Nurses in India are overworked and unrecognized. The WHO recommendation is three nurses for a population of 1000 people. In India, the ratio is 1.9 per 1000 people.
According to the WHO, there are approximately 27 million men and women who are part of the global nursing and midwifery workforce. Interestingly, this is only 50% of the global health workforce. Nurses play an inevitable role in health promotion, disease prevention, and the provision of primary and community health care.
Studies have shown that when hospitals and other healthcare facilities have adequate nurses, it improves patient safety and reduces the mortality rate.
Why is nursing undesirable in India?
Health facilities will always need nurses. However, due to the social stigma surrounding nursing, poor working conditions, inadequate pay, lack of educational opportunities, and weak nursing leadership, the profession has become undesirable for many. Here are some reasons that contribute to the shortage of nurses.
Bad pay and poor working conditions
The nursing shortage is a complex problem that has more than one cause. One of the main causes is the absence of a minimum wage set according to their qualifications and poor working conditions. According to studies, specialist nurses in India find it difficult to find standard jobs that recognize their qualifications. Most of them are forced to work in poorly structured roles. They don’t get much attention in terms of compensation and recognition.
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Many nurses likely to get a job may not have the qualifications to work in specialized fields. Just like medicine, nursing is also a long learning journey where one can branch out into specialized fields and it can take up to 9-10 years to become a well-trained critical care nurse or those who work in neurosurgery or cardiology.
There are a handful of healthcare institutions in India that embrace the changing roles of nurses and provide them with opportunities that match well with their qualifications. Elsewhere, nurses are still struggling to be recognized inside and outside the system and to exercise their autonomy when it comes to making independent decisions.
Most of the nurses in India are overworked due to the definite shortage. The World Health Organization recommendation is three nurses for a population of 1000 people. The current figure in India is 1.9 per 1000 people. Most of them work exhausting hours and frequently suffer from burnout.
One of the main reasons why there is a shortage of nurses in India is the migration of personnel who get better opportunities abroad. Most nurses, especially those who are specialized, look for jobs outside the country. According to reports, the Gulf countries are a major attraction for Indian nurses. According to reports, Kerala produces the maximum number of nurses and they are in high demand outside the country.
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