Health Ministry issues new draft guidelines for the working conditions of nurses

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issues draft guidelines governing the working conditions of the nurses on the basis of WHO report ‘Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030’.

The ministry seeking public comments on these draft guidelines will last one month from the publishing of the draft version of the guidelines.

Comments can be sent to the ministry email id nursing-mohfw@gov.in

Four sections of draft guidelines are as follow:

Workplace facilities & safety

i. All nursing staff to be provided with annual health check-ups, necessary immunization and utilization of hospital services within the healthcare establishments where they are employed.
ii. All healthcare establishments to ensure adequate infrastructure and well-equipped work stations in all units/ wards to enable efficient functioning of nursing staff.
iii. All healthcare establishments to have separate washrooms and changing rooms (including providing drinking water, pantry facilities, lockers, clean uniforms etc.) for nursing staff.
iv. All healthcare establishments to identify designated resting rooms for nurses working for a prolonged duration.
v. All healthcare establishments to ensure the prevention of occupational hazards as per standard operating procedures and implement appropriate occupational safety norms.
vi. All healthcare establishments should provide adequate personal protective equipment free of cost for all nurses.

vii. All healthcare establishments to provide for creche facility as per the provisions of ‘Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017’.
viii. All healthcare establishments may, as far as possible, provide accommodation to their nursing staff within or near the hospital premises.

ix. All healthcare establishments to establish an internal complaint committee as per the provisions of ‘Protection of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013’.
x. All healthcare establishments should establish appropriate time-bound mechanisms for redressal of workplace-related grievances.
xi. All healthcare establishments should take suitable measures to promote a healthy and safe work environment to prevent mental and physical violence against nurses.
xii. All healthcare establishments should take necessary measures to ensure the security of nurses during night shifts. Appropriate measures may be taken to ensure proper lighting in and around work settings to promote the safety of nurses.

Working hours & staffing

i. Normal work hours for nurses shall not exceed forty (40) hours a week and eight (8) hours a day except where the exigencies of the service require otherwise.
ii. Compensatory day-offs can be considered for nurses working overtime during exigencies.
iii. Duty rosters may be prepared and informed to nurses well in advance and nurses should seek prior approval for any change of duty/leave.
iv. All healthcare establishments may promote flexible working hours and shift duties.
v. As far as possible, nurses may be posted in their areas of specialization and interest for optimal utilization of their professional knowledge and expertise.
vi. All healthcare establishments to practice routine transfer/ rotation of nurses from high-demand settings to low-demand settings to prevent fatigue and exhaustion among nurses.
vii. All healthcare establishments to provide an adequate number of qualified, trained and competent nurses in every ward/ unit of the healthcare facility, as per approved standard norms.
viii. All healthcare establishments to promote safe staffing levels by posting adequate support staff as per patient load.

Promoting nursing leadership

i. All healthcare establishments should conduct regular staff development programmes and in-service training to promote professionalism, leadership, communication, and managerial skills among nurses.
ii. Nurses may be given a fair opportunity to actively participate in the triaging of patients in emergencies and counseling of patients in wards so that they can become part of the decision making process for treatment of patients. They should be provided optimum say in decisions related to the nurses.

Miscellaneous guidelines

i. All healthcare establishments to provide induction training to all newly recruited nurses to familiarize them with various hospital departments, facilities, guidelines, and standard operating procedures.
ii. All newly recruited nurses to be posted under the mentorship of senior nurses for a minimum of one-month duration to acquaint them with all protocols and procedures of the facility before placing them on independent duties.
iii. All healthcare establishments to provide paid maternity leave as per ‘Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017’ and other authorized leave/ allowances and facilities as per Government guidelines/ existing policies.
iv. All healthcare establishments may, as far as possible, provide equal opportunities to all nurses to pursue in-service/ higher nursing education and research.
v. All healthcare establishments to provide a supportive work environment for nurses and facilitate teamwork to improve patient-related outcomes.
vi. All healthcare establishments to promote well-being measures for nurses, such as yoga and meditation, counseling services etc.
vii. All healthcare establishments to implement fair remuneration on the basis of qualification and experience.
viii. All healthcare establishments to take initiatives to recognize outstanding nurses and take measures to upkeep the morale and motivation of nursing staff.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Well concern towards nursing fraternity.
    Can the occupational hazard be more elaborative in terms of minimum patient weight bearing mandate during lifting and shifting patients throughout the entire care tenure (Like developed countries)

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