Nursing as a Profession of Choice Essay
Nursing is a noble profession pursued by people having passion to serve humanity. It has evolved into one of the most respected professions in the healthcare industry worldwide. As far as a hospitalized patient is concerned, a nurse is more involved in his service than any other medical or allied health professional. A nurse is delegated the most crucial responsibility of the physical, psychological and emotional care of the patient. Healthcare industry depends heavily on the nursing force for its service delivery and competent nurses are the most important assets in any medical establishment.
Many people still regard Nursing to be an occupation preferred by the students of comparatively low intellectual levels. The decision-making regarding the choice of the programme to be pursued after the higher secondary education is sometimes carried out much before the student himself realizes his actual potentials and talent. For some of the communities in the country, Nursing is a traditional occupation. Even some of the Nursing institutes in India are comfortable with this notion about the profession.
Nursing as an occupation has been deep-rooted in this soil since pre-independence period. Unfortunately, the remnants of its core occupational nature have been impeding its highly inevitable transformation into a professional category. An occupation and a profession are different in their nature. An occupation is essentially a job done by a person to make a living or to spend free time, without any further obligations. It is just an engagement with any job that earns you money or meets some other form of human needs. You can make walking your occupation.
For some, business is an occupation. The work that you do as part of your occupation need not be officially regulated nor be controlled by a set of fundamental principles and value systems. A particular job can be part of an occupation or that of a profession. A profession on the other hand is a highly regulated work or practice. It has its own set of value systems and principles of practice that need to be followed, irrespective of place, time, and social status of the practitioner or beneficiary. It is governed by certain rules and regulations set by its wn categorical organization, employer, the law enforcing agencies, or the concerned department of the government. The medical practice is a profession and the practitioner is a professional. His work is predominantly governed by the rules and regulations set by the Medical Council as well as the Medical Education and State Health Services Departments. A profession has its own ethics, etiquette, and values. The professional organizations control these characteristics of its members or practitioners and their practice through regular enforcement of their rules.
There are codes of conduct for a profession. The regulators and organizations discipline the practitioners of a profession. A professional is trained to practise his profession through a systematic and regulated teaching and learning process. A set of theoretical and practical training is required for moulding a professional. For example, a trained nurse is not permitted to practise as a doctor, as she has not been trained adequately to practise so. Nursing is a profession and not just an occupation.
Yet there are elements of core occupational nature in its training as well as practice in many countries including India. This is regarded as an impediment in its acquirement of full status as a profession. There are hundreds of healthcare establishments in India that employ semi-skilled or unregistered persons as their nurses. This tendency is prevalent mainly in the rural areas of the country, where the regulators find difficulty in accessing. Many educational institutions in the country do not provide quality-nursing education to its students.
Instead of being proud of dealing with such a great professional education, these institutes try to evade the vested responsibility granted to them. Rampant manipulation in nursing education sector has in fact eroded the quality of Indian nursing practice. This has badly affected not only the quality of Indian Healthcare Systems but also the acceptance for Indian nurses in foreign countries. A few nursing schools in India function simply as diploma mills, distributing certificates without any regard to the regulator’s codes of practice or education.
Nursing needs to achieve its full status as a profession in India. Modern Nursing involves all the functional, legal, and ethical elements of a profession. General attitude towards this profession requires certain fundamental changes. In fact the professional status of Nurses is at par with that of doctors in many economically developed countries and many professionally driven healthcare establishments in India. Such nurses acquired this status through ongoing refinement and fine-tuning provided by the employing organizations and educators.
A large majority of nurses admit that they have chosen their career as a compromise option. While most of them have later realized that their choice was meaningful and wise. Their attitude toward the work is more of professional than of occupational. This is more emphasized among the practitioners working in highly organized establishments and under more systematically governing regulators. The inference is that Nursing is in fact rubbing shoulders with other critically important professions but it is the training systems, popular attitude and loopholes in the regulations that belittle its status.
The situations have changed in the past few years and let us presume that the tempo will be maintained so that it becomes as important a choice as in the case of other mainstream medical professions. The decision-making regarding the choice of a student’s career should not be based on the existing myths or wrong notions associated with it but on thorough knowledge about the nature of the work, its actual status among its peers and the basic aptitude and attitude of the student towards it.