It is a fact that India's existing healthcare infrastructure is just not enough to cater to the growing demand. Most of the government hospitals in our rural areas are always overcrowded and under-resourced. Here, patients sharing beds and overworking doctors and nurses seem to be usual. Reports show that there is one government allopathic doctor for every 10,189 people, one government hospital bed for every 2,046 people and one state-run hospital for every 90,343 people. That means we do not really need an epidemic to see the collapse of our public healthcare system.
While, India has a serious shortage of primary care physicians, and the deficit is growing, many experts in this sector consider the introduction of nurse practitioner-managed clinics to combat the shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas. In fact, apart from playing their traditional roles, nurses in several countries also work under titles such as 'advanced practice nurse', 'nurse practitioner', and 'clinical nurse specialist' such as anaesthetists. They are allowed to practice independently in some middle- and low-income countries such as Thailand and Nigeria, as well as in high-income countries, such as the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK, Finland and the Netherlands.
The government has already introduced an amendment in the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, a wide-ranging legislation for reform in medicine, to allow nurse practitioners to prescribe medicines. Apparently, at the behest of the government, the Indian Nursing Council is now preparing a draft bill to amend a 1947 act. This move will bring nurse-practicing rights in the country up to global standards by allow nursing professionals to run autonomous clinics in India. However, The question is, can we seize the opportunity?
In this issue, we feature one such institute on the cover. MGM New Bombay College of Nursing is one among the pioneering institutes in India for offering Nurse Practitioner in Critical Care (NPCC) Postgraduate Programme successfully with effect from 15 November 2017. We have also come up with 'Top 10 Promising Nursing Colleges in India 2018' - a list of educational institutions that have been producing skilled nurses who can be the backbone of the Indian healthcare system.