Enhancing the autonomy of Indian nurses
With additional training and qualification, nurses in several countries are recognised as independent professionals. Evidence from several countries shows that capacitating nurses to practise independently could contribute to better health outcomes. Recently, the idea of nurses practising independently has been gaining momentum in Indian health policy circles as well, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is contemplating the introduction of nurse practitioners (NPs) in primary healthcare. We briefly assess the policy environment for the role of NPs in India. We argue for the need to conceptualise health stewardship anew, keeping the nursing profession in mind, within the currently doctor-centred health system in India. We argue that, in the current policy environment, conditions for independent nursing practice or for the introduction of a robust NP in primary healthcare do not yet exist.
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