The Mangalore hospital where Jacintha Saldanha studied nursing will institute a Best Bedside Nurse award in her memory, which will be presented in recognition of nursing proficiency, said Denis D’Sa, Administrator, Father Muller Medical College (FMMC), of which the College of Nursing is a part.

Ms. Saldanha, the nurse of Mangalorean origin who is suspected to have committed suicide in London following a prank call by an Australian radio station recently, studied general nursing from July 1984 to 1988 at the hospital, and was a member of the junior staff in 1989.

The hospital will raise the corpus for the award from sponsors and well-wishers, Mr. D’Sa said.

He said that Jacintha visited her alma mater in 2009 for its golden jubilee celebrations. She made a donation and promised to raise funds from other alumni working abroad to finance the studies of poor students.

The incident has shocked students who planned to go abroad, he said, adding that they would have to know how to handle stress.

At a recent condolence meeting held for Jacintha in the college, he said students were told not to shy away from counselling, and to learn to “balance reason with emotion”.

Several of her batch-mates remember her as being a diligent and intelligent student, a class leader who was extremely active in the Students Nursing Council (SNC) and in extracurricular activities.

“She was the best,” said Maria T.R., her batch-mate and now ward in-charge at the FMMC.

Nathalia Martis, another batch-mate and assistant lecturer at the hospital, said it was hard to believe that a “bold girl” like Jacintha could have committed suicide.