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Nursing hits big time

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Caring hands: Healthcare field is one of the best bets to get a job nowadays.
Caring hands: Healthcare field is one of the best bets to get a job nowadays.

HARIPRASAD RAI

Employment among nurses will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2010

Do you know that by the year 2020, there will be an estimated worldwide shortage of 20 million nurses? With the world population living longer and needing more care, the healthcare field is one of the best bets to get a job, and will likely stay that way for many years to come.

Hospital Nursing is just one of the many areas where nurses can practice. Examples of other practice-settings include home care, private practice, public health, extended care centres, clinics, industrial complexes, residential schools, military services, corporations, health-related industries, occupational settings, and health and wellness centres.

Nursing is no longer confined to the bedside. Today’s nurses can now be found in professional venues once thought impossible. Nurses influence legislation, change healthcare delivery systems, write and publish, educate about disease prevention and health promotion and participate on boards of directors. Some of the professional paths nursing can lead to are teaching, community care, health journalism, collaborative practices, alternative care, healthcare business, sales and marketing, health care laws, and informatics.

Escalating demand

Nursing is poised to change the face of healthcare as never before. The Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that employment among nurses will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2010. Demand for quality nurses continues to escalate. Yet many students do not realise the opportunities that await them.

The profession offers a wide variety of specialities — ambulatory care, burn care, developmental disabilities, emergency, geriatrics, home care, intensive care unit (cardiovascular, medical, neo-natal and surgical), mother / baby care, oncology, operating room, ICU, paediatrics, psychiatric, nursing, recovery, rehabilitation, renal (diabetes and dialysis) research and school nursing.

Students interested in finding out more can look at the Indian Nursing Council’s official website. B.Sc. in Nursing requires passing out of 12th Standard with English, Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Diploma in Nursing (generally referred as GNM) requires passing out of 12th Standard with any combination, preferably science.

Leadership and organisational skills are equally important. You will do well in nursing if you can combine these skills and characteristics with a commitment to easing human suffering and a capacity to respond quickly in emergency situations. Getting along with people and good communications skills also are important since nurses relate to people from all backgrounds.

The nursing courses include classroom instructions (theory) and supervised clinical hands-on experience in varied settings — from general hospital to primary health centres at remote areas. Students need good study habits and the ability to analyse.

At the end of the nursing programme, students must pass the State Board (for GNM, a three-and-a-half year’s course) and University (for B.Sc. Nursing, a four-year course) examinations to become licensed as registered nurses.

The pay varies according to geographic location, type of nursing, years of experience and level of education. Starting salaries for entry-level staff nurses range from Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs. 2.4 lakh a year in India and $ 30,000 to $ 45,000 a year in developed countries, plus additional pay for evening, night and weekend shifts. Benefits often include health insurance, vacation, holiday pay, childcare, flexible scheduling and pension plans. Clinical Nurse specialists and nurses with advanced degrees make considerably higher salaries.

(The author is the Director of New City Hospitals, Udupi)


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