History of Nursing in India


In 1857 the India Mutiny turned Miss Nightingales interest to the health of the Army in India. It was for this purpose the Royal Commission was appointed in 1859. In 1868, a sanitary department was established.

In March 1888, ten qualified British nurses arrived in India to look after the British Army in India. In 1905, during the British rule in India, missionary nurses arrived as members of Missionary Medical Association. This was the very start of formalized nursing service in India.

Gradually, the increasing need of adequately trained nurses led to creation of South India Examining Board in 1911 and the North India Examining Board in 1912. It was the mission hospital Nursing leaders who laid the foundation of systematic Nursing education in India. However, the mid India Board of Examination was started in 1934. But this was not regulated for registration. State-wise councils started developing from 1935 onwards. Indian Nursing Council (INC) Act was passed by the Parliament in 1947. The Nursing Council upgraded the educational requirements which permitted only matriculated candidates to seek admission to the schools. Now, India has State-wise registration councils in 19 states. ( TNAI yearbook 2000-2001).

The Central Government granted an approval to the Bhore Committee’s (1946) recommendations by starting two colleges of Nursing in Delhi (1946) and Vellore (1947). This provided university degree level courses. With the efforts of Professor S. Radhakrishnan (the then Chairman of University Education Commission), Nursing education in the country was integrated into the system of higher education.

Over decades, there has been an improvement in the availability of nursing education in India.

Remembering the pioneer of nursing profession ……

The Unforgettable – Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

When stating about nursing as a profession, one always gets the picture of Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of nursing profession. She was born to English parents on May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy. She was entitled ‘ Lady of the lamp’. Her work is well known and well recognized world wide.

She had got the opportunity of recienney good (best) education and also traveled throughout Europe and could make good contacts which really helped her to achieve the “mission” in her life. She came across individuals who were concerned with the reforms of social institutions such as prisons and hospitals. In 1853, she spent three months in Kaiserworth, Germany . In the same year she was appointed as Superintendent of Institution for the care of sick – gentle women in London.

In 1854, during the Crimean war, when women nurses were considered to be revolutionary, Florence Nightingale demonstrated quality nursing care along with 38 other nurses. After her extensive service at the Crimean war, efforts of Florence resulted in the appointment of the Royal Commission on the health of the Army. As one of the consequence, The Army Medical School was founded in 1857.

During her lifetime, her work and devotion enlightened the whole society. She was the founder of Nightingale School for nurses, the first ever of its kind. In 1907, she was conferred “The Order of Merit” by the King

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