In a significant development, the Sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, chaired by Senator Rubina Khalid, convened at the Parliament House today to address the critical issue of counterfeit nursing degrees issued by institutions associated with the Pakistan Nursing Council. The session saw a passionate discussion about the substandard conditions prevailing in these institutes.
Senator Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar expressed deep concern over the findings presented by the visiting team from the Pakistan Nursing and Midwifery Council (PNMC). He raised alarming issues related to the inadequate infrastructure, subpar science and computer labs, and discrepancies in grading and reporting, which all pointed to a severe lack of supervisory oversight. As a result, Senator Dahar called for the referral of dishonest institutions to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
The entire sub-committee voiced collective disappointment, emphasizing that the conditions in these institutions have not improved despite the passing of years. Senator Dahar pointed to the astonishing revelation that certain nursing institutions have operated out of two-room houses for over two decades, without any action taken against them during this time.
Senator Rubina Khalid, the Convener, issued a directive to the Pakistan Nursing and Midwifery Council, urging the submission of details regarding nursing institutions that fail to meet the Higher Education Commission (HEC) criteria for institutions.
Furthermore, the sub-committee identified a shortage of clinical training hours as the primary cause of inefficiencies in Pakistan’s nursing system. Senator Khalid stressed the importance of focusing on skill development within the curriculum to bolster the nursing sector. HEC officials pledged to collaborate with medical professionals to enhance the clinical hours provided to nursing students.
The sub-committee also instructed the HEC to implement a unified policy for nurses within hospitals. Senator Khalid highlighted the stark contrast between the number of nurses and doctors, suggesting that distinct uniforms should be introduced for nurses and doctors to differentiate between the two professions.
While assessing institutional performance, Senator Rubina Khalid recommended that institutions leverage graduates with BS Nursing degrees, as a uniform curriculum for MS Nursing is currently lacking in the country.
Dr. Mirza Ali Mashud, Senior Joint Secretary for the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination, proposed conducting third-party evaluations to thoroughly assess the conditions of nursing institutions.
In her closing remarks, Convener Senator Rubina Khalid proposed a policy requiring individuals with a BS Nursing degree to possess ten years of experience before they can be appointed as principals of nursing colleges. She also recommended the development of a dedicated app to streamline operations, monitoring, and quality control in nursing institutes.
The sub-committee meeting was attended by distinguished members, including Senator Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Senator Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar, senior officials from relevant government departments, and experts in the field of nursing education