As a country of over a billion people, India has one of the largest job markets in the world. This is certainly true for the healthcare sector. As of 2022, there are over 2.3 million nurses in the country, and this number is expected to rise in the coming years. With a population that is simultaneously one of the largest in the world and still growing, the demand for skilled healthcare professionals isn’t going anywhere.
Working as a nurse in India has several benefits. Nurses are held in high regard in Indian society, so you’ll be very well-respected. Another is job security. India’s growing population means that it’ll always need nurses to take care of its people. Lastly, working as a nurse in India is a good pathway to eventually practicing abroad. It’s no secret that many Indian nurses dream of working in countries like the UK and Canada. Gaining experience in your home country is often an essential step.
Note that this guide is applicable only to Indian nationals who have received their nursing degree in India. The country does not currently allow foreigners to work as nurses, although talks have been ongoing to change this.
If you’re an Indian national and would like to work as a nurse in your own country, this guide is for you.
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3 Steps to Becoming a Nurse in India
1. Study Nursing in India
To become a registered nurse in India, the first step is that you’ll need to study nursing in the country. Note that a foreign degree won’t suffice, even if you’re an Indian citizen.
There are educational pathways you can take. The most common is to do a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). These are four-year degree programs that introduce you to the fundamentals of nursing. In your second year, you’ll also study more general science topics. Most universities also provide opportunities to apply what you learn in the classroom to real-life settings.
BSNs in India are considered professional courses, which means that they provide career-specific training you won’t find in other degrees. You can only be a nurse if you’ve studied nursing. Some schools to consider are the Acharya Institute of Health Science, the All India Institute of Medical Science, and Chandigarh University. Studying for a master’s degree in nursing after your undergraduate education will lead to better jobs and pay.
If you don’t have the time or resources to go through an entire undergraduate program, a certificate degree will also qualify you to become a registered nurse. These courses run for two to three years and equip you with important nursing skills. Note that bachelor’s degrees are more prestigious and will likely lead to better opportunities. You can eventually upgrade your certificate to a full bachelor’s degree.
The two recognized certificates in India are the Diploma in Auxiliary Nursing and Midwifery (ANM) and the Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM). The latter is the more intensive program, lasting three and a half years, while the former will take you two years to complete. The ANM is only open to those between the ages of 17 and 35, while the GNM has no age restrictions.
2. Apply to be a Registered Nurse
After completing your college education, you’ll be eligible to apply to be a registered nurse. In India, this involves applying through the Indian Nursing Council or INC. The next process for you to become a nurse in India is to apply. You’ll need to submit several documents, but most of these are simply administrative. If you have a degree, becoming registered should be a formality.
India makes a distinction between different types of registered nurses. Most fresh graduates start as Licensed Practical Nurses, who perform basic duties in hospitals and assist senior nurses. Afterward, you can apply to be a Registered Nurse, which will allow you to perform most medical operations. Finally, becoming a Nurse Practitioner will give you more say over how to treat a patient, as well as give you access to better job opportunities and even allow you to start your own practice. India also has a special license for Neonatal Nurses, who take care of babies and mothers after childbirth.
You’ll obviously need to pass exams to earn your degree, but there is no single board exam for nurses in India. However, the country does have test centers for the internationally recognized NCLEX Exam. Passing the NCLEX may make you more desirable on the job market, as well as open doors to working abroad should you choose to do so down the road.
3. Find a Job
In a country of over a billion people, you’ll be able to find opportunities if you know how to look. The final step to becoming an officially registered nurse in India is to find a job. Your career outlook will depend on lots of things, such as your level of education and whether you’re willing to relocate to another state.
In India, a significant portion of nursing jobs is with public hospitals. For this, your best bet is to apply through a site called All Government Jobs, which aggregates career opportunities in the public sector. The site even lets you join a WhatsApp group just for nursing vacancies, so you can receive job opportunities without even actively looking.
You can also use standard job sites like Indeed.com and LinkedIn. This is particularly useful if you want to work in the private sector. Certain private jobs will pay a lot more than public ones, which should be taken into consideration when looking for a job.
Like with most countries, your best bet is probably to find a job through your university. Doing internships in hospitals, meeting other professionals, and networking with your professors may land you a job after graduation.
I hope that this article on Steps to Become a Nurse in India was helpful. To know more information on how you can study in Asia, visit the Asia Scholarships Page.