ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Changing Facets and Emerging Trends

Nursing Education in India

This article explores the history of nursing education in India, and the state, community and market factors contributing to its recent growth. The quality of training offered in these mushrooming institutions, however, tends to be poor. Regularisation and standardisation remain the greatest challenges for Indian nursing. Graduating nurses face job shortages and poor working conditions, especially in the private sector. Understanding the nursing education sector is important in the aftermath of the central government’s mandate to increase the wages of nurses in private hospitals.

Nursing has gone from a marginal profession with few recruits at the time of independence in 1947 to a recognised profession today.1 However, it still occupies a liminal space (Nair and Healey 2006). Efforts to institutionalise nursing began during the British Raj (Nagpal 2001). In the last 70 years, the Indian state and society have responded to many requirements and demands in the field of nursing education, in keeping with international and regional developments. The liberalisation and globalisation policies adopted in India since the 1990s have had an impact on the sector as well. Large amounts of private capital have poured into nursing education suggesting, as D’Mello (2010) said in another context, that capitalism prevails ‘‘with its gloves off.’’

Liberalisation has led to a mindless expansion in the number of training institutions for nurses, while the supply of nurses has not been proportionate to regional demands (Rajan and Nair 2014). The demand for nursing courses depends on inflated estimates of the requirement of nurses in foreign labour markets (Walton-Roberts 2010). At the same time, employment in the domestic private clinical set-up is unattractive to the majority of nursing aspirants because of poor working conditions and badly managed recruitment policies (Nair 2012; Biju 2013).2

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Updated On : 20th Jun, 2017

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