Nursing is a career choice that is trending and is widely available for those with the right skills, qualifications, and attitude and can be practiced across the globe. This article will discuss the global need for nurses and explain how you can engage with this need to develop a sustainable career.
It is proven that when a medical care unit or hospital has the right number of nurses, mortality rates are reduced, patient safety increases, and the overall patient outcomes improve. This, however, related to the registered nurse, whereas a specialist nurse is arguably even more essential in that there are fewer of them, and when needed, say, for elderly or pediatric care, then these patients’ outcomes are adversely affected. The main point being made is that the nurse is a critical element of the overall medical care system across the globe.
In fact, in many places in the world where there are no doctors, the nursing staff or personnel provide the only medical care and advice that is available to entire communities. From midwifery and childcare and advice to elderly care, all of it is provided by the village or community nurses.
Nursing demands around the world
In 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that there were 27.9 million nurses in the world with a shortage of approximately 7 million nursing staff. Although most of this need is in the developing world, there is still a vast nursing shortage in the US, where a million new nurses will be needed by 2030. This refers to both registered nurses and specialist nurses.
Different geographic areas may have different nursing and health care needs, but the one thing that you can be sure of is that nursing and care for the human body will be the same regardless of where you are on the planet. From pediatric primary care to palliative care, all can be studied and then used to work in the particular sector anywhere that you’d like to or where the specific demands are.
There has always been a movement of workers in this sector, and in the UK, for example, it is a known fact that the National Health Service is a popular employer for nursing staff from around the globe. And the US recently made a concerted effort to employ suitably qualified foreign nurses to deal with the damage done by Covid-19. This cannot be prevented, and the migration of workers for better living and working conditions has seen the middle to low-income countries lose substantial numbers of trained nursing staff and those who train abroad to international health care concerns outside their own countries.
The generic and essential qualifications and foundational skills for nursing
Nursing, like first aid and medicine, will essentially require the same skills and knowledge base wherever you choose to work or train. However, there are various national standards related to procedures and systems that will be different and may require the nurse to retrain.
In the US, for example, there are a number of both certificate and degree courses that will enable you to reach the title of registered nurse, and then you will be able to do a master’s with additional clinical practice to specialize in a specific field, such as a pediatric nurse practitioner specializing in primary care. As long as you have done the basics and have a 3-year or 4-year degree, such as a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), you will be able to register to practice as a registered or general nurse. Should you want to do emergency care or something more complicated and specialized, then you will have to retrain or study further.
The nursing standards as set across the globe generally state and require a little more than just the educational and skill-based qualifications, but also look for some of the expected professional behaviors that make nursing such a unique career.
At its core, the most basic requirement is for those who train as nurses to want to be effective in the lives of those they nurse. In this regard, there are also some tips that you should keep in mind as to the basic person and fundamental nursing skills required, regardless of where you want to practice.
Compassion and empathy
There is nothing as bad as a nurse who doesn’t care or who has lost their ability to feel compassion for others, especially those in their care. Unless you have the ability to feel and genuinely care for others, you will not make a good nurse. This is an accepted standard, and although hard to enforce, it is noted and assessed through various psychometric tests.
Communication and teamwork
The care of a patient is likely to be done by an entire team of care workers, doctors, nurses, and more. It is critical to communicate with one another to this end. Even if the patient’s notes contain everything that you need as a member of this care team, there are times when you will need to communicate with the patient themselves, family members, and other staff.
Certain care needs are time-specific, such as medications and tests. It is thus imperative that nurses are able to practice good time management and prioritize the needs and care requirements of the patients under their care.
Pay attention to detail
Being a good nurse will require serious attention to detail. It is the duty and responsibility of the nurse to often be the first port of call, give the most regular medical advice, and provide a friendly face to discuss and improve patient care. A good nurse will note everything down; you never know if it is important, and being able to then communicate any concerns to others involved in patient care will go a long way to ensuring an elevated level of professional care.
There must always be a level of professionalism in nursing, no matter how long you have been treating or caring for the patient. The nurses that have done best and had long-lasting careers in the field have all noted that being able to keep a professional distance from patients is a skill that not only keeps them safe from taking too much home with them but also ensures that the patient always knows where they stand.
These are the skills and behaviors that are not taught but will be critical to have and hone as part of your nursing credentials and skills. It will be these professional workplace and nursing behaviors that will enable you to travel with your career, practicing wherever you would like, or the need exists.
There are various international and national standards for nurses courses that can be taken to improve and develop these standards or the specific ones that are required in the country or state that you would like to practice nursing in.
The registrations to keep in mind
Regardless of where you intend to practice nursing, you will need to be registered, so it is always worth knowing what the required license or registration is and how to achieve it. This information is generally easily available online, and most countries will have a clear outline as to which national or state bodies you will need to register with and have your previous training approved by.
In the USA, once you have trained, there will be a variety of options for licensing and registration, either as a registered nurse or a specialist nurse. Individual states will provide a license, or the specific treatment and care body will also accredit and register you to practice in a certain geographic area. However, all other countries will also require you to register with the appropriate nursing body before you can work as an accredited nurse. Many also have health requirements, as you would expect those caring for others to also be in good mental and physical health.
- You can practice anywhere
It may have been continuously mentioned in this article, and the reason is simple because it is true. Nursing presents as a top career choice simply because it is a skill set that is required by most human beings at some point in their lives. This means that it is one of the truly universal job roles that you can practice anywhere.
- It’s a sustainable career choice
The skills required may be updated using technology and research, but at its core, the role remains the same for time immemorial, presenting as one of the best sustainable jobs. Once you have a foot in the door as a nurse, you will be able to simply work your way up or through the various other associated and related healthcare jobs that are available.
- One of the last noble professions
Just as was seen during the recent pandemic, it was nursing staff that were on the front line, as they are on an everyday basis in the emergency room, elderly care homes, and communities, and they choose to be there. It is an honorable profession and will remain so, and you would be surprised at how many in the sector would note this as their rationale for joining: to help others.
How technology is changing the face of nursing
- Online training
Online training has taken all fields by storm, and nursing is no different. In fact, it has been at the forefront of online and virtual training. During the pandemic, when the demand for nursing soared, practical nurse instruction reached its peak, and a number of different methodologies were used to increase nurse numbers, from professional pediatric primary care courses to specific updated palliative care courses, it’s now all available online, and this should go a long way towards improving nursing numbers and qualifications around the world, as well as allowing already qualified registered nurses to retrain and specialize, and all online thanks to the vast improvements in technology.
- Health informatics
This interdisciplinary field is making huge changes to the manner in which healthcare records and information are stored, analyzed, and then used for the patient and caregivers’ benefit. It is also called health information systems and is concerned with all the technical details of how to gather, record, store, safely access, and then use the huge amount of health data that has been and is continuously gathered from patients and caregivers alike. This access to huge data can provide for better treatment as well as allow nursing staff to access records, information, and advice for their patients in a much quicker, safer, and streamlined process.
- Remote monitoring
As part of the health information systems, we have seen the advancement and use of remote health monitoring systems, also known as remote patient management (RPM), that can immediately communicate the results to those involved in the care and medication of the patient. The recent pandemic was the biggest driver in this regard, and the systems used and developed, such as telehealth, have begun to raise the question of why healthcare advice and consultation can be shared as widely as possible depending on the access to consistent internet connectivity. An eye specialist can consult, monitor, and advise a nurse in rural India as long as the health informatics allows.
The fact that you can now study most disciplines online, including nursing and healthcare, means that anyone with the internet has this at their fingertips. Nursing is a global concern, and this article has shown that one of the only ways to meet these needs will be with the increased use of technology for training, diagnosis, and advice. Nursing is currently a major global need, and as the training improves, so too will the ability of well-trained nursing staff to move around the world in an attempt to meet these needs. There has never been a time in our history when the nursing profession has been so in demand and so important across the globe, and for the very first time, we may be able to deal with this type of skill demand by using and developing more appropriate nurse training and caring procedures using the most advance information technology.