By KYAW PHONE KYAW | FRONTIER
YANGON — Around 600 students from the University of Nursing in Lanmadaw marched from their campus to the Victory Monument at Maha Bandoola Park on Wednesday, after learning of a sudden change to their program that will prevent them from gaining nursing licences after graduating.
Students at the university, near the Yangon General Hospital, learned late last month of the February 1 Ministry of Health directive, signed by Department of Medical Services director-general Dr. Myint Han.
Previous student intakes had been given licences on graduation with the expectation of spending three years working in a public hospital. The new orders would require the public hospital traineeship before nursing licences are issued to graduates.
Owing to the low salaries and poor working conditions offered to junior nurses, many previous graduates had supplemented their incomes by working in private hospitals, or had been forced to quit and work in the health sector abroad, protestors told Frontier.
“We nurses are not quitting from these jobs because of don’t want to serve the public,” fourth-year student Ma Aye Mi San told reporters during the march. “We are burdened by the workload because there are too few nurses for the patients, and because we are made to do tasks unrelated to nursing.”
Students had petitioned the headmistress of the university, while some student leaders travelled to Nay Pyi Taw to seek a review of the decision from ministry officials.
“If we don’t get license after university, we are unlikely to be recognized as qualified nurses,” said Ko Min Kyaw Lin, the chair of the University of Nursing student union. “It is inappropriate for us to be serving people at a public hospital while unqualified.”