Accelerating healthcare knowledge, practice and access in Punjab through Guru Nanak College of Nursing
The development of the Guru Nanak College of Nursing is one of the most significant projects undertaken by CIES.
In 1993 under the Guru Nanak Mission Medical and Educational Trust (GN Trust), the Guru Nanak Institute of Nursing was established. In 1998 the Institute evolved into the Guru Nanak College of Nursing. GN Trust is the same organization behind the Guru Nanak Mission Hospital, and the Guru Nanak Mission Public Senior Secondary School.
The school initially offered a three-and-a-half-year General Nurse-Midwifery (GNM) diploma. It was recognized by the Punjab Government, the Punjab Nurses Registration Council in Chandigarh (now in Mohali) and the Indian Nursing Council in New Delhi.
By September, 1998, thanks in large part to the efforts of CIES, the school advanced to become the Guru Nanak College of Nursing. It began offering a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSc.N) degree. Eventually, it brought on Post Basic B.Sc. and Master of Science (M.Sc.) nursing programs, also with the aid of CIES.
For a rural area, the creation of a post-secondary school in itself was significant. But beyond that, it caters to the needs of women – a demographic rarely educated beyond elementary school in India.Tying into our belief of equality and inclusivity for all – including of all genders – CIES has worked for decades to support the existence, expansion and growth of the College.
Activities supported by CIES at the Guru Nanak College of Nursing
Between 1998 – 2007, CIES created an innovative partnership between the University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Nursing in Vancouver, Canada and the Guru Nanak College of Nursing in Dhahan Kaleran, Punjab. This partnership also involved the Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar.
The goal of the partnership was to create an internationally-recognized baccalaureate degree program at the Guru Nanak College of Nursing, which would allow its graduates to enter master’s degree programs around the world.
Thanks to efforts by CIES, in September, 1998, the Guru Nanak College of Nursing began offering a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.Sc.N) degree, under the guidance of the UBC School of Nursing faculty.
In 2008, the same partnership helped to create a two-year, Post Basic B.Sc. Nursing Degree affiliated with Baba Farid University of Health Sciences in Faridkot.
In 2011, the partnership led to a further advancement with the launch of a Master of Science (M.Sc) in Nursing.
Today, the College is recognized by the Punjab Government, the Punjab Nurses Registration Council in Mohali and the Indian Nursing Council in New Delhi. Degrees are conferred by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences in Faridkot, Punjab.
Below is a general overview of the many efforts that went into creating the nursing degree and post-graduate nursing programs at the Guru Nanak College of Nursing.
Nursing school development and consultation
The UBC School of Nursing helped to create nursing labs and library resources at the Guru Nanak College of Nursing.
UBC School of Nursing faculty visited the College to hold seminars and discussions, and to help build the human resource capacity of the faculty and college. A large part of the funding for these trips came from CIES.
Learn more about the UBC School of Nursing, here.
Student exchange programs between India and Canada
CIES also funded student exchanges between the two institutes.
Learn more about these exchange programs, here.
Rural healthcare outreach in Punjab
In addition to the above-noted exchange programs taking place during these years, the nursing school, along with UBC faculty and students, participated in the Building Capacity for Primary Health Care in Rural Punjab project.
Learn more about the project here.
Outcomes of the partnership
The Guru Nanak College of Nursing B.Sc.N became the third nursing degree program in Punjab, and the first to be established in a rural area.
As a result, the College has graduated 955 bachelor degree-holding nurses between 1996 – 2021. These nurses now work all over the world, including about 250 in Canada.
Moreover, 180 nurses achieved their Post Basic B.Sc. between 2008 – 2021, and 32 completed their Master of Science (M.Sc.) between 2011 – 2016.
Prior to this period, the Guru Nanak Mission Institute of Nursing had been operating since 1993, offering a three-and-a-half-year General Nurse-Midwifery (G.N.M.) diploma to local residents. Between 1996 to 2021, the G.N.M. program has seen 1141 graduates.
As of 2021, that’s a total of 2308 graduates among all of its programs!
Many of these graduates went on to work all around the world, including about 250 who have settled in Canada.
Changing lives for generations
While the numbers above may pale in comparison to what large, urban universities see, keep in mind this is a not-for-profit charitable institution in a rural area. It gives access to affordable education for women in an area where until recent times, most females rarely completed high school.
Graduating with an employable skill like nursing helps to lift families out of poverty in places like rural India. This then affects the health outcomes for future generations.
It is a real feat, and a great success, to see this many graduates from a college that started with a powerful vision, and the generous help of Canadians!
Uplifting women to take charge of their own lives
Since its inception, the college has been truly transformative for many of its students. Female graduates of the school have inspiring stories to share. They will tell you about lost mothers having longed for their daughter’s financial independence. Or family persecution due to spending money on a girl’s education. The challenges some of these women overcome are tremendous.
Bringing healthcare knowledge to local communities
The above does not yet begin to ‘hold a candle’ to the impact that healthcare knowledge, nursing practice and access can have on the surrounding communities where student nurses practice their skills.
Many of these nursing students participate in health outreach camps in the villages and health care centres surrounding the Guru Nanak Mission Hospital in Dhahan Kaleran. These involve blood pressure sugar readings, eye checkups, medicine distribution, educating locals on healthcare topics and more.
Guru Nanak College of Nursing graduates 1996 – 2021:
G.N.M Nursing graduates / G.N.M ਨਰਸਿੰਗ ਗ੍ਰੈਜੂਏਟ = 1141 (1996 – 2021)
B.Sc. Nursing graduates / ਬੀ.ਐਸ.ਸੀ. ਨਰਸਿੰਗ ਗ੍ਰੈਜੂਏਟ = 955 (1996 – 2021)
P.B. B.Sc. Nursing graduates / ਪੀ.ਬੀ. ਬੀ.ਐਸ.ਸੀ. ਨਰਸਿੰਗ ਗ੍ਰੈਜੂਏਟ = 180 (2008 – 2021)
M.Sc. Nursing graduates / ਐਮ.ਐਸ.ਸੀ. ਨਰਸਿੰਗ ਗ੍ਰੈਜੂਏਟ = 32 (2011 – 2016)
TOTAL / ਸਾਰੇ Nursing graduates / ਨਰਸਿੰਗ ਗ੍ਰੈਜੂਏਟ = 2308
Note: it is common for nursing students to drop out of their program for marriage, which is why class size and graduate numbers vary.