Nursing - a profession that combines physical science, social science, nursing theory, and technology in the care of others. “Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimisation of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, Communities and populations.”
Nursing careers offer a wide variety of roles and a broad scope of responsibility. There are many different types of nurses, and several different ways to obtain nursing careers. Nurses care for individuals who are healthy and ill, of all ages and cultural backgrounds, and who have physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, and spiritual needs.
Qualifications and requirements
There are three educational paths to become a nurse - Diploma from an accredited nursing college or institution; or an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN - a two-year programme), or a bachelor’s degree (Bachelor of Science) in Nursing. Over the years, diploma tracks have become less popular as most candidates opt for associate’s degrees or bachelor’s degrees, due to their availability and versatility.
Finally, before becoming a licensed and practicing nurse, one must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), or for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
Nursing is not just taking care of the sick. Other opportunities for qualified nurses include teaching, administration and research jobs.
Students who are thinking about nursing as a career should plan a college preparatory curriculum in English (verbal and written communication skills), Maths (necessary for success in chemistry and medication administration), Science (knowledge of chemistry, biology, and physics is important and computer science recommended), Social Studies (psychology, sociology, history, politics, and economics are all recommended), and Foreign language (highly recommended for working outside).
Remuneration of nurses depends on the level of seniority reached. Nurses employed by government hospitals receive a monthly salary of Rs 7,000 to Rs 17,000. Mid-level positions can fetch a pay package of anywhere between Rs 18,000 to Rs 37,000. Highly experienced nurses can even get a salary in the band of Rs 48,000 to Rs 72,000 per month. Nurses who get employment in foreign countries such as US, Canada, England and UAE can easily earn even higher.
Those working for private hospitals or the military receive a slightly higher remuneration. Private Nurses have a fixed daily fee. Midwives receive above Rs 5,000 per month approximately, and a fixed amount per birth registered. Health workers receive between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 per month.
Demand and Supply
With rapid growth in the population coupled with the requirement for better healthcare facilities, there is an unending demand for nurses in the country. However, the supply of nurses greatly falls short of meeting this ever growing demand. According to a latest study there are approximately 10.3 lakh nurses registered with the Nursing Council of India. However, only 4 lakh nurses are actively in service. A vast majority of them have left service on account of retirement, marriage and immigration. In this context, there is a huge gap in demand and supply. For nurses who do manage to get on the ladder, however, there’s plenty of room to climb. Demand is booming for nurses with advanced degrees or specializations. Postings for critical care nurses are up 27% since 2010, Burning Glass found, and openings for intensive care nurses are up 17%. Such jobs can pay extremely well.
Types of nurses
General Nurses: Nurses working in hospitals, nursing homes and medical establishments. Their primary job is to take care of patients, assist doctors and perform administrative duties.
Midwives: Nurses whose specialised job is to take care of expecting mothers and provide assistance during childbirth.
Health Workers: Nurses who provide medical aid to people living in rural areas.