Kolkata, June 1 : Regretting that the nursing practice was still not legalised in India, a premier organisation promoting the profession on Friday said it would approach the government for enactment of a law in this regard.
"Our practice is not legalised, because there is no Nursing Practice Act.
Nurses cannot take decisions, like in child birth cases, as the signatures are done only by the doctors.
"In future, we will be asking the government for Nursing Practice Act, like the doctors who have their own practice act.
As we do not have this Act, we are not able to know what all we can do independently," Nursing Research Society of India (NRSI) President Usha Ukande said.
The nurses do not speak out for their authority, fearing legal issues in case of any medical negligence.
As a result, the authority remains with the hospital administration and the doctors.
"Nurses should have autonomy, they should take responsibility and even if there is any problem they can face the problem," she said on the sidelines of the second Nursing Conclave organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here.
Ukande said the Indian Nursing Council has not done anything about the authority of the nurses, and suggested the body be dissolved.
Referring to the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, which seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI), Ukande said a commission on the same lines should be set up replacing the Indian Nursing Council.
"The Indian Nursing Council is under pressure due to court cases against it.
I feel now it should also be dissolved and a new body (National Nursing Commission) should be formed," said Ukande, though acknowledging that all this will take time.
According to her, approximately 1.7 million nurses are working in India and still there is a shortage of 1.9 million nurses.
"To meet the shortage, we can prepare nurses and nursing helpers.
The helpers can be given around one year of training, who will support the nurses in various works."
This will reduce the pressure on the nursing system.
"Patients should go home as early as possible, else they can contact infection. For this, a new concept of 'home healthcare workers' is coming," said Ukande.
The nursing profession has its own challenges.
The nurses get both physically and emotionally exhausted and need proper restrooms and breaks to prevent burnout.
"The most challenging thing is long work hours and people don't pay you enough but you have to fight for it.
If the work environment is good and the officials are supportive, then they can do any amount of work," said Ukande.
Rina Bose, a nurse who had worked in various Commonwealth countries, was felicitated on the occasion.