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Nurse grads demand help from govt

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Graduates from Nakhon Ratchasima College's Nursing Faculty are reportedly being pressured to resign from hospitals where they work as the college faces the possibility of being shut down due to substandard teaching. 

The former students, some of whom are employed as assistant nurses on yearly contracts, said yesterday the hospitals were asking them to prepare resignation letters because they lack official nursing certificates.

Because the college has failed to meet government standards, graduates cannot apply for professional certification from the Thailand Nursing Council (TNC). Without the certification, their contracts are unlikely to be renewed.

Kanoknart Chanthavorn, a third-year student of the nursing faculty, said friends were being pressured by the hospitals where they work to tender resignation letters.

She said the TNC demanded that nursing graduates sit its exam before being awarded the certificates. In order to sit the exam, graduates must come from institutes which pass the council's assessments for at least four consecutive years.

According to Ms Kanoknart, the college passed the assessment in 2005 and 2006. After that, the college failed to meet several requirements, including the number of lecturers employed and the amount of books in the library. Nakhon Ratchasima College opened in 2005.

The students want the Education Ministry to help them continue their studies at other institutes that have been accredited by the council.

The college has promised to help the nursing students, but "no action has been taken so far to boost the students' confidence", Ms Kanoknart said.

Deputy Education Minister Chaiwuti Bannawat said the ministry had begun the process of transferring affected students. Students would be able to transfer most, if not all, of their study credits, he added.

Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanavisit said 29 certified nursing colleges under his ministry would be asked to take in the students.

Mr Chaiwuti said the college might face both civil and criminal action for deceiving the students. He said the college would be barred from admitting new students if it failed to shape up.

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