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India Will Need Additional 2.4 Million Nurses To Meet The Demand
Date Posted: 23/Jul/2017
The demand for trained nurses is expected to increase in the coming years, buoyed by the rising demand for tertiary and quaternary care in the country, says a report released by FICCI – EY. India ranks 75th in the list of 133 developing countries with regards to the number of nurses. There are only 0.7 doctors and 1.7 nurses available per thousand people. The country needs an additional 2.4 million nurses to meet the growing demand. Despite being a major supplier of the health workforce, the health care industry in India is suffering a wide gap.
The report 'Nursing Reforms: Paradigm shift for a bright future' notes that the nursing sector in India continues to experience challenges in terms of availability, distribution and retention, with the lack of a rewarding career progression, individual welfare, and income parity being cited as key reasons, amongst others. Additionally, alternative careers with better pay-outs and less stressful work environments and opportunities to migrate overseas tend to better attract nurses.
According to Vineet Chhatwal, partner EY India, nurses have a direct influence and role in determining the quality of care that is rendered to a patient. ""We need to make a concerted effort to ensure that this capability is recognized and rewarded in order to attract and retain qualified nursing professionals. A special emphasis is to be given to their continuous training and development for them to be able to leverage investments in initiative such as digital health,"" he added.
There is an urgent need for nursing transformation at the national and state levels in both the government and private sectors that can change the practice of nurses, expand current nursing roles while continuing to create new ones, and open up opportunities for nurses to participate in shaping the future health care delivery system. The report carves out 30 key suggestions to strengthen the nursing sector, which primarily deal with policy reforms, human resource development, strengthening the nursing practice, and education.
The report also highlights the need to revise the nursing curriculum - still governed by the Indian Nursing Act framed in 1947 and revised in 1948 – to make it relevant to the current health care industry requirements. Additionally, there exists a manpower skew and uneven opportunity of nursing studies across the country, with almost 52% of the nursing institutions concentrated in the south.
Nursing education needs to advance itself so that it remains competitive and relevant for the current technological environment, and rising customer centricity. This will also include opportunities for higher and specialized education, continuing nursing education and research and development, notes the report.

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