Nurses are known to be the backbone of the hospital. A hospital cannot run without nursing staff, even though it has all other facilities. They work around the clock with compassion, empathy and kindness. There are patients who survive just because there is a nurse to help them in time.
But, are they given the respect they deserve? Despite the fact that a nursing career requires skills, education, and intellect, many people have a fallacy that nurses are mere assistants to doctors.
While everyone has their own reason for becoming a nurse, there is one common thread among all nurses. They are real, skilled, and important medical professionals. To become a nurse, they should undergo a strict nursing certification program, which may involve getting a bachelor’s of science degree (4 years) or diploma in nursing (3 years). Also there are many nurses with higher degrees too. But irrespective of their degrees, typically, all nurses are more personally involved with their patients than doctors. Here are some eye openers, which would probably make you thank your nurse, next time you need one.
1. Long Work Hours
Just like doctors, nurses work long hours even without break.
According to the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing, 65 percent of nurses work 12 to 13 hour shifts several times a week and many nurses say those shifts end up being closer to 14 hours in length. That means, nurses spend most of their time for their patients, than for their personal life.
2. Nurses put their patients’ need ahead of their own
Unlike other hospital staff including doctors, nurses meet all needs of the patient – from basic nutritional and elimination needs to emotional needs.
While nurses are busy darting between hospital rooms, tending to the needs of their patients, you know who they aren’t taking care of? Themselves! In a study of 400 nurses during a 28-day period, 10 percent of participants reported no opportunity to sit down or eat. Forty-three percent of the time, nurses grabbed something to eat while responding to call lights or other patient needs. For many, the only breaks they took in a day were restroom breaks and even those happened only after patients’ needs were met.
3. Nurses make a huge impact on patient health
Do you think doctors play a major role in the recovery of patients? No!! More than a few studies have found that positive health outcomes for patients are actually closely linked to the intervention of nurses.
A 2008 Canadian study of 75 hospitals found that, over a 30 day period, the mortality rate dropped between four and 10 percent when the hospitals had more nurses on the floor.
In addition, a 2014 study found that the patient mortality rate was lowered by 10.9 percent when the hospitals increased their nursing staff by 10 percent. The same study found that patients who experienced complications after serious surgery recovered better in a hospital with a strong nurse force.
4. Nurses Are Highly Educated
Although nurses only need their bachelor’s degree or diploma to work as a registered nurse in India, most nurses go beyond that in their education. But to work as a registered nurse abroad, nurses should go through an adaptation programme in the host country, even though they are registered in their mother country.
Nurse practitioners need even more education and clinical experience than registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. After completing their bachelor’s degree, they must earn a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). Moreover, nurses keep themselves abreast with present trends in medical care through continuing nurse education programmes (CNE).
5. Nurses are good listeners and decision makers.
Usually, patients don’t feel free to express their concerns to a doctor. But they share their problems with a nurse. A nurse can easily find out patient’s actual problems and act as bridge between doctors and patients. In fact, she coordinates other team members to bring a positive change in patient’s condition.
Moreover, nurses play a crucial role in making decisions regarding patient care. Because, only a nurse knows complete details regarding patient’s condition as she works with them round the clock.
What do you think? Are they being respected in our society as much as they deserve? Do we value what they are sacrificing in their personal lives to serve us?.
It is sad to say that despite spending huge amounts to earn a nursing degree and putting all their time in serving others, they are poorly paid in India. Many of them struggle to meet their family needs. Compared to India, nursing profession carries much more respect and is rewarding in other countries like UK, USA, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, etc. So they fly to foreign countries where they get respect, better remuneration and standard of living.
Nursing is truly a calling – and if you have a nurse in your life, or if you find yourself one day hospitalized, the very least we can do is to be kind to your nurse.