What can one say about nursing! It’s such a noble and virtuous occupation. Although an age old profession, nursing gained popularity after the work done by the legendary English nurse Florence Nightingale. This angel of mercy is also known the world over as the founder of modern nursing.
Nursing involves taking care of patients suffering from all sorts of physical and psychological maladies. Nurses constantly have to monitor the condition of these patients and administer prescribed medicines at regular intervals. They also assist medical specialists and help set up medical equipment in operation theatres and clinical laboratories. Furthermore, nurses provide assistance to people who are unable to lead a normal life due to one reason or another or are recovering from illness. Other than these general activities, nurses can acquire specialisation in a particular area such as midwifery, cardiac care, intensive care, orthopaedics, paediatrics and so on. Nurses also have to keep abreast with the latest technological developments in the field of medicine.
Nursing is not just taking care of the sick. Other opportunities for qualified nurses include teaching, administration and research jobs. An interesting aspect of this profession is that a vast majority of nurses are women. However, of late, men are also showing interest in the profession.
Aspiring nurses can get into this profession at different levels. You can get enrolled into the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife/ Health Worker (ANM) course. The duration of this diploma course is one-and-a-half-years and it can be joined after completing Class X. Then there is the General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) program. The GNM is a three-and-a-half-year diploma course. The eligibility criterion for this program is Class XII with Biology, Chemistry and Physics with an aggregate of 40% marks.
Apart from ANM and GNM, you can apply for BSc Nursing (Basic) in different colleges and nursing schools across the country your schooling. The eligibility criterion for this program is a 10+2 with 45% aggregate in Biology, Chemistry, English, and Physics and a minimum age of 17 years. For B.Sc. Nursing (Post Basic) program, candidates can either select a two year regular or a three year distance learning option. The basic qualification for the regular program is a 10+2 and GNM whereas for the distance learning program it is 10+2 + GNM along with two years of work experience. The post basic course is considered as an advanced qualification.
The Indian armed forces admit unmarried women in the age group of 17 to 24 years to the BSc Nursing program. Here again the basic qualification is a 10+2 with 45% aggregate in Biology, Chemistry, English and Physics. Further, candidates have to be medically fit and clear a written test. Selected candidates have to sign up a five year bond to serve the armed forces.
A GNM or BSc is good for obtaining a job of a nurse in any medical establishment. Each state has its own association that registers certified nurses. Once candidates obtain qualification they can get themselves registered with the Nurses Council of their respective state. This makes them eligible to obtain a job.
Other than picking up the basic nuances of nursing, nurses can go for a particular specialisation by choosing any Post Basic Speciality (one-year diploma) courses on offer.
Specialisations are as follows:
1. Cardio Thoracic Nursing
2. Critical Care Nursing
3. Emergency and Disaster Nursing
4. Neonatal Nursing
5. Neuro Nursing
6. Nursing Education and Administration
7. Oncology Nursing
8. Operation Room Nursing
9. Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Nursing
10. Practitioner in Midwifery
11. Psychiatric Nursing
Students interested in pursuing higher studies can opt for MSc followed by MPhil and PhD.
If you are interested in taking up nursing as your profession, then you can begin just after clearing Class X by applying for the ANM program. Else, you can make an entry into this realm after completing your schooling by way of applying for a GNM or a BSc program.
Nursing is an ideal job for those who want to serve humanity. If you are compassionate, have an immense will power and spirit to serve the diseased and the weak and are willing to work long hours in stressful conditions then this is the right profession for you. Other traits required for this occupation include the ability to manage different situations and the willingness to adapt to new technology.
The cost of study in nursing schools varies from institution to institution. Government owned and aided nursing colleges provide education at a subsidised rate compared with private owned colleges. The fees for private and unaided nursing schools for a BSc course can vary from anything between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,80,000 per annum. In the same manner the cost for the GNM course in a private institute can be in the range of Rs 45,000 to Rs 1,40,000 per year.
Different institutions award merit based scholarships to deserving students. The scholarship amount and the duration vary from one nursing institute to another.
Nurses do not remain unemployed. They easily get jobs in private and government run hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, old age homes, industries, sanatoriums and the armed forces. They can also seek employment in the Indian Red Cross Society, Indian Nursing Council, State Nursing Councils and various other nursing institutions. Even nurses who have completed the ANM course get to work as primary health workers and midwifes in primary health care centres that are spread throughout the length and breadth of the country.
Nurses can also take up administrative and teaching positions in medical colleges and nursing schools. Enterprising individuals can start their own nursing bureaus or even work on their own terms and conditions.
Apart, from these innumerable openings in the domestic sector, nurses who earn international nursing certifications and fulfil the prescribed immigration criteria generally move to greener pastures abroad.
Nurses who are new to this profession often earn a monthly salary that is in the range of Rs 7,000 to Rs 17,000. Mid-level positions can fetch a pay packet 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 Gulf countries can easily earn even heftier monthly pay packets.
With the 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. However, only 4 lakhs of these nurses are actively in service. A vast majority of them have left service due to retirement, marriage and immigration. In this context, there is a huge gap in demand and supply.
With increasing focus on health care, job prospects for nurses look brighter than ever before. More and more hospitals, nursing homes and medical establishments are being coming up. The government on its part is striving hard to give impetus to the nursing sector in the country. According to the latest development, the government has planned to set up more than 130 ANM and GNM schools each. Also, there is plan to strengthen the State Nursing Councils and Nursing Cells in various states. Furthermore, these plans include setting up of new Nursing Colleges across the country.
Government has also allowed special hospitals to start M.Sc. Nursing programs without these institutions having the prerequisite to set up corresponding graduate programs. The norms for admission to nursing schools have also been relaxed so that married women can now get admission to various nursing programs.
There is great demand for highly skilled nurses abroad. In fact, India has emerged as the largest provider of nurses to foreign countries. The lure of big money and better living conditions abroad often attracts experienced nurses from India. A major reason for the scarcity of nurses in the domestic sector is their flight to foreign lands.
• This is a secure job profile
• There is no paucity of opportunities within the country and abroad
• You get the satisfaction of alleviating pain and suffering and seeing people get hale and hearty again
• Nurses usually have to work in shifts and night duties are common
• Stressful work condition can have an adverse effect on the psyche and health
• The role played by these angels of mercy often goes unrewarded and unnoticed
• It takes a lot of effort to stay in job after one gets married and starts a family
The primary role of a nurse is to provide care and medical aid to the needy. However, according to functionality, these roles can be classified as follows:
Further classification occurs on the basis of their area of specialisation such as orthopaedic nursing, oncology nursing, cardio thoracic nursing, psychiatry nursing, critical care nursing and so on.