Nursing is one of the professions within health care that concentrates on the good health of people, families, and the society so they may get health, preserve it, or recuperate from poor health and other aspects of quality life. Nurses are slightly different from other health care providers in that their approach to caring for patients, education, and range of practice is different from doctors. Nurses work in a larger scope with different setting depending on the training they received.
Many nurses do not have their own offices or job description but instead work within the shadow of physicians and this conventional role has shaped the public image of nurses as professionals who provide care services to patients. However, apart from working alongside doctors, nurses are allowed to practice independently in other private hospitals and medical environments. Since WWII, nurse education has been diversified towards complex and specific qualifications, and many of the conventional systems and roles have changed.
In most modern hospitals, nurses perform almost similar tasks to doctors and even specialize in different aspects of patient care such as dental treatment or theater (Kearney-Nunnery, 2008).
There are various categories of nurses based on the type of work they do, the level of education and the institutions of work. Nurse practitioners are those that have attained the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree and perform jobs similar to those of physicians such as prescribing treatments. Community public health nurses include district and health visitor nurses.
Lecturer-practitioner nurses work within the public medical system for about 2-3 days every week then teach medicine courses in educational institutions. Lastly, there are fully-fledged lecturers who teach medicine-related courses in universities. Nursing is an interesting career because it holds infinite possibilities for nurses, has comfortable working conditions and good rewards in the form of salaries and other employee benefits and holds many opportunities for promotion and development.
Work Schedule and responsibilities of nurses
Nurses are concerned with nearly all the aspects of caring for patients from giving reassurance and cleanliness to giving prescribed injections, bringing up to date the medical records and well as slight restorative and analytical processes. The schedules and responsibilities for nurses differ depending on the profession and level of nursing. Surgical nurses assist in the OR with equipment and supplies from pre-surgical prep, to post-operative care. Nurses can be generalists or obtain Master’s degrees and additional certifications to specialize in a specific area such as pediatric, cardiac, neonatology, oncology, or just about any medical specialty (Farkas, 2012). Various nursing options that have been mentioned but one common factor runs across all types of nurses and that is the fact that is the nursing process. The nursing process refers to guidelines that control the behavior of nurses toward each patient that follows five main steps: assessment, analysis, scheduling, implementation and assessment.
Education requirements and accomplishments for nurses
Education for nurses comprises of practical and theoretical training with the intention of preparing individuals for their responsibilities as nurses. The nursing profession requires exemplary education achievements from the basic education level. A diploma in nursing is the minimum requirement that any student has to achieve before they can become a nurse. These diplomas are hospital-based and take up to three years and 30-62 credit hours (Farkas, 2012). Some of the subjects studied include microbiology, anatomy, chemistry, physiology and nutrition. The next level is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) that is a four-year course. The degree level includes an internship period that exposes the students to real life experiences in medicine (Kearney-Nunnery, 2008).
BSN students enjoy more clinical and classroom hours as compared to diploma students and BSN graduates can be recognized professional nurses. Clinical experience is however compulsory for all nursing students as it serves to increase the experience of most students. From this level, nursing students can choose to advance their studies to the masters or doctorate level. At the master’s level, the student is prepared for specialization that gives them the title of an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). At the advanced level, a nurse can choose to specialize as a nurse practitioner (NP) area, a midwife, a clinical nurse specialist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) (Farkas, 2012).
Many nursing certifications and credentials are awarded according to the educational and professional achievements that nurses possess. The highest post nominal credential is the doctorate level. The state licensure and the title cannot be removed or revoked unless evidence of a professional misconduct can be brought before the court. Nurses also hold non-nursing credentials that are include in their titles. However, at the doctor of nursing level, most of the studying done revolves around diagnoses and treatment of illnesses. These education qualifications enable nursing students become more competent in other areas of medicine other than taking caring of patients.
Benefits of nursing profession
The nursing profession offers very high job security. Nursing is a very stable job and given the shortage of nurses globally, nurses have constant opportunities to work in their home countries or choose to work in foreign countries where their services are similarly required. The nursing profession is also very lucrative especially at the higher ranks where nurses occupy leadership and managerial positions. On average, a nurse at the degree level earns between $30,000 and $60, 000 per month while the more experienced and educated nurses earn up to $80, 000 that makes the profession very rewarding (Lucia et al, 2009).
Nursing allows an individual to impact on the health condition of sick people in the world. The nursing profession places experts in position where they can alleviate pain, treat illnesses and bring happiness to the lives of suffering people. Many people suffer from internal and external illnesses that is alleviated and treated by nurses. The job is therefore very rewarding to nurses who value the life of a human being. Nurses have the option of applying to work in different parts of the world where they are needed the most and this enables an individual desiring to be a nurse, the chance to change the lives of the population where she desires.
Other benefits of working as a nurse include a dynamic workplace. Nurses can work in hospitals, schools and other public institutions. Whatever the platform, nurses enjoy an exciting and fast-paced lifestyle as they get to handle different cases everyday and come into contact with different patients which makes their job very interesting. Nursing also has a flexible scheduling system that can allow a nurse to select the shifts to work (Whitehead et al, 2008).
Shortcomings of the nursing profession
At the international level, nurses are in shortage in most public and private hospitals. The major cause for this shortage is the pitiable working conditions that nurses work in. In a recent review of the empirical human factors and ergonomic literature specific to nursing performance, nurses were found to work in generally poor environmental conditions. Individually, nurses do more work than doctors do as they oversee all the patients that are admitted, prepare the theaters for doctors and do other administrative work. The working conditions are also difficult in that nurses work under cognitive burdens, perform multiple tasks and encounter many interruptions. The shortage of nurses can cause a burnout among the nurses working all day and night.
The physical overload is also difficult in that nurses work long hours and handle many patient requirements. As a result, nurses experience musculo-skeletal disorders, stress and physical strain. In summary, the nursing career system often surpasses the confines and capacities of normal human performance. There are regulations controlling the number of patients that nurses can effectively serve on a daily basis although the law may differ according to the state that has formulated it. Studies have been done to determine whether the training for nurses can make them competent enough to perform the tasks done by physicians who proved that nurses could effectively do these tasks. Such researches reinforce placing a large workload on the nurses within a medical institution (Whitehead et al, 2008).
The nursing profession is very rewarding in terms of benefits and other allowances. However, nurses rarely get time off to engage in other personal activities such as recreation, spending time with family or attending to other businesses. Nurses regularly work day and night shifts that may interfere with the family life, create a distance that forms the foundation for conflicts, and ultimately divorce. Depending on the type of nurse, a professional could deal with stressful families who have their patients in hospitals. Certain patients can also cause traumatic experiences for nurses that may interfere with their competence and skill (Lucia et al, 2009).
Nursing involves taking care of the health issues within society. Their work is slightly different from other health care providers in that role is limited to preparing patients for doctors, preparing treatments for patients and administering other required tasks in the hospitals. The current trend within most universities and colleges has however opened up other avenues to nurses that could see them practice other forms of medicine on a public and even private basis. The work schedules for nurses are usually packed and become worse during major accidents and calamities. The education requirements for a nurse are also achievable and have the option of further progress to higher qualifications such as masters or doctorate in nursing.
Nursing as a career will involve an individual spending a greater part of their lives tending to the physical, mental and other problems. Nursing also involves working under a lot of pressure and odd hours such as night shifts and through holidays. The career is therefore advisable for young energetic people with a passion for making the lives of other people more comfortable and healthy. The traditional perceptions of nursing that are possessed by most people in the medical profession stand in the way of realizing nursing as a complete and lucrative career. One of the top benefits of being a nurse is that clinching a license opens up opportunities to operate in any location in the world. If taken up as a career, nursing can lead to new avenues of practicing medicine among the new generation of scholars.
Even though the nursing profession has its benefits that include good compensation and opportunities for growth, there are certain aspects within the profession that raises questions concerning its ability to serve the health needs of the masses. Lecturers in nursing schools duplicate the vague information in textbooks concerning alternative medicine to students and this denies them the opportunity to learn the proper way to solve health complications. Teachers in nursing school support the inclusion of abstract elements in their curriculum such as healing properties of touch’ and the ‘power of the mind to heal. While these abstract aspects may have some truth in them, administering these kinds of treatments to crucial patients is difficult. These schools produce students that have a vague idea of alternative medicines that makes them incompetent when mainstream treatment methods fail.