology now plays a larger role in medical care and nurses should be acquainted with the high-end gadgets they will be called upon to use.

A senior nurse explained, “Most nurses are aware of the basics but not of the changing technology that is now part and parcel of hospital care. As a policy we conduct advance training progra-mmes once a month to keep the staff updated.”


Infection control is an important part of their work profile as it is nurses who come in constant and close contact with patients. Thus they have to be alert and check the chronically ill-patients from time to time and also ensure that good hygiene is maintained during the care. For this constant training and evaluation is required from the hospital.

Next: Few takers for nursing as profession

Few takers for nursing as profession

Hyderabad: More nurses need to be recruited in government hospitals in the state to make up for the acute shortage.  The existing shortage in government hospitals is estimated to be more than 30 per cent.


Associate professor of Osmania Nursing College, Leela Samuels says, “There has been a major shift and permanent nurses are no longer recruited at government level. A contract period of three to four years allows them to seek experience and move on to better jobs.”

V. Shanti, a senior nurse at Osmania Hospital says motivated and selfless people are needed to join as nurses. “We get people only from the lower strata of society who need a good job to support their family. The really motivated and selfless people joining the profession have reduced drastically,” she says.


Many nurses seek better paid jobs abroad. The Andhra Pradesh Nursing Council has reque-sted the government to int-roduce initiatives to retain nurses in the state. There have also been fewer admissions in nursing colleges in the last two years.

Registrar of the AP Nursing Council, Roja Rani says many colleges are not filled to capacity as fewer students seek admission. "This is another reason for the existing shortage in the healthcare industry," she says.

Location: Andhra Pradesh