Over 1,000 students pursuing diploma courses in nursing at Madras Medical College, Kilpauk Medical College and Stanley Medical College are protesting. For the second day on Wednesday, the students did not report to classes or work.

They are demanding that the State government assure them of jobs on completion of their course.

Court ruling

The students’ demand comes in the wake of a Madras High Court ruling three weeks ago that degree and diploma holders from private nursing institutions can compete with those who have studied at government colleges for appointments as nurses in government hospitals.

The judgement was arrived at after a series of cases initiated by private college nursing students.

Over the last two decades, ever since the government stopped the recruitment of private college nurses, there has been a severe shortage of nurses in government hospitals as well as in primary health centres.

At present, all nurses are only appointed on a contract basis and their regularisation is generally delayed.

To tide over the shortage, teaching medical institutions deploy nursing students to wards to assist nurses.

An agitating student said, “We administer injections and maintain records. We have fallen ill with jaundice and TB, while working at hospitals. If we are not going to be assured of a government job, we would have chosen some other course.” Students said they have also not been receiving their stipend regularly.

No difference in training, say officials

Health officials said there is no difference in the kind of training that private and government college nursing students gain during their course. Private nursing college students should not be discriminated against, they said.

The deans of Madras Medical College and Kilpauk Medical College, V. Kanagasabai and P. Ramakrishnan, want the students to return to work and give a written representation to the State regarding their demands.

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