The Directorate of Nursing Services (DNS) is the central body and focal point from which all activities relating to public sector nursing in Bangladesh are managed. This includes all involved in nursing and midwidery education and practices. Though regulation of nursing education and practice is the responsibility of the Bangladesh Nursing Council (BNC), the BNC works closely with the DNS in regulating nursing and midwifery services.
The DNS has similar responsibilities in terms of executive authority to other Directorates under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The DNS is a member of most policy-making committees at national level relating to health services and education within the public sector.
The DNS is one of the four current Directorates within the MoHFW. It is the highest body for managing the overall administration of public sector nursing services and education in Bangladesh. Its main responsibilities are:
National nursing policy development and application
Strategic and operational planning
Operational plan delivery, budget management and procurement as required
Nurse and non-nurse employee administration, including appointments, promotions, transfers
Pre-service and in-service educational planning and management: Nursing Institutes and Nursing Colleges
Planning and management of development projects
Annual awards for best performance in nursing education and services
Coordination with BNC
Collaboration and coordination with other directorates, Ministries, national and international organizations
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE DIRECTORATE OF NURSING SERVICES
Pre-liberation (before 1971):
Before partition nurses were being trained at three junior nursing schools under the Bengal Nursing Council. The first professional senior nursing school was established in 1947 at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and was managed by a few Sister Tutors, Sisters and Staff Nurses from Madras, India. The post of Superintendent of Nursing Services was created at that time under the Ministry of Health, Pakistan. A British Nurse who was the Matron of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, worked as the Superintendent of Nursing Services. After the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, the Nursing Council was established and the Superintendent of Nursing Services became the acting Registrar of that Council.
In 1949 a group of nurses were sent to England for basic training, on return they were posted in leadership positions in the Nursing Services section. In 1950 the then Government offered fellowships to nurses for studying abroad. The World Health Organization (WHO) provided technical assistance on nursing in 1952, and as a result nursing educational programmes were upgraded.
The East Pakistan Nursing Council was fully constituted in 1952 as a regulatory body for nursing education and services. After liberation it was renamed as the Bangladesh Nursing Council (BNC). In 1956 the College of Nursing was established in Karachi to offer post-basic diploma in administration and teaching. A few nurses were sent from then East Pakistan to Karachi to attend those programmes. Later on selected nurses were sent to take BSc and MSc degrees from Boston University, USA, under a USAID fellowship programme.
In 1960 the junior nursing training schools were abolished and in between 1962 & 1970 the senior nursing training schools were established and attached to 8 (eight) Medical College Hospitals to provide Diplomas in Nursing and Midwifery. The College of Nursing, Mohakhali, Dhaka was also established in 1970 to offer post-basic Diploma in Administration and Teaching. During 1970-71 more senior nursing schools were established and attached to 12 District Hospitals and started crash programmes without having any sanctioned posts for Sister Tutors, physical facilities and teaching-learning resources. The students, teachers and the teaching-learning resources had to be borrowed from other schools/institutes to start functioning. However, the number of nurses increased from 50 in 1947 to 600 in 1970.
Post-liberation (since 1971):
After liberation, the number of hospitals, medical colleges, nursing schools and institutions, as well as doctors, nurses and other health workers were increased to meet growing health service demands in the new nation. Prior to creation of the current Directorate of Nursing Services, the former Director of Health Services (what is now the DGHS) managed nursing education and services under a relatively junior Superintendent of Nurses. It was not possible at that time for the former Director of Health Services to give due and equal attention to both the nursing and medical sub-sectors. Consequently, national requirements for nursing education and services were delayed in being fully presented to the MoHFW. As a result, on 14th of May 1977 the current DNS was established under the MoHFW with a responsibility to:
enhance Nursing Services; and
facilitate the speedy attention and required communication between the MoHFW and the Nursing Directorate
Since 1977, the DNS has been the central government body to manage public sector nursing education and services, constituting a significant force in the health care delivery system, congruent with national health goals (G.O. No: P-II/1C-18/77/391, dated 14/5/1977).