Aug 3, 2010


The ancient records of India indicate the principles and
practices of nursing. They are so clear, intelligent and scientific, that
many of them might fit into any of the modern textbook.
The nurses were usually young men, and only in special
cases, women were taken for conducting childbirth. The progress of
nursing in India was obstructed by the low state of women, the caste
system, illiteracy and political unrest.
Military nursing was the earliest type of nursing. In 1664 the
East India Company started a hospital for soldiers in a house at Fort
St.George, Madras. The first sisters were sent from St.Thomas
Hospital, London to this military hospital.
In 1797 a Lying - in -Hospital (maternity) for the poor of Madras was built with the helpof subscriptions by Dr.John Underwood.
In 1854 the Government
sanctioned a training school for midwives in Madras.
Florence Nightingale was the first woman to have great
influence over nursing in India and had a close knowledge of Indian
conditions, especially army.
She was interested in the nursing service
for the civilian population, though her first interest was the welfare
of the army in India.

In 1865, Miss Florence Nightingale drew up some detailed
"Suggestions on a system of nursing for hospitals in India".
Graduates were sent out from the Nightingale School of Nurses at
St.Thomas Hospital, England to start similar schools in our country.
St Stephens Hospital at Delhi was the first one to begin
training the Indian girls as nurses in 1867. In 1871, the first School
of Nursing was started in Government General Hospital, Madras
with 6 months Diploma Midwives program with four mid-wife
Four lady Superintendents and four trained nurses from
England were posted to Madras.
Between 1890 and 1900, many schools, under either
missions or government, were started in various parts of India. In
the yearly twentieth century, National Nursing Associations were
In 1897, Dr.B.C.Roy did great work in raising the standards
of nursing and that of male and female nurses.
In 1908, the trained nurses association of India was formed
as it was felt to uphold the dignity and the honour of nursing
In 1918, training schools were started for health visitors and
dais, at Delhi and Karachi. Two English nurses Miss Griffin and
Miss Graham were appointed to give training to and to supervise the
In 1926, Madras State formed the first registration council
to provide basic standards in education and training. The first four
year basic Bachelor Degree program were established in 1946 at the
college of nursing in Delhi and Vellore.
With the assistance from the Rockfeller Foundations, seven
health centers were set up between 1931 - 1939 in the cities of
Delhi, Madras, Bangalore, Lucknow, Trivandrum, Pune and
In 1947, after the independence, the community
development programme and the expansion of hospital service
created a large demand for nurses, auxiliary nurse midwives, health
visitors, midwives, nursing tutors and nursing administrators.
The Indian Nursing Council was passed by our ordinance on
December 31st 1947. The council was constituted in 1949.
In 1956, Miss Adrenwala was appointed as the Nursing
Advisor to Government of India.
The development of Nursing in
India was greatly influenced by the Christian missionaries, World
War, British rule and by the International agencies such as W.H.O.
UNICEF, Red Cross, UNSAID etc.

The first master’s degree course, a two-year postgraduate
program was begun in 1960 at the College of Nursing, Delhi.
In 1963, the School of Nursing in Trivandrum, instituted the
first two years post certificate Bachelor Degree program.
The associations such as International Council of Nurses, the
nurses auxiliary of the CMA of India, T.N.A.I. Indian Nursing
council and State level Registration Council are closely connected
with promotion and the upliftment of the nursing profession.