Kerala govt to start 25 new nursing colleges as nurses from govt and private hospitals leaving to US and Europe
By A Staff Reporter THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Feb 6: Twenty-five nursing colleges would be started in Kerala considering increased demand for nurses across the globe after the Covid pandemic, Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal announced while presenting the State Budget for 2023-24. The colleges would be established as part of the Idukki and Wayanad medical colleges, as well as taluk and general hospitals. With this, the number of BSc Nursing seats would increase by 2,500. Currently, there are 1,000 seats across the 10 nursing colleges in the government sector and 1,000 seats in the 10 government controlled self-financing colleges, and 9,600 seats in the 120 self-financing colleges in the private sector. The Budget stated that cooperative bodies, Centre for Professional and Advanced Studies, and the State Institute of Educational Management and Training (SIEMAT), would be given the nod for starting the colleges. The 23 nursing colleges, to be started under these institutions, would be operating in the self-financing mode. According to a report in Kerala Kaumudi 23,000 and more nurses went abroad in just nine months. This necessitating the government nurses union and other affiliate organisations to approach the government to start more nursing colleges in the state. This resulted in the Health Department assigining a nursing council to look into this issue, said the report. The government is also looking at the opportunities available for nurses abroad as a reason to start more nursing colleges in the state. Reports says that there was spurt in the number of nurses going abroad from the state just after the Covid period. There was also more demand with better pay and also the nurses were looking for better standards of living for them and their children. This started to put a strain on government and private hospitals in the state. Hospitals in the state have been calling on the authorities to increase their salary to keep them at work. The salary of nurses abroad is upto 3 lakhs per month compared to an average salary of Rs23,547 per month in Kerala. Approximately 35,000 nurses have left the state as of December 2022, said the report. Earlier years, pre-Covid time, only a maximum of around 15,000 nurses left the state to work abroad. But now it has increased. Europe, US, Canada and Gulf countries have been scouting for nurses due to the increased demand for frontline health workers post Coivd pandemic. Those who have studied general BSc Nursing with no real work experience have job openings in these countries as they can migrate as carers with little experience in working as care-giver. Most of the countries have liberalised the stringent English language requirements too by phasing out qualifying tests such as IELTS for English proficiency. Those candidates with general qualifications can migrate and then pass these tests while in the country and then get registered as nurses and earn twice the salary in the state. Government insititutions such as NORKA and ODEPC have begun to carry out recruitment in the state for hsopitals abroad. Several countries such as the UK, Germany, Italy Holland Israle, Malta are calling for nurses from Kerala. Currently there are aroung 6000 to 7,000 vacancies for nurses in the private sector in Kerala as most of the nursing graduates are not remaining in Kerala as they migrate immediately they have got their certificates.
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