There is much controversy regarding Indian Nursing credentials. This is primarily a result of a shift in admissions requirements mandated by the Indian Nursing Council. The Indian Nursing Council, which functions under regulations prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, currently requires twelve years of secondary education in order to be admitted to the nursing programs; however, this was not always the case. The shift in admissions criteria is one of the principal points of contention amongst credentials evaluation services. Without ample evidence of the student’s secondary education, the evaluation of the foreign degrees awarded by the Indian Nursing Council was difficult and was generally met with debate and clashing conclusions from various providers of educational evaluations.
The Indian Nursing Council Act of 1947 indeed aimed to standardize the nursing programs in India, which up until that point were largely fragmented amid the many states of India. The regulation of nursing programs and the establishment of standardized nursing curriculums not only enabled nurses to earn comparable degrees in various Indian states, but also allowed for credentials analysts in the United States to more effectively form equivalencies for the foreign degrees. With the Indian Nursing Council’s additional requirement of the twelve years of secondary schooling (established by the student’s completion of Higher Secondary / Senior Secondary / or Pre-Degree Programs administered by Universities), the degree equivalencies for nursing programs have become increasingly homogenized in India, and therefore US equivalencies are greeted with less debate.
While the nursing program requirements currently insist upon the twelve years of secondary schooling for admissions, the lengths of the offered nursing programs in India continue to vary. The diploma programs in General Nursing and Midwifery require three and a half years (integrated coursework in Nursing and Midwifery), though three year programs of integrated coursework do exist (and award the same diploma). The Bachelor Degree programs require four years of coursework and result in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Currently, there are over 1300 recognized colleges conducting nursing programs under several universities in India; foreign credentials analysts are able to match these to comparable coursework and programs in the United States and provide appropriate evaluations of the foreign degrees in compliance with NACES standards. As expected with standardization of nursing programs, equivalency evaluations are becoming more streamlined when equating Indian Nursing Council degrees to US criteria. This ultimately allows credentials analysts to expedite the path for those who hold nursing degrees from India when they require degree equivalencies for further education, employment, licensing, etc.
Listed below are samples of how Indian Nursing degrees are generally viewed by US standards:
- Twelve years of secondary education followed by the three and a half years (integrated coursework in Nursing and Midwifery) yields ninety semester credit hours toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
- Twelve years of secondary education followed by the three and a half years (integrated coursework in Nursing and Midwifery) is equivalent to an Associate Degree in Nursing (and not more).
- Ten years of secondary education followed by a three year nursing program yields one and a half years of post-secondary coursework in the United States.
- Ten years of secondary education followed by a three year nursing program is equivalent to an Associate Degree in Nursing. The rationale is that if the Indian Nursing Council allowed the students into the program (and they completed the same coursework as someone who had successfully completed twelve years of secondary education), then they could receive the same degree equivalency in the United States.
- Ten years of secondary education followed by a three year nursing program yields ninety semester credit hours toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This equivalency is utilized in order to create one consistent equivalency for the foreign degrees in Nursing.
Compared with the previous Indian Nursing Council policy, the modern policy requires substantially the same nursing coursework and results in the same Indian Nursing Diploma foreign degree, but the enhanced admission requirement helps credentials analysts justify the work as post-secondary foreign credentials. As the Nursing Council embraces a 12-year secondary track for all nursing diploma foreign degree programs, matching US degree programs, it will be easier for holders of these foreign degrees to get a credentials evaluation that will help them find employment or enter a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree completion program.