By the end of next year, the State will have a detailed set of statistics about nurses and midwives who are currently in employment. This information would help the government assess the State’s requirements for professionals in the field.

Licensed nurses include auxiliary nurse midwife, health visitors, nurses and midwifes. These health workers will have to renew their licences every five years, failing which they will be considered non-practitioners of the trade. A similar exercise was launched by the pharmacy council two years ago and it was followed by the medical council last year.

“We began the process in July and so far, 37,000 nurses, including 7,000 nurses in the government sector, have renewed their licences,” said Ani Grace Kalaimathi, registrar of the Tamil Nadu Nurses and Midwives Council. Those who have renewed their licenses are mostly from the 1990s, she added. The process will continue till June 2014. She estimates that the State may have around 45,000 nurses.

The data the council had until now is a list of all those who had registered with it since its inception. Once the database is created, we will know how many have travelled out of the country, the registrar added.

To qualify for successive renewals, a nurse should have attended 150 hours of continuing medical education programme. The nurse should have published articles, moderated technical sessions, or attended workshops. The nurse is considered qualified only if the workshop, seminar or the journal is accredited by the council, said Dr. Ani Grace.

The council marked its 87th anniversary this year.