First DUHS nursing batch to graduate in Dec

KARACHI, July 2(Dawn): There is one doctor per 1310 people in Pakistan and one nurse for every 4636 patients. It is therefore welcome news that students enrolled in the post-RN BScN programme at the Institute of Nursing of the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) will graduate in December. The Institute's building is due to be completed next year.

At a programme entitled "Positive workplace environment enhances quality patient care," held in connection with the International Day of Nursing at DUHS on Saturday, the vice chancellor of the university Dr Masood Hameed Khan pointed out that Pakistan is facing an acute shortage of nurses in both public and private sectors.

To address this problem, DUHS set up the Institute of Nursing last year, a Rs182 million project approved by the Higher Education Commission. Rather than waiting for the completion of the building, the post-RN BScN classes were started at the Ojha campus' Paramedical Institute building last year and the first batch of 50 students will graduate in December. He added that the target was to initiate Masters and PhD programmes in the future.

Thanking the Aga Khan School of Nursing for its help in developing the institute's curriculum, Dr Khan announced that the Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases would soon be up-graded to a 500-bed teaching hospital and that admissions for the upcoming MBA in pharmaceutical and healthcare management programmes would start in September.

The project director of the DUHS Institute of Nursing, Dr Sharaf Ali Shah, said that while there were an estimated 39,223 nurses in Pakistan, hardly a thousand of these had graduate degrees and the DUHS nursing institute therefore expected to play a pivotal role.

He spoke about the low numbers of doctors and nurses in the country, due to reasons that include the lack of political commitment, low investment in nursing education, the acute shortage of qualified teachers and the poor image of the nursing profession.

The registrar of the Pakistan Nursing Council (PNC), Ms Nighat Durrani, said that with the help of the Higher Education Commission, the PNC had developed a standard curriculum and planned to gradually move towards degree programmes. She added that five public sector universities had started post-RN BScN programmes.

At the end of the function, shields were presented to nurses who helped in the establishment of the DUHS Institute of Nursing, including Yasmin Amarsi, dean of the AKU School of Nursing, Dr Rozina Karmaliani, director of the MScN programme at the AKU School of Nursing, Afshan Nazli, principal of the School of Nursing at the National Institute of Child Health and PNC registrar Nighat Durrani. Shields were also given to Aalia Nasir, Ilmiya Mughal, Mushtaq Ahmed and Ghulam Fatima.

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