Holistic Qualitative Assessment of Nursing College applicants

– A new initiative of the Counselling Department at SSSIHMS, Whitefield.

The western world has been the trend setter for modern medicine and medical education for the rest of the world and especially so in India. This includes the nursing profession, a vital component of modern medical care.

There is an increasing awareness in nursing colleges in the west of the holistic nature of nursing care, and that mere reliance on grade point averages and test scores for admission to nursing colleges is not adequate. According to Dr.Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN, CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing “Scoring high on tests alone doesn’t always mean nurses will interact well with patients, families and colleagues or be able to put ideas into action. I think the future will be that both – strength in academics and personal attributes – will be required.”

This resonates with what Swami said on the same topic back in 1993.

“The stress should be on quality and not quantity in the sphere of medical studies. Only those students who have the talents and aptitude for medical studies should be admitted. Such students will immensely benefit from medical education and will be of use to society.” 


From Swami’s Valedictory Discourse delivered on February 7, 1993, 

at the International Symposium on Cardio-Vascular Diseases,

 Sathya Sai University Auditorium, Prasanthi Nilayam. 


The Department of Counselling, SSSIHMS, Whitefield, has been associated with the College of Nursing since the inception of the College. The students receive a one – semester course titled ‘Spirituality in Nursing Care’, which includes didactics and clinical training for the final year B.Sc (Nursing) students of the College of Nursing at the hospital. The syllabus and course content has been prepared by the Counselling Department’s teaching faculty. The experience gained over the past several years and from discussions with the Principal of the Nursing College it was felt, and agreed upon, that the admission procedure for new nursing students from the year 2018 should follow the above guidelines of Swami and as is beginning to emerge in the west.

The Counselling department working in tandem with the Nursing College put together a holistic qualitative assessment format for screening the new applicants, which would be in addition to the previous admission procedure followed of quantitative assessment comprising of academic compliance and an interview. The holistic qualitative assessment methodology adopted by the Counselling Department, involving a total of ten counsellors comprised of three parts – a written self-evaluation test “Perspective of Oneself” prepared by the Counselling Department. (This was based on the model created by Dr.Mia Leijsen, head of the Department of Psychotherapy at the University of Leuven in Belgium, and a world renowned expert in Existential Wellbeing. She is more importantly a Swami devotee and a mentor for the Counselling department.) After the written test, a one-on-one interview of each applicant was conducted by every individual counsellor using her counselling skills to profile the applicant. The applicant’s strengths and weaknesses was assessed providing the applicant’s suitability for the nursing profession. Finally, an overall holistic qualitative graded assessment of each applicant was drawn based on the written test and interview results.

The Nursing College integrated this holistic qualitative assessment of each applicant into their screening process and found a significant difference in the screened results while selecting thirty-six candidates for admission from the ninety-three applicants.

This is a very unique selection process inspired by Swami, an initiative of the Counselling Department in collaboration with the Nursing College, and is a first of its kind amongst Nursing colleges in India.

Jai Sai Ram