Monday, 28 November, 2022

Collective Efforts Needed To Meet Shortage of Nurse and Midwife

Dr Matiur Rahman

Nursing and midwifery are noble professions. Like other professions, this profession is becoming very popular day by day. Nurses are in demand in all countries, including Bangladesh, and it is a profession whose demands are not limited to any specific boundaries.

The population of our country is increasing every day, and various diseases are also emerging. Various hospitals and clinics are being built by the government and private initiatives to treat diseases. In addition to doctors, nurses and midwives are also in demand in these hospitals and clinics.

But it is a sad fact that there is a shortage of suitable quality nurses and midwives in the hospitals and clinics of our country. Experts have discussed this issue repeatedly, but no such initiative has been seen. Although some public and private institutions have been established, they are inadequate compared to the demand, and there are also questions about the quality of their education.

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), Nursing Now and the International Council of Nurses (ICN), more than half of the world's health workers are nurses. The report also mentioned that the number of nurses worldwide is about 30 million, which has increased to 4.7 million in the last five years. But it is not enough to sustain the health system. The World Health Organization says the world needs 60 million more nurses.

According to the latest data from the Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council, there are about 84,000 registered nurses and midwives in Bangladesh, which is negligible compared to the demand. Because of this, patients are deprived of necessary services. The normal pace of medical care is being disrupted. As per World Health Organization norms, the hospital bed, doctor and nurse ratio should be 1:3. That means there should be at least three nurses with one doctor. Accordingly, the country requires 308,991 nurses. According to experts, it will take another 20 years to solve the nursing crisis in the country.

There are public and private institutions in the country for nursing and midwifery education. According to the Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council, till March 9, 2022, the number of government nursing and midwifery institutes in our country is 68, and the number of government nursing colleges is 23 (of which 13 are currently providing nursing education). There are also 2 Government Post Graduation Institutes and 8 Autonomous/Military Institutions (6 run educational programs). The number of private nursing and midwifery institutes is 360.

These institutes offer a three-year degree in nursing science and midwifery and a three-year diploma in midwifery education. It also offers a 4-year BSc. in Nursing, 2-year BSc in Nursing and 2-year MSc in nursing courses. It also provides Post-Basic BSc in Nursing and Post-Basic BSc in Public Health Nursing. Post-Basic BSc in Midwifery and MSc in nursing degrees are also offered. Thus, many nurses and midwives pass out from these institutions every year.

However, experts feel that training measures to improve the skills of passing nurses are negligible. Due to the housing crisis, inadequate transport facilities, poor performance evaluation and lack of proper monitoring, patients are deprived of desired services. Nurses also consider their profession as a job, not a service.

Besides, many private hospitals and clinics employ non-degree and unregistered people as nurses. As a result, they observe a lack of competence and service mentality incompatible with medical care. As a result, the relationship between the doctor and the patient is not good, and in many cases, the nurses do not interact with the patient and his relatives appropriately.

Concerned people complain that although the present government plays an essential role in developing the nursing and midwifery profession, the patients are not getting proper services. Even general nurses are deprived of their due rights. The nursing profession is weakened by bureaucratic complications, undervaluation of genuinely talented nursing officers, bribery and corruption.

To overcome this problem, experts say that Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) should be included in nursing education courses because nurses need to learn about responsibility and proper behaviour in their professional lives. According to them, the major obstacle to Bangladesh's medical services reaching the international level is the massive shortage of nurses.

Just as a doctor has a role to play in a patient's well-being, the role of a nurse is no less important. The relationship between doctor and nurse is not reversible, and they complement each other. After the doctor sees the patient and writes the prescription, the nurse is responsible for feeding the patient, administering saline, preparing canola, and administering the medication to the patient on time. The nurse is the first to rush when the patient's condition worsens. So, hospitals and clinics should employ enough trained nurses to ensure safe healthcare.

Government and private hospitals or clinics have been built in almost all districts and Upazilas in our country. Nurses are required every year in these institutions, and the number of nurses in our country is still less than the requirement. So the chances of getting a job relatively quickly after registering as a nurse are very high. After studying in this field, there is an opportunity to build a career everywhere in the country and abroad.

The career opportunities for nurses and midwives are in government and private hospitals, different service sectors, hotels, motels, NGOs, INGOs, health projects, research and even tourism corporations. There is a huge demand for skilled and experienced nurses and midwives in our country and abroad.

The nursing and midwifery profession is a responsible profession. To enter this profession, one must have the mentality of serving people. Here one can serve people very intensively. This promising profession offers both financial stability and prestige. This profession provides opportunities for improvement in social status and good income. Therefore, experts feel the need for establishing more nursing and midwifery institutions under public and private initiatives.


The writer is a researcher

and development worker