Hyderabad: Nearly 50 per cent of nurses graduating from nursing colleges in Hyderabad prefer to work abroad. The problems with working locally, as highlighted in the recent strike by nurses at government hospitals, are poor salaries, lousy working conditions. No, the situation is not better in private hospitals.
According to Muppidi Rajeshwari, associate professor at the Apollo College of Nursing, apart from low wages and poor working conditions, there's lack of social recognition.
Nurses with two years of experience stand to earn the equivalent of Rs 1 lakh to 1.2 lakh a month in some of the Gulf countries, incentives extra. Countries such as the USA, the UK, some European nations and New Zealand are among the destinations that nurses find attractive, according to Laxman Rudavath, working general secretary of the Nursing Officers Association of Telangana.
However, one challenge for nurses migrating abroad is that of language. “One way they improve their conversational English is by watching movies and serials in English,” Rudavath said. It has also helped that occupational English test scores have been lowered by some countries, he said.
Ch Vishalini, who moved to Chicago after completing her bachelor’s in nursing, told Deccan Chronicle that she plans to pursue her master’s. "The health sector in Hyderabad failed to assure us of a good future. There are constant problems over salaries, which made me look for options abroad,” she said.
Bobby Ramesh, who has been a nursing administrator for 24 years, said the more nursing graduates leave for other countries, the deeper will be the healthcare crisis in hospitals here.
“The state is lagging behind in the nurse-patient ratio. According to WHO guidelines, developing countries should have a ratio of one nurse per two patients on ventilators and 1:5 for those not on ventilators. Such a ratio is a far cry here,” Bobby Ramesh said.
Anil Kumar Bojja, who works with the health ministry in Saudi Arabia, said he worked in Hyderabad for nine years before heading out. According to him, “hospitals in Hyderabad lack proper working conditions, there is no fixed salary structure, and nurses are made to work for long hours.” The problem, he said, could be that the policy-makers are not health professionals who understand the ground-level realities....