Nasima Aktar Mukta, who hails from Monsa village in Chattogram’s Patiya upazila, passed the SSC exams in science discipline in 2000 but she could not finish her college education due to some personal issues.
A frustrated Mukta, later, decided to enrol herself at the Nursing Institute in Rangamati. She passed the admission test and got admitted in 2002. From there, she completed her diploma in Nursing Science and Midwifery in 2006.
Her first job was at a private clinic in Chattogram. She got her next job at the state-run Rowangchhari Upazila Health Complex in Bandarban in 2010.
In 2014, Mukta completed Post Basic BSc in Nursing from Faujdarhat Nursing College and obtained a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine (NIPSOM) in Dhaka in 2018.
She currently works as a teacher at the College of Nursing in Mohakhali and the education section of the Directorate General of Nursing and Midwifery.
Like Mukta, nearly 84,000 nurses are currently working at different institutions, including private and public hospitals, across Bangladesh.
Talking to The Business Post, Mukta said, “Nursing is a noble profession and there are lots of scopes to serve people apart from just doing the job.”
“I’m happy with my job,” she said, adding that the employment rate is increasing in the sector. “I think students can choose it as a career.”
According to the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), hospitals need to recruit three nurses against one doctor. But data from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) shows that the number of registered doctors in the country is 102,997.
According to the Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council (BNMC), the number of registered nurses in the country is 83,955. Under the circumstances, the country needs more than 300,000 nurses to meet a shortage of 75 per cent.
Insiders say the nursing profession is now attracting students and gaining popularity in the country, owing to the availability of employment and the increase in job facilities in recent years.
Apart from serving people, the nursing profession also has a bright future should one chooses it as a career.
Dhaka Medical College Principal Prof Dr Titu Miah told The Business Post, “Meeting the local demands of nurses, we can also send nurses abroad because there are huge demands of such health professionals there.”
“There is a scope of earning huge amounts of foreign currency through sending nurses abroad. At the same time, nurses will also be able to build a bright career,” he added.
Study in nursing
Anyone can go for a diploma in nursing science and midwifery (three years), BSc in nursing (four years) and Master of Science in nursing (two years).
BSc in nursing has been available since 2008. This has two phases. In the first one, BSc in nursing (four years) can be done directly after passing HSC and then one can pursue MSc in nursing (two years), MPH or other post-graduate degrees.
In the second phase, those who completed a diploma in nursing science and midwifery (three years) can do Post Basic BSc in nursing (two years) and then they can pursue other post-graduate degrees.
A total of 13 government nursing colleges currently offer BSc in nursing (four years), where there are 1,200 seats. Also, 46 government nursing institutes offer diplomas in nursing science and midwifery (three years), where there are 2,730 seats. Four government colleges offer BSc in nursing (Post Basic) courses as well.
Meanwhile, 340 private nursing colleges offer diplomas in nursing and 150 private nursing colleges offer BSc in nursing degrees across the country.
BNMC conducts admission tests simultaneously across the country. If the seats in the government nursing colleges and institutions are filled with candidates from the merit list and the waiting list, the rest of the students can get admission to the private nursing colleges.
Besides, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and Jashore University of Science and Technology take separate admission tests through the Faculty of Nursing and the Faculty of Health Science, respectively, for new students.
Candidates who have passed SSC and HSC exams from a science background and achieved at least a GPA of 7 in total from both exams can apply for admission to the BSc course in nursing colleges. Candidates who have passed SSC and HSC exams from any other discipline can apply for admission for the diploma in the nursing course but they will have to have at least a total GPA of 6 from both exams.
Students get an opportunity to study in the government nursing institutes at a nominal cost and they also get annual allowances.
On the other hand, students will need around Tk 2-3 lakh to complete the BSc and Post Basic BSc courses at private nursing colleges and institutes.
Around Tk 1.5-2 lakh on average is needed to complete a diploma course. The course fee varies from institution to institution. Earlier, there were no nursing colleges for post-graduation but now MSc nursing courses can be done at the National Institute of Advanced Nursing Education and Research and Kumudini Nursing College in Tangail.
Nurses can also officially pursue master’s in four subjects in public health at NIPSOM, which is affiliated with BSMMU.
Apart from that, nurses get the opportunity to do their post-graduation in some subjects at Dhaka University while they also have opportunities to go for higher education abroad.
There are job opportunities for nurses in all public and private hospitals, clinics, community healthcare centres, diagnostic centres and healthcare institutions across the country.
There are also opportunities to work in different top-tier hotels. All Export Processing Zones and export-oriented institutions have nursing officer posts. Private nursing colleges appoint nurses as lecturers.
Nurses can also choose from job opportunities abroad. Many countries, including Jordan and Malaysia, recruited nurses from Bangladesh in the past.
A senior staff nurse at a government hospital holds the rank of Class II. Initially, a nurse is paid on the scale of Tk 8,000-16,540 as per the 2009 pay scale.
A nurse can also start working in private hospitals with a salary of Tk 10,000-15,000.
A senior staff nurse is first promoted to the rank of a nursing supervisor within three-four years. In the second phase, they can become district public health nurses, deputy nursing superintendents and OT supervisors in hospitals, and instructors in different nursing colleges and institutes.
There are also opportunities for promotion to nursing superintendent in hospital, lecturer in nursing college, principal in institute, project officer and assistant director in the nursing directorate as a first-class officer.
Nurses are now also getting directly recruited as lecturers in state-run nursing colleges and institutes as first-class non-cadre officers.
Meanwhile, the entry post of a nurse is Lieutenant (1st Class) in the Bangladesh Army. Later, one can get promoted to Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel. Women who have completed BSc in nursing (four years) can only apply for this job.
Bangladesh Nurses Association President Kamal Hossain Patwary told The Business Post that the nursing job was a Grade 3 job earlier but the government has made it Grade 2. “That’s been great for all of us.”
“There are also some scopes for nurses to be promoted as first-class officers,” said Patwary, also a senior nurse at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.