Nursing programs aside, the profession of nursing has a long and eventful history. The religious orders of the ancient world were often responsible for providing medical care, and the military also has a strong tradition of providing structured care for the injured and sick.
The name of Florence Nightingale is very well known in relation to the Crimean war in the U.K, and the establishment of what is agreed to be the beginnings of the modern profession of nursing with the publishing of Notes On Nursing in 1859. In America, the name Linda Richards is equally known for being the first officially registered nurse in 1873.
Nursing is a profession, and it requires the completion of a tertiary level degree. Aside from the academic requirements, nursing demands very specific qualities from the person aspiring to be a nurse. Empathy, organization skills, good numeracy and literacy levels, and, importantly, an ability to be compassionately detached are among some of these qualities.
This last quality is important because a nurse is closely involved with people that are terminally ill, badly injured, or dying; being unable to function because of emotional upset would be not terribly useful to the patient requiring calm, efficiently delivered care. Being able to work with a variety of people is an obvious personal quality that is needed.
Men in Nursing
While the origins of nursing would seem to strongly feature females, males also have been equally involved, even in ancient times. Monks, soldiers, and other men with a caring disposition and talent for delivering patient care acted as nurses on the ancient battlefield hospitals and in monasteries. Today, of course, men are strongly represented among the nursing profession, working along with their female colleagues harmoniously.
An ability to work as a member of a team is another personal quality essential to becoming a nurse. Whatever social prejudices may have surrounded males being nurses, they are well and truly absent in today’s medical world.
What Is Actually Involved in Nursing Programs
When it comes to nursing as a career and profession, what is actually required, and how long does it take? Of course, it depends on which country you happen to be, and there are variations, but there is a general scope of characteristics in the same way there is for all professions: medical doctor, lawyer, engineer, IT professional, and so forth.
To commence training and learning nursing, you must first attain a reasonable high nursing school level education; this equates to gaining passing grades in the core subject areas of mathematics, English, science, and the humanities.
A bachelor level degree is usually four years in duration throughout the world; these days there are also many post graduate streams to extend your nursing specialty areas, such as Emergency Medicine, Intensive Care, Midwifery, or Mental Health.
It should be noted that most of these specialty areas are explored in general for your overall nursing training. This is to provide a good overall skill level; moreover, the training in specialty areas is an opportunity to explore your own aptitudes and talents. Many student nurses develop a liking for one or more specializations and go on to excel in their training to become a specialist nurse.
Enrolled vs. General Nursing Qualifications
Nursing training is predominantly tertiary degree based, but there is an alternative path that requires slightly less rigorous academic content and is of less duration. An enrolled nursing qualification is conducted in a technical college setting as opposed to a university, is normally 12 months in duration, and is based on general and mental health nursing.
While the enrolled, or LPN, path is less rigorous and the scope of practice is reduced for this second tier, there are some truly experienced enrolled nurses that trained in years past but have not upgraded their qualifications. Each country seems to have an equivalent to this second tier. LPN, or licensed practical nurse, is the term used in the U.S. As a general rule, you are much better placed pursuing the full degree path for nursing programs, which have far more opportunities for advancement.
Demand for Nurses
Nursing is a profession that is always in demand; it is too often the case that there are never enough people going into nursing to fill that demand. Being a demanding job and one that is not super high paid probably accounts for this. However, the job satisfaction levels can be extremely high, and one can earn a decent living. The following is Department of Labor projected increase in demand for different locations:
The U.S. Department of Labor’s estimated increase percentage per nurse type is:
•25% – Offices of physicians
•23% – Home health care services
•34% – Outpatient care centers, except mental health and substance abuse
•33% – Employment services
•23% – General medical and surgical hospitals, public and private
•23% – Nursing care facilities
The nursing programs you choose to start with will undoubtedly play an important role in determining your future.
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