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Saturday, Aug 03, 2002

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US hospitals scouting for Indian nurses

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A view of Nurses Anytime institute in Bangalore.


AFTER software professionals, it is the turn of nurses to tap the rich prospects in the US, where hospitals are feeling the pinch of the shortage of such professionals.

And Bangalore has come into focus to meet the huge demand for nurses. Apart from the concentration of leading corporate hospitals, it is the proficiency in spoken English among the nurses in Bangalore hospitals that has prompted recruiting agencies in the US to pick Bangalore as the primary scouting centre.

Post-September 11, there is added emphasis on the quality of spoken English among certain professionals seeking jobs in the US.

"We are very careful on this aspect while selecting candidates for hospitals," says Dr Vijay Madala, Managing Partner of Nurses Anytime, a US-based company which has set up a full-fledged office in Bangalore.

The US has traditionally depended on nurses from the Philippines and a few other countries, but of late preference has been shown for nurses from India as they are highly trained, hard working and have excellent English language skills.

According to Dr Madala, there is an immediate shortage of about 1.36 lakh nurses in US hospitals and the annual demand is likely to be 20,000 nurses in the next 20 years.

Dr Madala's company has a tie-up with Nurse Finders, a Dallas-based employer of nurses currently working with more than 30,000 hospitals.

Though Nurses Anytime has been scouting for candidates from various metros in India - Chandigarh, Vellore, Mumbai and Mangalore - it is from the hospitals of Bangalore that it found the candidates fulfilling the requirement of excellent spoken English.

"It is very essential to communicate with the patients very clearly and despite good qualification and skills, nurses from many cities in India lack the fluency of their fellow professionals from Bangalore."

According to him, the sudden demand for nurses from India is also because they are hardworking and prefer stable jobs, quite unlike the nurses in the US who seek flexible job timings and keep moving from one hospital to another for attractive transfer fees.

Nurses Anytime extends free training to the selected candidates to get their National Council Licence Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), a prerequisite for all nurses seeking jobs in the US and will also impart free training for Test of Spoken English (TSE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

On the revenue stream, Dr Madala said that it does not charge any fee from the nurses finding placement in the US. Its revenue comes from the contract fees earned from the agencies recruiting nurses short-listed by it.

"The selected candidate will not spend any money and there will not be salary deductions after their placement. Of course, it's a high-risk venture but the returns are also quite high."

His agency plans to take 75 candidates for training every two months, of which 50 will be selected for taking the NCLEX in the US.

Nurses Anytime has set a target of scaling up the number of nurses to be taken to the US every two months to 100 over a period of time due to constraints of high costs of training and expenditure incurred by it on their transit facilities till they get a placement.

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