Nurses play a prime role in the health industry which rates them as important or even more important than doctors in the area of patient care and other health services. These roles encompass a wide variety of functions and responsibilities that touch on and demand professional, emotional, physical, psychological and humanitarian qualities on the part of a serving or prospective nurse.
Unfortunately, many nursing practitioners and prospective ones do not appreciate this multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary character of the nursing profession and see the profession in terms of intellectual expertise or academic qualification. Although academic qualification is important, even crucial to effective and successful nursing, it is definitely only one, perhaps not the major necessities a necessity requires to effectively perform the duties of the profession.
The concept of nursing profession as mere intellectual or academic qualification by many has over the years led to the influx of many people into the profession with only academic qualification as professional credential. This misunderstanding in turn led to unwholesome practices while some nurses who lack some require personal experiences which manifest in various negative behavior towards patients, thus leading to many people having negative impression about the nursing profession as harboring a lot of heartless and uncaring people with little or no true sense of concern for patients.
It is important for people who aspire to become nurses to know both the nature of the profession, their functions and responsibilities as well as the goal which is essentially a service to humanity by assisting others less fortunate than themselves. Incidentally, before the development of modern nursing, nursing services in its incipient form were provided by religious monks and nuns as well as military personnel mainly in the form of rendering assistance to sick or wounded people. This religious and humanitarian foundation of nursing explains why the practice of addressing nurses, usually senior nurses as “sisters” has survived in many countries till today.
Similarly, the nursing profession owes its major development to the humanitarian activities of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole both of who during the Crimean War during which she worked tirelessly to alleviate the conditions of soldiers which formed foundation stone of professional nursing.
The nursing profession is one of the most Noble and honorous professions which plays a key role in the restoration of life and health to suffering and dying people and there is meaning for people who possess certain requisite personal characters in addition to a good measure of intellectual acumen and academic attainment. The myriad of responsibilities which modern nurses are thrust with which include highly technical and sensitive services makes it very necessary for every nurse to have a sound academic qualification both as a general knowledge and relative to one's area of specialization.
As the bedrock and vigilante of modern medical profession and general overseers of the health care industry, nurses round the clock service calls for maximum academic qualification as a good state of physical fitness, mental acuity and high IQ to be able to effectively monitor the patient in such vital areas as heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, temperature and appropriately and promptly respond to any emergencies that may occur such as Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation.
In addition, nurses are also saddled with other vital responsibilities touching on the care and comfort of patients including finding out and taking care of their needs for food, toilet, and perambulation. A nurse may be required to spoon-feed a patient or help a patient go to the toilet, have his / her bath or move about in a wheelchair. A nurse may need to help a patient cover up during cold weather or unforgettable when it is hot. In some cases, a nurse may even be required to assist a patient brush his / her teeth and so on.
Nurses also perform other house-keeping chores such as bed-making and general hygiene. These duties can be quite challenging, given their unglamorous nature. The only thing that sustains the necessity of interest and devotion in this regard is the spirit of human kindness over and above any academic or professional qualification.
Prospective nurses should know that the nursing profession makes a lot of demands on a person including physical and emotional statements in addition to certain character practices which include a strong disposition and motivation to assist people in need, deep human compassion, patience, amiability and general positive friendly disposition.
Having a fore knowledge of the nature and demands of the nursing profession will ensure that nurses perform their job to the best possible satisfaction of the patients and to the respect and recognition of the nursing profession.