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Who is a Nurse?

Nursing means the care of people of all ages, ill or well, in a variety of settings. A person who delivers such care is called a Nurse. Nurses work to promote health, prevent illness, and care for the sick or injured. A nurse may also have to provide care to disabled or dying people.

What does a nurse do?

A nurse is trained in a college, affiliated to hospitals, both governmental and private. Registered nurses work in hospitals or in private clinics. On a normal day, nurses may administer medication, consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals, be involved in monitoring patients, and educate families regarding healthcare. Nurses might also have the responsibility of writing and maintaining records of patients. Depending on the type of nurse, responsibilities range from working in the Casualty (emergency care) department of a hospital to the Operation Theater.

What are the skills required?

If you wish to work as a Nurse, you are required to have appropriate knowledge in the field. As well as academic knowledge and internship/training, you will need to have the following skills:

  • Good communication/interpersonal skills (with doctors and patients; and patients' families)

  • Patience, dedication and compassion

  • Proficient organisation skills

  • Adjustment skills

  • Technical skills with regards to the practice of nursing

Top colleges offering Nursing courses

If you want to be a Registered Nurse (RN), you must pass the 10+2 exam (Junior college-11th & 12th grades) in science subjects (Biology, Physics and Chemistry are mandatory), and then attain a Diploma in Nursing (called GNM, General Nursing and Midwifery).

Alternately, you may attain a B.Sc. Nursing (Bachelor of Science, Nursing) degree (4-year course). Those who have a B.Sc. Nursing may have an employment advantage over those qualified with a diploma.

You might also choose to attain a certification after the basic requirement; in case you wish to specialize in a specific field of nursing; like paediatric nursing, operation room nursing, critical care, etc.

The following are some famous colleges offering Nursing professional programmes:-

  • Manipal University: Manipal College of Nursing, Manipal

  • SNDT College of Nursing, Mumbai

  • Hinduja Hospital College of Nursing, Mumbai

  • National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Department of Nursing, Bangalore

  • Father Muller College of Nursing, Mangalore

  • School of Health Sciences: IGNOU

  • Government College of Nursing, Thiruvanthapuram

  • CMC Vellore College of Nursing

  • AIIMS College of Nursing, New Delhi

Obtaining an M.Sc (Master of Science degree in a specialization of nursing) will give you an edge over candidates who have only attained a Bachelor's degree. Consequently, by attaining a PhD Nursing (Doctorate) you will have the best employment prospects.

Career scope

Nowadays, for a lot of good reasons, not least of which is a continuous need for quality medical care, the nursing profession has gathered storm in India and is on the path of growth. With a good academic qualification and sufficient experience, there is a global demand for Indian nurses too. The B.Sc nursing degree is the most basic nursing qualification and is recognized by the Indian Council of Nursing. To become a staff RN (registered nurse), one has to have the basic qualification. A staff nurse will work in hospital wards, and may even qualify for a supervisory position. One can also become a Nursing Teacher, and there are certain jobs for Nursing Advisors to the Government of India as well. The following are career options for nurses:

  • After a B.Sc. in Nursing/ GNM Diploma - you can work as a staff nurse in a hospital/clinic, a community or rural health worker, a home nurse, or as a teacher. You can also work in various government institutions

  • After B.Sc. in Nursing (Post Basic) - Done after 10+2 and GNM, and considered an advanced qualification in Nursing. The opportunities after this will be that of supervisory nurses, and nurses in charge of special units at hospitals, etc.

  • After an M.Sc - Your chances of attaining a senior position with a lucrative pay scale are higher if you have this degree. Depending on your specialization, you could join any of several departments of hospitals; the scope of an international job opportunity is also high with a Master's Degree.

How much does a Nurse make?

Some average annual salaries for the different categories of Nurses are as follows:

  • Staff Nurse/RN - Rs 249,991/yr

  • Nurse, Intensive Care Unit - Rs 300,000/yr

  • Nurse Educator/Teacher - Rs 390,000/yr

  • RN, Operation Room - Rs 294,791/yr

What are the Books/Study material available?

To qualify for a course in Nursing, post 10+2, one must clear an entrance exam, depending on the state/city one wants to pursue the nursing degree in. The AIIMS Entrance Test, Nursing, is applicable at an all-India level and is offered in June every year. Books/guides that may help prepare one for any entrance test are:

  • Target AIIMS, Target Publishers

  • Pearson Guide in B.Sc. Nursing, Pearson Publications

  • AIIMS Nursing Officer, Popular Master Guide

  • Mock examination papers are a good resource for practice and revision

Major recruiters

After successfully completing a nursing course, one has to get a state registration to practise as a qualified nurse. Chief recruiters of nurses are:

  • Government/Private Hospitals

  • Private Healthcare Clinics

  • Nursing Training/Teaching Colleges

  • Global Nursing Recruitment Agencies (especially for Gulf countries and the U.K.)

  • Government of India employment for Nursing Officers

  • The Indian Army and its affiliated hospitals

Interesting facts

According to news reports, India is short of nurses by nearly 2 million! Data suggests that on average, India's nurse-to-person ratio is 1:475! That means that there is an urgent need for nursing staff in India.