hen asked about the first signs of civilization, the great anthropologist Margaret Mead said that it is not the birth of wheel or agriculture, it is a 15000-year-old femur bone found in an archaeological site that has been fractured and then healed. It is the longest bone in the human body and takes six weeks to heal, and during this time, a person or animal was not able to feed himself and died. The fact that someone took out the time, and made an effort then, to help the patient was a true sign of civilization.
It is indeed the gesture of helping another person get a new lease of life that is the noblest task on earth. The profession of nursing is based on the idea of helping patients under all conditions. A nurse not only uses her knowledge and skills to help a patient but also sacrifices her comfort for nursing. She also has to be gentle enough not to cause discomfort to the patient during medical procedures, and kind enough to even hear some complaints while she does her work with tenacity.
During the current times of pandemic, nurses have proven to be enormous support in controlling the number of fatalities. Taking care of the diet and nutrition of a patient is also the responsibility of nurses. If you want to serve humanity, being a vital part of the medical fraternity, and think you have the qualities that make for a good nurse, read ahead and find out what path you need to follow.
Nursing Education in India:
For starting a career as a nurse, you need to appear for the entrance exams that lead you to gain admission for a B.Sc. Nursing course. The Indian Nursing Council is the body that provides accreditation to nursing courses in India. As opposed to entrance exams for doctors, nursing courses have a variety of exams that you can choose from, based on your target college. The most popular exams for B.Sc. Nursing courses are:
- AIIMS B. Sc. Nursing by All India Institute of Medical Sciences
- JIPMER B. Sc. Entrance Exam by Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry
- NTA CON LHMCEE by National Testing Agency
- BHU B. Sc. Nursing by the Banaras Hindu University
- MGM CET by Mahatma Gandhi Mission Institute of Health Sciences, Maharashtra
- AIN Guwahati PGWAT by Army Institute of Nursing, Assam
- PGIMER B. Sc. Nursing by PGI of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
- Indian Army B. Sc. Nursing by the Indian Army
Apart from the conventional B.Sc. Nursing course, which is of 4 years duration, there are some options like Distance course in B.Sc. Nursing, generally for 3 years. A Post Basic course for Nursing can also be opted for, which can be done in 2 years. There are some diploma courses available from some of the private colleges and hospitals. The course for Auxiliary Nursing and Midwife is for 18 months duration whereas the General Nursing & Midwife course is for 3.5 years. Hence, you have to find out about the worth of each course and take up one according to the time you are ready to invest before you can start working and earning. If you want to grow in your career as a nurse, then pursuing an M.Sc. Nursing course will be beneficial, which is again a 2-year long course. There is an option to specialize in Medical-Surgical Nursing also. Plus, M.Sc. in Biotechnology or Biochemistry.
The criteria for appearing for any of these exams is that you must be between 17 to 35 years of age and must have passed class 12th with at least 45% marks in the Science subjects. Most reputed colleges set their cut-off marks in the entrance exams for admissions. Prepare for these exams rigorously and target the exams to fill the application forms well in time.
Top Nursing Colleges
The top colleges for pursuing a course in nursing are AIIMS (Delhi), PGIMER (Chandigarh), Sikkim Manipal College of Nursing (Sikkim), BM Birla College of Nursing (Kolkata), Father Muller College of Nursing (Mangalore), SNDT Women’s University (Mumbai), Armed Forces Medical College (Pune) and Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (Bangalore). Apart from these, there are several other colleges of nursing, offering full-time B.Sc. Nursing. The state of Kerala alone has almost 100 colleges for teaching nursing, and a majority of skilled nurses have come from this state in the past. Rajasthan is another state that produces a large number of nursing staff.
One must choose a college after considering the feasible location, fee structure, practical training and internship provided, scope of research, and experience of faculty. The fee charged for nursing courses can vary from 50,000 to 1,80,000 per annum. Government colleges charge much lesser than private colleges.
Professional Scope of Nursing:
There is a huge demand for trained nurses, with several multi-specialty hospitals coming up in all parts of India. Also, since 2020, the need for nursing staff has increased manifold, as hospitals need nurses for ambulance services and taking care of patients who are recovering from the pandemic. Moreover, setting up special care units at home is also a popular trend, and nurses are needed to care professionally for the patients who choose to get treatment at home.
Within the medical facilities, one can look for positions like Staff Nurse, Nursing Supervisor, Director of Nursing, Nursing Service Administrator, and Assistant Nursing Director. All these positions vary in requirement of qualification and experience. The higher your qualification, the greater will be the chance of growth in your career as a nurse.
Outside the typical hospital setup, graduates of nursing can explore positions in Military Nursing with the armed forces, Industrial Nurse for taking care of patients mostly in manufacturing units, and Community Health Nurse. The government also deploys a large number of nurses as Public Health supervisors or workers. Many schools also employ nurses for their medical wards to take care of children. One can be a dedicated children’s nurse and work in pediatric departments.
Another very lucrative option is to teach nursing. If you wish to become a nursing educator or lecturer, then doing an M.Sc. or Ph.D. in your chosen field of nursing will be beneficial.
The average salary for nurses in hospitals in India is between 2 to 4 lakh per annum, depending upon department and experience. For senior positions, one can get up to 7-8 lakh per annum. As an educator or instructor for nursing, the pay scale ranges from 2 to 6 lakh per annum, again depending on qualification and experience. Midwifery is also a well-paying field within the nursing sector. However, one must not expect excellent pay from the beginning as practical training and experience of handling patients counts a lot. Hence, for nurses, the best thing would be to steadily work up the ladder, and if possible, augment their learning apart from the basic B.Sc. Nursing.
If you are able to get exposure in a top-notch hospital as an intern, the learning, as well as professional growth, will be exponential. There is a huge demand for nurses in India and it is probable that with the growth of the overall medical services sector, the pay of the nurses will also increase. So, for students who are planning to take up a course in nursing, this is indeed a good time. Get ready to work hard, serve people with diligence and care, and be an irreplaceable part of the medical fraternity.