Like medical technicians, nurses may have abundant employment opportunities, as nurses are almost always needed. From large hospitals in central locations, to community centres in rural areas, nurses are in demand. Within nursing, there are many specializations, and your job requirements depend on the field, education, location and employer. Registered nurses could work in a variety of settings such as– hospitals, assisted living facilities, prisons, nursing homes or physicians’ offices. While being supervised by a licensed prescriber such as a nurse practitioner or physician, RNs are providers of direct care. Nurses are responsible for taking and monitoring a patient’s vitals, noting any medical issues/complaints, assisting patient needs, administering medication, explaining medical information and acting as a liaison between the patient and the doctor. RNs might also need to update medical records and create and carry out nursing care plans.
A higher rank and division within nursing is a nurse practitioner (NP). Unlike a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner can diagnose and treat some health problems, prescribe medication, order medical tests, work independently (without the supervision of a doctor), and in general has much more power and autonomy in her/his job. NPs are also usually in charge of regular registered nurses. What distinguishes RNs from the NPs is the individual’s educational background and training.
The most important qualities for a nurse to posses are patience, dedication to working with patients (and doctors), compassion, organisation, and great communication skills. A nurse spends the majority of her/his time working with patients, tending to their needs, monitoring their welfare, and advising them on the how to lead healthy lives. That means that an understanding of a patient’s mindset, especially during illness or after injury, is very helpful. Nurses also have to work with doctors constantly in order to coordinate the best health care plan for each patient, so being able to work well with doctors, communicating both in medical jargon and in laymen’s terms is very important. Finally, having strong organisational skills is a critical requirement in a nurse’s job, because nurses are responsible for maintaining patient files.
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Nursing Courses & Eligibility Criteria
The requirements to become a Registered Nurse (RN) are generally: passing the 10+2 exam in science subjects, a Diploma in Nursing (called a GNM, General Nursing and Midwifery), and/or getting a B.Sc. Nursing (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree. The B.Sc. Nursing degree isn’t technically required for staff nurses and registered nurses (as long as they register in their respective State Nursing Council of India after the completion of their training), but those with a B.Sc. Nursing degree may be viewed more favourably by employers. Many nurses also choose to get a Post Basic certification in a particular area, such as paediatric nursing, neonatal nursing, psychiatric/mental health nursing, emergency and disaster nursing or cardio-thoracic nursing. This certification is in addition to a bachelor’s or master’s degree and/or diploma, which requires separate training and education.
To be a nurse practitioner you need to have at least one year of practice as a Registered Nurse in India (i.e., have a B.Sc. Nursing degree and/or a nursing diploma, and be registered with the State Nursing Council), after which you need to complete a Master in Nursing (M.Sc. Nursing) degree, where you will choose a field of specialty. This could include specialties such as cardiovascular and thoracic nursing, critical care nursing, oncology nursing, neurosciences nursing, nephro-urology nursing, gastroenterology nursing or obstetric and gynaecological nursing.
The nursing courses are offered at various levels of study – diploma, undergraduate and post-graduate. The basic eligibility for a B.Sc. Nursing course is a 10+2 with Biology, Physics and Chemistry. The basic eligibility for a course in General Nursing & Midwifery (GNM) is also the same i.e. 10+2 with Biology, Physics and Chemistry.
If you wish to continue your studies further, you can take up MSc Nursing courses which are considered very important in a teaching career. Here is a brief description to related course in nursing.
B.Sc (Nursing): This is a beginner's course in nursing. In this course the very basic knowledge of this profession is provided like nursing, first aid treatment, midwifery etc. The course also imparts theoretical and practical aspects of nursing.
General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM): This course helps in preparing general nurses to hold first-level positions in the hospitals and other such places.
Auxiliary nurse midwife and health workers (ANMHW): In this programme training is provided to nurses on how to take care of health related needs of the people living in the rural areas especially children, mothers and old persons.
Diploma in Nursing: The minimum eligibility for this course is Class 10th or equivalent. This may be a one year or two year course.
Nursing Career Prospects
The demand for nurses is expected to grow by about 600,000 in the near future, since there are national plans to expand the health network as well as a renewed interest by private organisations. Nursing jobs may be found in:
- government and private hospitals,
- nursing homes,
- old age homes
- and NGOs working on health issues
Nursing Pay Package
The average annual pay according to PayScale.com for a registered nurse (RN) is approximately Rs. 71,981 to Rs. 6,96,112. The average annual pay for a nurse practitioner varies depending on location and specialty, but it is generally higher than that of a registered nurse due to the increased education and experience.
For a Diploma holder nurse the salary can be anywhere between Rs.4,000-Rs.6,000. This may increase with experience and skills. A B.Sc nursing graduate can get a monthly salary between Rs.8,000-Rs.10,000 as a nurse in private/govt. hospitals but can earn a higher salary if appointed in nursing colleges/schools for teaching.
A candidate with an M.Sc Nursing degree can certainly earn more as he or she has the opportunity to head the teaching department of a nursing college.
Choosing a nursing career abroad can be financially rewarding. If you have the desire to go abroad for better career prospects then your degree viz. B.Sc/M.Sc Nursing will help you earn a higher salary as well.
There are huge openings in gulf countries as well as in UK, US and Middle East.
Nursing Colleges in Major Cities
Nursing Colleges in Various States