Nursing in India

The ancient records of India indicate the principles and practices of nursing. They are so clear, intelligent and scientific, that many of them might fit into any of the modern textbook. The nurses were usually young men, and only in special cases, women were taken for conducting childbirth. The progress of nursing in India was obstructed by the low status of women, the caste system, illiteracy and political unrest.


Military nursing

Military nursing was the earliest type of nursing. In 1664 the East India Company started a hospital for soldiers in a house at Fort St.George, Madras. The first sisters were sent from St Thomas' Hospital, London to this military hospital.


In 1797 a Lying-in-Hospital (maternity) for the poor of Madras was built with the help of subscriptions by Dr. John Underwood. In 1854 the Government sanctioned a training school for midwives in Madras.

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale was the first woman to have great influence over nursing in India and had a close knowledge of Indian conditions, especially army. She was interested in the nursing service for the civilian population, though her first interest was the welfare of the army in India.

In 1865, Miss Florence Nightingale drew up some detailed "Suggestions on a system of nursing for hospitals in India". Graduates were sent out from the Nightingale School of Nurses at St.Thomas Hospital, England to start similar schools in our country. St Stephens Hospital at Delhi was the first one to begin training the Indian girls as nurses in 1867.

Training schools

In 1871, the first School of Nursing was started in Government General Hospital, Madras with 6 months Diploma Midwives program with four mid-wife students.

Four lady Superintendents and four trained nurses from England were posted to Madras. Between 1890 and 1900, many schools, under either missions or government, were started in various parts of India. In the yearly twentieth century, National Nursing Associations were started.

In 1897, Dr. B. C. Roy did great work in raising the standards of nursing and that of male and female nurses.

The 20th century

In 1908, the trained nurses association of India was formed as it was felt necessary to uphold the dignity and honor of the nursing profession.

In 1918, training schools were started for health visitors and dais, at Delhi and Karachi. Two English nurses Miss Griffin and Miss Graham were appointed to give training to and to supervise the nurses.

In 1926, Madras State formed the first registration council to provide basic standards in education and training. The first four year basic Bachelor Degree program were established in 1946 at the college of nursing in Delhi and Vellore.

With the assistance from the Rockfeller Foundations, seven health centers were set up between 1931 - 1939 in the cities of Delhi, Madras, Bangalore, Lucknow, Trivandrum, Pune and Calcutta.

In 1947, after the independence, the community development programme and the expansion of hospital service created a large demand for nurses, auxiliary nurse midwives, health visitors, midwives, nursing tutors and nursing administrators.

The Indian Nursing Council was passed by our ordinance on December 31, 1947. The council was constituted in 1949.

In 1956, Miss Adrenwala was appointed as the Nursing Advisor to Government of India. The development of Nursing in India was greatly influenced by the Christian missionaries, World War, British rule and by the International agencies such as W.H.O. UNICEF, Red Cross, UNSAID etc.

The first master’s degree course, a two-year postgraduate program was begun in 1960 at the College of Nursing, Delhi. In 1963, the School of Nursing in Trivandrum, instituted the first two years post certificate Bachelor Degree program.

The associations such as International Council of Nurses, the nurses auxiliary of the CMA of India, T.N.A.I. Indian Nursing council and State level Registration Council are closely connected with promotion and the upliftment of the nursing profession.

Scope of nursing in India

There was a time when professional nurses had very little choice of service because nursing was centered in the hospital and bedside nursing. Career opportunities are more varied now for a numbers of reasons. The list of opportunities available are given under:

1. Staff Nurse provides direct patient care to one patient or a group of patients. Assists ward management and supervision. She is directly responsible to the ward supervisor.

2. Ward sister or Nursing Supervisor, She is responsible to the nursing superintendent for the nursing care management of a ward or unit. Takes full charge of the ward. Assigns work to nursing and non-nursing personnel working in the ward. Responsible for safety and comfort of patients in the ward. Provides teaching sessions if it is a teaching hospital.

3. Department supervisor/Assistant Nursing Superintendent. She is responsible to the nursing superintendent and deputy nursing superintendent for the nursing care and management of more than one ward or unit. Example – Surgical department. Out-patient department.

4. Deputy nursing superintendent. She is responsible to the nursing superintendent and assists in the nursing administration of the hospital.

5. Nursing Superintendent She is responsible to the medical superintendent for safe and efficient management of hospital nursing services.

6. Director of Nursing She is responsible for both nursing service and nursing educations within a teaching hospital.

7. Community Health Nurse (CHN) services rendered mainly focusing Reproductive Child Health programme.

8. Teaching in nursing. The functions and responsibilities of the teacher in nursing are planning, teaching and supervising the learning experiences for the students. Positions in nursing education are clinical instructor, tutor, senior tutor, lecturer, and associate professor, Reader in nursing and Professor in nursing.

9. Industrial nurse Industrial nurses are providing first aid, care during illness, health educations about industrial hazards and prevention of accidents.

10. Military Nurse. Military Nursing service became a part of the Indian Army by which means nurses became commissioned officers who are given rank from liutenant to major general.

11. Nursing service abroad Attractive salaries and promising professional opportunities, which causes a major increase for nursing service in abroad.

12.Nursing service administrative positions. At the state level the Deputy Director of Nursing at the state health directorate. The highest administrative position on a national level is the Nursing Advisor to the Govt. of India. 13. Nursing leadership is not at all in India. there must be need of the strong leaders in India which may make the nursing level high. At this time India is suffering from the lack of good and actual leader in nursing.

See also

External links

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