Married women can join nursing

Earlier, nursing was open to only unmarried women who could continue in the profession even after marriage. Widening the scope, the government has now permitted even married women to enter nursing courses. The policy change was warranted because of acute shortage in the number of nurses. Though there are around 10.35 lakhs nurses registered with the Nursing Council of India, only about 40 per cent are in active service.

“Many have retired or gone abroad or given up nursing services after marriage. That leaves only around 4 lakh nurses in the country in active service,” Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said here on Wednesday at a function to present the Florence Nightingale awards to meritorious nursing personnel.

The gap between demand and availability of trained nursing personnel is nearly 10 lakhs. Azad said super-specialty hospitals have now been allowed to start MSc programmes without insisting on having graduate programmes.

Moreover, 100 nursing seats would be allowed to parent hospitals without insisting on a medical college. Also, six more nursing colleges will be opened at an estimated cost of Rs 20 crore per college.

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