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Nurse a service-oriented career

“For those who want to serve the poor, these government hospices are the right place. And for those looking at growth and remuneration could look at private healthcare institutions or countries like the United States of America”

The women in white. They, who smile always and help us, fight pain and illness, lovingly making us take all medicines at the prescribed time and tucking little ones into sleep on hospital beds.

Nurses in spite of the immense patience, sacrifice and care that are part and parcel of their daily schedule are one set of people whom we unwittingly tent to ignore. But reality is that being that largest cog in the wheel of any country’s healthcare sector, nursing is also one of the most time-honoured careers despite to general lack of awareness on the pros of this profession. With the number of hospitals, nursing homes, private clinics and similar healthcare institutions going up, the demand for nurses naturally is on the rise,

Nursing is a profession of discipline, patience, responsibility, punctuality and commitment. The job requires putting in long hours of hard work, being alert throughout the duty period and the ability to think and act fast when there is a crisis at hand, because a person’s life might the depending on what a nurse does in such situations.

That is not all. Apart from mere skill, a nurse should also be calm always, smiling through the day, be pleasant, compassionate and understanding to the pains and suffering of others.

hrough the list might sound a little too tasking, the end results, the satisfaction of helping other people overcome their ailments and alleviating their sufferings, is unmatchable. True, the working conditions in our Government hospitals might not be as rosy as they are in private of foreign hospitals. But for those looking at a fruitful career in terms of growth and remuneration could look at private healthcare institutions, and yes, countries like the United States still remain much sought after destinations. Just like any other profession, there are different categories of nurses as well, starting from general nurses, midwives, school nurses and specialized nurses. Each category, as the classification suggests, have different duties cut out for them.

On the eligibility side, the entry for a beginner is through the B.Sc(Nursing)course, offered to intermediate (Bi,P.C) passed candidates. This course imparts the basics of the profession like nursing and first aid apart from a look at the theories and practical aspects of the job. Becoming a specilised nurse comes at the next stage when one is looking at growth in the career and more demand in the career market.

Finding nursing schools is not a big task, given the number of corporate and government hospitals that have nursing schools attached to them. Many of these have bonds and similar options to work with them for a stipulated period, which means the necessary work experience also comes along with the degree.

Nursing education in India is also set to get better, with plans for inculcating a varied syllabus in the offing. This could mean that a nurse, instead of just handling patients and medicines, could be trained to handle the management of wards using information technology and also be equipped to do other jobs.

Nurse a career abroad

Job opportunities for Registered Nurses in the U.S.are immense. The fact that 75% of vacancy ads placed by hospitals there is for trained nurses vouch for that.

Among all countries, whose hospitals absorb nurses from India, the United States of America (U.S) still heads the list. In fact, according to studies conducted by the U.S Bureau of Labour, employment opportunities for Registered Nurses (RNs) in that country will grow faster than the average for all occupations, through 2008.

Back in 2001, the journal published by the American Medical Association predicted that the U.S. could face a shortage of nurses by as much as 20 per cent by the year 2020. this means, more than 4,00,000 jobs. Industry watchers here estimate that at present, 1,26,000 nurses are required to fill existing vacancies in variousU.S. hospitals, and point out that more than 75 per cent of the vacancy advertisements placed by U.S hospitals are for trained nurses.

Going to the U.S as a nurse, however, is a far more laborious process than going to that country as, say, an IT professional. There are mainly two hurdles that a nurse aspiring to go to the U.S. must clear before she can get a job in a hospital.

Two-pronged testing

The first test that a nurse would have to clear in order to apply to go to the U.S. is the one conducted by the Commission on Graduates of foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

This test, conducted in March, July and November, is one designed to gauge the technical competence of a nurse. The question paper for this test contains objective-type questions. Once a nurse clear the CGFNS test, she would have to appear for and pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination –a test that evaluates the candidate’s proficiency in English. This test is held twice every month. A nurse who clear these two tests become eligible.

Once in the U.S

A person clearing the CGFNS and the IELTS tests cannot directly join as a nurse in U.S. hospitals. There is one more barrier to cross- the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) conducted by the National Council of State Board of Nursing (NCSBN). Once a person clears this examination, she would be able to get employed as an RN in a U.S. hospital.

Further information can be had from the web sites of NTR University of Health Science or
www.apsche.org, www.cgfns.org, www.ielts.org, and www.ncsbn.org.



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