The Woodland Institute of Nursing held its first convocation ceremony here today.
The 116 nurses from the batch of 2020-2021 were conferred with their certificates, with 35 from the BSc Nursing course, 54 from Post Basic BSc Nursing and 27 from GNM (general nursing and midwifery).
Health Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh was the chief guest, with NEHU’s Dean Prof N Saha the guest of honour.
Dr Werlock Kharshiing, Managing Director of the Woodland Institute of Nursing (WIN), mentioned that it was a great day for the institute to have its first convocation ceremony to honour students who have graduated.
Woodland Hospital, located in Dhanketi, was built in 1991. Dr Kharshiing mentioned that, at the time, there were very few local nurses and the hospital had to fill the many vacancies with staff from Kerala and Manipur.
This prompted Dr Kharshiing to start the nursing school in a rented building in 2006 Cleve Colony and now they have expanded to a 12 acre site in Laitkor, with the facility including the college and hostel.
From a dearth of nurses, the state now ‘exports’ them to other parts of India. More than 1,800 nurses have passed out of WIN, Dr Kharshiing said. However, Meghalaya still has a problem with doctors.
He said that Assam now has 11 medical colleges, Tripura three and the other North East states at least one each. “We are the only one with no medical college,” Dr Kharshiing said, adding a suggestion that the state government use existing infrastructure, such as Pasteur to set up a medical school. The central government is keen to grant medical college licences due to a nationwide shortage of doctors, he explained.
Responding to this suggestion, Lyngdoh acknowledged that Meghalaya needs medical colleges.
“I did ask the Chief Minister of Assam what his magic mantra is and how he managed to do that. The Assam CM told me you just have to convert your existing systems into institutions where doctors can have hands-on learning experiences, nurses already in the system can join hands and we can have these much awaited medical institutions,” the minister said.
She informed that the government is planning for a government medical college in Shillong and Tura and will be using the facilities of Ganesh Das Hospital and others to ensure that they conform to the medical requirements for a medical college.
Lyngdoh, however, mentioned that one thing that worries her is that since becoming Health Minister two months ago, she has received at least 20 requests from government nurses for transfers, mainly desires to be moved from rural postings to urban ones.
“Now going back to the oath that you took, are you going to be selfless in your service as nurses in the system? I wish I did not have to look at all those applications,” she stated.
Lyngdoh informed that the government will prepare a policy for the service of nurses in the state as she was told that certain nurses remain only in Shillong while others are always in rural areas.
“The government will design a policy for nurses so that every nurse takes up the mantle of serving the community. We must have a fair system for all who are in that system. I will engage actively to ensure that since nurses are also in the essential services sector, we must design a policy for posting and transfers of nurses,” she informed. “You are the nightingales of the next century for the next generation.”
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