With 600 nurses in hospitals and Basic Health Units (BHUs) currently, the country is facing an acute shortage of 500-1,000 nurses with the only nursing Institute producing 50 nurses per year.
An official from the labor ministry said that the ministry has been sending 100 students for nursing training every year but this is not enough to meet the requirements.
The health ministry’s target is to have 1,500 nurses by 2013. And this is to be made possible by establishing private nursing institutes within the country for which the government has already approved guidelines.
Certain criteria have to be fulfilled to establish private nursing institutes.
Guidelines state that the main objective is to promote clear and transparent procedures for establishment and registration and also outlining minimum requirements in terms of infrastructure, faculty, curriculum, equipment and so on.
Ministry of Labor and Human Resources’s (MoLHR) Program Officer Tenzin Choden said that for establishing the nursing institute, the promoter has to put up a proposal to the labor ministry which will be reviewed by the establishment review committee. If accepted, the ministry will issue a recommendation letter to the economic affairs ministry for the issuance of license.
This will be followed by registration process with Bhutan Medical and Health Council (BMHC).
The BMHC who will facilitate the registration process will also supervise the quality and standard the institutes should fulfill.
“In order to have more nurses, more nurses have to be trained and the government is giving an opportunity to the private sector,” said the labor Secretary, Pema Wangda. “We are just following instructions from the government.”
The institute has to clearly define its vision, mission, objectives, functions and structures and it will also undertake an agreement with Ministry of Health (MoH) to use teaching hospital, primary health centres and other hospitals for specialized training.
Moreover, the institute will have a curriculum which is approved by the affiliated university, respective council or nursing boards.
The duration for Nursing and Midwifery training is four years for the Bachelors course and three years for the diploma course. A class XII-pass out with science background can apply for the bachelors and for diploma, students from any other stream can apply.
However the institute will enhance its capacity and obtain approval from the council to increase its admission intake.
The institute will be having four departments – department of Basic Science, Nursing, Midwifery and Community Health Nursing. The guidelines were jointly submitted by MoLHR and BMHC to the cabinet under the Accelerating Bhutan’s Socio-Economic Development (ABSD).