International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on 12th May. It is an important day for all the nurses, as it is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is widely considered the founder of modern nursing. She was also an English social reformer and statistician. She was noticed while serving as a manager of nurses, who were trained by her during the Crimean war, where she organized and tended the wounded soldiers. Florence Nightingale and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions of the soldiers, reducing the death count.
Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in the year 1953, contacted President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposing for a “Nurses’ Day”. The proposal was not approved by him at that time. Later this day was officially made as international day in January 1974.
The nursing world has evolved dramatically over the past several decades. When nursing began it had very little to do with formal medical training. The nurses were thought of a little more than helpers or assistants for physicians.
30 years ago this is what Nurses did
- Primary care nursing was given to patients by only assisting the doctors.
- Gloves were used for sterile procedures only. Universal precautions did not exist.
- Nurses bent and broke off needles from used syringes
- The head nurse made rounds with the doctors and carried the heavy metal charts.
- Staff and physicians wore scrubs
Today’s nurses are healthcare professionals and they play an important role in providing excellent healthcare.
- Nursing care is highly specialized, and hospital patients are all grouped geographically by the disease.
- Plastic shoes, clogs, and sneakers are common footwear for nurses.
- Nurses who come at home provide acute- and critical-care interventions and teach family members how to perform these techniques.
- Nurses provide a growing percentage of primary-care and chronic-care patient management.
- Ceiling-mounted lifts transport patients from bed to the commode.
- Nurses provide knowledge to patients through education, research, and policy formation.
- Automated beds are used to weigh and reposition patients.
Most of the work now is done efficiently and smoothly. We need to appreciate the science and technology that allows all the nurses to deliver sophisticated care in a contemporary fast-paced environment.
The qualifications for nurses are very specific and in depth. There are various programs, degrees, and certificates for the different type of nursing. The Undergraduate level nursing courses recognized by the Indian Nursing Council.
- Auxiliary Nurse & Midwife
- General Nursing & Midwifery
- B. Sc (Basic)
- B.Sc (Post Basic)
- M. Sc.
- M. Phil
- Ph D
Nurses struggle hard to keep up the expectation but still, there are numerous challenges and problems faced by them. In most of the hospitals and multispecialty hospitals, there are less number of staffs. Most of the staff carry out work of two or three nurses which leads to excess stress and difficulty for them to focus on the job. Their working hours are irregular which sometimes exceeds 10 hours. Irregular working hours affects their health and also their personal life. Every hospital has a random way of assigning duties to nurses. For eg., if nurses are interested to work on ICU but they are denied to work, instead they are asked to work in different departments. If they are allowed to work in a selective department which they like, then there will be more job satisfaction. The major problem arises during the increment in the salary. Even after working for more than 8 hours the salary is low than expected. It is very difficult to survive because what they earn is very less than what they spend for their personal expenses. Only selected hospital have an increment process for every 6 months. Nurses who come from other states/countries face problems in living. In most of the hospitals, they provide low standard living rooms and need to stay five to six people in a single room. Their life seems to be simpler when we meet them but it’s much more difficult and challenging.
Nurses not only work in hospitals, homes, and clinics. They are the ones who help people recover from the natural disaster or by working as a military nurse. War is not the only crisis where the nurses work. They also work with sick and injured during the natural disaster and man-made disaster. It is a challenging job for the nurses who work during crises. Nursing in crisis requires a special kind of skill and training which is provided by The National Association of School Nurses (NASN). Florence Nightingale provided aid and comfort to wounded British soldiers similarly, today’s nurses both military and civilian, deal with limited supplies while working in environments like war zones, refugee camps, earthquakes or hurricanes. Nurses helping in crisis should make sure that all the health support meets the need of the injured. An active duty military nurse should keep in mind that proper medical treatment, as dictated by the military should be provided and also need to make sure of returning the soldier back to duty as soon as possible. There is always a need for nurses in such crisis. They are the ones who provide initial life-saving care to the survivors of war and disasters.
On this day we all need to take an opportunity by appreciating the nurse who has taken care in the hospital, home or for saving people from the crisis. A small thank you will definitely make the nurses day.