Centre plans major move to improve working conditions of nurses

Representational image. Photo: Shutterstock.

New Delhi: The Central Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced draft guidelines to improve the working conditions of the nursing community in the country. The new proposals include a respectable salary based on the qualifications and experience of the nurses and crèche at the hospitals for their young children.

According to the Centre, it would be the responsibility of the state governments to ensure that the guidelines are followed. The draft will be finalized by August 30 after receiving suggestions. The Ministry said that suggestions could be mailed to its ID: mohfw@gov.in

The chief proposals include:
Working hours: Nursing personnel should be made to work only 40 hours a week and not more than eight hours a day. When more time is spent at the hospital during emergencies, a compensatory off has to be allowed.

The shift and time should be fixed after obtaining consent from the nurses. Nurses should be informed about their duty hours in advance.

Workload: Nursing staff working in departments where there is heavy workload have to be posted in places where there is less work also.

Training: New recruits have to be given training under senior staff for at least a month.

Perks: Maternity leave with salary and other allowances, annual health checkup, vaccination and treatment in the same hospital where they work have to be ensured for the nurses.

Facilities: A washroom and a rest room have to be set aside for the nurses in hospitals. Another room should be provided to change clothes. Safe drinking water, pantry, lockers and clean uniforms also have to be made available. The PPE kits too have to be supplied free of cost.

Quarters: If possible, hospital authorities have to arrange quarters to stay for the nurses on the hospital premises or nearby.

Personal safety: The draft also says that a mechanism to prevent harassment and other forms of violence against nurses should be in place at the hospitals.

Research: Nurses should be given an equal opportunity for higher studies and research. They have to be encouraged to take up yoga and counselling too.

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