The government will soon launch specialty nursing courses such as intensive care unit, paediatric, gynaecology and cardiology nursing in government nursing colleges to keep up with advancements in the field, Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy has said.

Inaugurating the Nurses' Day celebrations organised here on Wednesday, Ms. Sreemathy said the government would provide opportunities for higher studies for those nurses in service who had done only the general nursing and midwifery course as modern medicine demands specialised nursing skills.

She said the government had succeeded in creating ample opportunities for girls from the State to learn nursing. At present, there were nearly 200 nursing schools and 100 nursing colleges in the State. The government had also invested a lot of money to provide academic infrastructure for these institutions and hostel facilities for the students, she said.

The entrance examination for joining the B.Sc. nursing courses had been separated from that of the medical entrance so that students genuinely interested in the profession could be given admission. In the nursing schools run by the government, students who had passed Plus Two in arts or humanities could join the course, provided there were no Plus Two science major students for the vacant seats. These reforms had ensured that all seats in the nursing colleges and schools were filled up, Ms. Sreemathy said.

The government was mindful of the welfare of the nurses' community and their pay revision has been included in the terms and references of the Ninth Pay Commission.

Ms. Sreemathy said she was aware of the problems faced by nurses working in hospitals in the private sector but the government had no responsibility or control over these private institutions. However, once the Clinical Establishments Bill proposed by the Centre became an Act, the pay and service conditions of these nurses would be regularised.

She congratulated Sunitha Chirayath, staff nurse, Kannur District Hospital, and A.P. Subhadra, junior public health nurse, Pakkom, Wayanad, who won this year's National Florence Nightingale Nurses' Awards.

She also distributed this year's State Nurses' Awards. The State Award in the medical colleges' category was won by N. Radhamani, head nurse at Kozhikode medical college, and in the health services category by O. Syamala, head nurse at General Hospital, Kozhikode.

District-wise nurses' awards were also distributed in both categories.

Mayor C. Jayan Babu chaired the function. Health Secretary (Medical Education) Usha Titus; Director of Health Services M.K. Jeevan; Additional Director of Health Services P.K. Jameela; Director of Medical Education V. Geetha; V. Surendran Pillai, MLA; Indian Nursing Council representatives, among others, took part in the function.

Keywords: nursing courses