Kerala will soon have nurses specialised in dealing with the mentally ill.
The one-year diploma course in psychiatric nursing is slated to commence at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College and the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences(IMHANS), Kozhikode, from the next academic year.
“Dealing with mentally ill patients demands the knowledge of certain skills and specialised training. Unlike other patients, the mentally ill require treatment at the psychological rather than the medical level.
But there are no courses in the state to provide such training today,” said state nodal officer for National Mental Health Programme, D Raju.
In the absence of such training courses, the government mental health institutions in the state manage with short in-house training for staff nurses.
The training is neither structured nor has continuity. Even after receiving the training, the nurses end up getting transfered to other general health institutions.
Through the new diploma course in psychiatric nursing, the state will not only be able to provide specialised training in psychiatric nursing but also develop specialised nurses dedicated to mental healthcare for hospitals.
The diploma course sponsored by the Central government will have 40 seats, 20 each in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
“In the first year, we will provide training to our own staff nurses. There would be seats provided in the open category in the coming years. Preparations for commencing the course have been completed.
“The faculty have been posted and the state has applied for a no objection certificate (NOC) from the Nursing Council,” said the Nodal Officer.
The diploma course falls under the Manpower Development in Mental Health scheme of the National Mental Health Programme which was sanctioned for the state in the 11th Five Year Plan. The programme aims to produce a batch of 820 nurses annually.