Don’t be surprised if you find male nurses taking care of patients in state-run hospitals in the near future.
For, the Mamata Banerjee government has decided to launch a training course for male nurses for the first time in the state.
Interestingly, the move comes at a time when the healthcare sector is hamstrung by a shortage of nurses and other staff.
The health department headed by the chief minister will publish advertisements in newspapers on Wednesday in this regard.
While the practice of having male nurses seems to have started off in Europe centuries ago, men have failed to break the hold of women in this profession.
According to unconfirmed estimates, about 6 to 7% of US nurses are males.
In India, the share is even smaller.
In fact, not many states have male nurses.
“A training course of two and a half years for multi-skills male health workers will be launched from coming November. We will publish advertisements in newspapers giving the details of the course fees and academic qualifications of candidates. Initially, there would be 100 seats,” Dilip Kumar Ghosh, secretary of the West Bengal Medical Faculty, told HT.
Sources in the health department at Swasthya Bhaban said that the chief minister has already approved the training course that will be launched from November.
The course will be held at Netaji Subhas Sanatorium in Nadia’s Kalyani.
Candidates who have passed the higher secondary examination in the science stream with physics, chemistry and biology as main subjects can apply.
There will be a practical training programme in different staterun hospitals for six months after the final exam.
The course fee is 6,000 per year and the minimum age limit is 17 years.
A senior official of the state directorate of health services said that the male nurses would do the job of nurses except in gynaecology and maternity departments in the state-run medical colleges and hospitals.
They will work like paramedical staff administering injections and IV fluids, giving oxygen to patients.
The health department may increase the number of seats if the demand increases, the official added.
“There are several departments such as trauma care, psychiatry, emergency wards, male wards where the services of multi-skills male health workers are needed. Besides the gynaecology and maternity wards, they may be deputed in all other departments in hospitals. Few states in the country have introduced the male nursing course,” said Swantana Kundu, deputy director of health services (nursing).
Incidentally, there are around 20,000 indoor nurses in the government healthcare system while the state requires 10,000 more to provide minimum medical attention to patients.