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Published in the 1-15 Oct 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Education & careers

Time to nurse your career !

This writer had a very strange experience of feeling lonely when he was admitted to a hospital recently. Except for the family members who used to visit for a very short duration of time, there was no other person who could share and patiently listen to the trauma and lend a ear to the pain and suffering. 

..well this is what all of us have felt when we are sick and no body has the time to share with us (due to many constraints) our sufferings and be with us till we recover. So who's there to fill this great need of healing touch in a patient's treatment and recovery. Who else but a nurse. No matter how insignificant the disease it is only when we have someone who really cares and feels for us that we make a quick recovery. So a nurse (male or female) is the one person who we can look towards for support (moral and emotional) when we are sick and get back to normalcy.

Hence can we then not say that a Nurse is " a person who is the consciousness of the unconscious leg of an amputee, eyes for a blind, the means of mobility for a paralytic, voice of the dumb, ears of a deaf and the love for life for the desperate."

In appreciation of this noble profession this article gives an insight into a global perspective about a career in Nursing. 

Introduction 
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) defines nursing as a support to the individual (sick or healthy) in those activities contributing to its health or its recovery that he/she would perform unaided if he/ she had the necessary strength will or knowledge. 

Core concerns in Nursing 
Promotion of Health , Prevention of Illness, Restoration of Health, Alleviation of suffering. Nursing is an art, science and career. It's a science which requires a sound education and thorough knowledge of human behavior. Its an art which requires a sympathetic heart and willing hand. It's a service driven profession. " It's a service to God, service to humanity " says Romala Sarvan, a trainee nurse who came from West Bengal to do a Diploma course in Nursing at St. Martha's Hospital, Bangalore. 

Courses on offer
Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery 
Duration: 3 years (2 ˝ years of Theory and practical + ˝ year of specialization in Midwifery / psychiatry)
BSc.in General Nursing and Midwifery 
Duration : 4 years (3 ˝ years of Theory and practical + ˝ year of specialization in Midwifery/ psychiatry/ O.T )
Internship: Students also have a 1 year internship to be completed after the course. It depends on the university and the college terms. 
Eligibility: The minimum qualification for admission to Diploma/ BSc course is pass in +12 with science subjects (physics, chemistry and biology) Note: Students from Arts and Commerce background are also eligible for diploma course only. 

Selection 
The basis of selection is as follows: apply to a college > give interview > selection on merit basis. There are Govt. Quota seats in every college for which seat selection process (counseling) is conducted by the respective universities. Reservation does exist for Muslims. 

Health worker: 1 year Diploma course
This is a course basically aimed at generating trained individuals to help and be with the nurses. They work mainly at promoting community health, mother and child care, coordinate for health camps, work in hospitals helping and assisting patients under the instructions of doctors and nurses. Most of the hospitals run these courses and give employment to successful candidates in their own hospital.

Advantage 
Even if you do not get great remuneration, there are enough opportunities to work individually under the capacities given and make more gains (spritual and monetary). This course is highly prescribed for girls who wish to work for women health and child development. Health workers are the grass root level workers. 

Note: Before joining any course make sure both the course and college is recognized by Nursing Council of India. 

The Key Skills required
1. Love for fellow human beings and ability to inspire confidence.
2. Technical competence to cope up with the changing trends and advancing technology in health sector.
3. Good communication skills added with intelligence, common sense and great interpersonal skills.
4. Dependability, adjustability, simplicity, efficiency and above all patience and service motto.
5. A good physical and mental strength along with the ability to work under pressure.

Challenges 
1. Presence of mind
Increasing pressures may often make you lose track. Here you are expected to be on your toes, keep yourself reserved and never lose your cool. Areas of concern: Operation theater, surgeries, daily medication for a patient, maintenance of records, giving the right medicine with the right methodology.
2. Dealing with Patients 
Not all patients have patience. Sometimes you may expect unexpected behaviors and over dependent patients. So a bold and tough mind is a must to prevent advances of a patient. Many a times its also seen that patients just do not cooperate. So you will have to make them follow your instructions.
3. Dealing with Doctors
Its not all easy even with doctors. Black sheeps exist in every profession. A few doctors may try to pressurize and patronize but put up courageous and bold steps rather than give in meekly. 
4. Night Shifts
This a hard reality. One needs to be strong mentally and physically to bear the burden of night shifts and long hours of work.
5. Family concern
Your family needs to be cared. So you must be able to spend enough time with the family along with the responsibilities at your work and promotion in career

Responsibilities as a nurse
1. Respect professional information about the patient and confidentially use judgment in sharing the information.
2. Truthfulness, honesty and loyalty to patients, doctors and other members of society.
3. Practice and promote safe healthcare, educate juniors who join this profession, be a responsible supervisor/ manager.
4. Make sure you do your duty fearing God and seek his help to avoid any failures or tragedies. 

CGFNS and IELTS Exams to work in US/UK
To work as a certified nurse in the US or UK one has to clear the CGFNS and IELTS exams respectively. By clearing these exams, one shall hold the license to work as a safe nurse and earn great money.

Caution
Working abroad? One must be careful. Though monetary rewards may be huge but social security is a big concern. The US gives Social security, but one must be brave, bold and God fearing to work within limits and also set limits for work. 
For more details about CGFNS/ IELTS/ TSE / NCLEX exams, for entry to foreign countries, kindly mail us. 

Current Trends
"Service before self" still remains the main motto behind many students opting for Nursing. But a brief survey reveals some thing else. Today with the increasing need for domestic nursing, great opportunities abroad, professional advancement and heavy pay packages abroad, many people " Have 50% service intention and remaining 50% is material aspect of career growth and increasing employability that makes them select nursing " says Ranjit, a senior male nurse at the St. Martha's Hospital, Bangalore.

There is no saturation of jobs in the nursing sector, every nurse wants to fly either to the US or any other foreign country to make huge monetary returns and many have already made it big in a small time. 

Job Prospects 
(a) Employment in various hospitals/ clinics/ nursing homes. 
(b) Work as professional nurses in sanatoriums, orphanages, industrial houses, old age homes. 
(c) Opportunities for domestic nursing, pediatric care and care of old people at their home. 
(d) Teaching/ Training students and junior nurses at colleges and hospitals. 
(e) The highly paid nursing jobs abroad await thousands of nurses. (Lets fly!!!) 

Islamic point of view 
All of us have heard many a Hadith about the contributions of Sahabiyas (may Allah be pleased with them) who used to nurse the wounded soldiers during the wars. It was their committed and God fear devotion to service which made many soldiers to continue with their struggle and fight for Islam. 
So Nursing is a profession which does have strong roots in Islam. It's a service which when undertaken fearing Allah, can make a person successful in this world and the Hereafter. 

Need for Muslims to join Nursing
Muslims population - Is it increasing ? Yes, but how many nurses do we find from our own community who can be with our mother/ grandpa/ grand mother when they are in their final stages. Wouldn’t we like a Muslim nurse to care for our loved ones.
Time has come for we Muslims to have our own service and provide quality nursing service catering to our needs and obligations. 
Thousands of Keralites today have spread across the globe as qualified nurses. Why? It is because of their earnest desire to service that tells them to join this career. They have a commitment to serve. There is always the financial reward. They know what's hidden behind and are looking for great treasures. 
Says Amjad Baig, PRO of Bangalore's Shifaa School of Nursing, we need Muslim nurses since their scarcity makes many Muslims suffer.
So. its high time that we make our brothers/ sisters good , qualified and noble nurses so that the day may not come when we blame others for conditions which do more harm to our fundamental concepts than heal an ailment. 
We understand our community better than others and can put in right inputs for their development. 
Islam today needs nurses at least to take care of the women folk who need a lot of inputs regarding health and hygiene.

Further Education after Graduation
Opportunities after BSc. One can take up the MSc programs and other post graduate diplomas offered by various universities under different and highly specialized subjects. A committed student can do a PhD as well. 

Specialization
Opportunities in specialization exist once graduation is over and you have at least 1 year of experience. (some times it may not be necessary) 

Areas of specialization
Pediatric Nurse, Obstetrics and Gynecology Nurse (Mid wifery), coronary care Nurse, Operation Theater Nurse, Psychiatry Nurse, Nurse counsellors, Community Nurse, Cardiac care Nurse etc.
For the list of Nursing colleges kindly mail us or refer to any good directory (have right info) to get the list.
Many details could not be covered, any person interested in knowing more about nursing can email us or write to us. 
References: Principles and Practice of Nursing - Sr. Nancy, Indore.

Any queries? If you have any queries, kindly mail us. We will put the best solutions (not answers) for your career queries. 

Ameen-e Mudassar, Career Counsellor
MSW-Career Guidance and Information Center, Bangalore
msw_trust@yahoo.com

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