Becoming a Nurse
Being a nurse anywhere in the world is an emotionally and physically draining job. Some of the lesser-known duties of a nurse include building trust with patients, educating patients and consistently adhering to countless hospital protocols. In fact, nurses’ duties go far beyond clinics and hospitals because they are advocates of patients’ health outside the healthcare system too. It is not uncommon for nurses to reach out to, and assist patients long after they have left hospitals, because they consider their profession to be “holistic” in nature.
These diverse roles of nurses in the healthcare system prove that nurses have a very difficult job. Their job requires them to have compassion, endless patience and extensive technical knowledge. Unfortunately, the general perception of nurses in many people’s minds in England is that they merely record vitals and ask to prescribe medication. The truth, however, is that nurses have an irreplaceable function in England’s healthcare system.
Becoming a Nurse
Since the past decade, the demand for nurses in England has been soaring. Since England has faced demographic changes in the past two decades, there is pressure on the government to provide quality healthcare for everyone. Consequently, public hospitals have had to hire more nurses and doctors to meet the growing demand for healthcare services. As a result, nursing is becoming a popular major for college students in the UK. Nursing is the most employable degree in England today, 94% of nursing graduates find jobs within the first three months after their graduation.
Generally, the prerequisites for being a nurse in the United Kingdom are studying Biology, and English in A-Levels, and pursuing nursing courses at college. Most undergraduate nursing degrees are four years long, and the content of the courses is generally approved by the National Health Service (NHS). Nurses are also required to gain practical knowledge, so some individuals choose to work as “Nursing Associates” before becoming qualified nurses. A nursing associate is a trainee who assists qualified nurses at work. The aim of this job is to familiarize nursing students with the healthcare system. All nurses in the UK have to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Association in order to continue their practice.
The Four Fields of Nursing
Nurses can opt for different fields, depending on their expertise and interests. The four most prominent fields of nursing are:
In this field of nursing, professionals get to work with adult patients in hospitals, or with the police on special cases, or even in prisons with criminals who need medical attention. Nurses may have to work with patients in intensive care units or work with elderly patients who have restricted mobility. This type of nursing virtually deals with all sorts of patients. This is a daunting field, to say the least, because adult nurses have to be dynamic and flexible to work in so many environments.
Nurses who work with children have to learn to communicate effectively because children cannot always articulate their feelings. Nurses in this area can move into teaching, managerial nursing positions or even school-nursing.
Nurses who work with patients with learning disabilities have to be sensitive and compassionate. They play integral roles in helping disabled individuals live independently, and overcome hurdles in learning, memorizing or understanding at school or work. Such nurses work with community centers, NGOs, people’s homes or prison systems meant for rehabilitation.
Mental health nurses help patients deal with an array of mental health disorders. They must study subjects like psychology and human behaviour before entering this realm of nursing.
There is one additional practice in the western world that nurses are becoming popular for home-births. Although home births by midwives are not categorised as a separate nursing field, nurses play a crucial role in home births. In England, 2% of newborns are delivered at home, and without a qualified nurse, the chances of stillbirths and complications are thrice as high. The NHS trains midwives, who assist women in childbirth at home. They prescribe safe painkillers and rely on natural methods to ease birth, instead of using steroids or drugs to artificially induce birth. Midwives make women feel more comfortable in the privacy of their homes. Since 2013, the NHS has committed itself to improve the supply of midwives because their methods and practices have been safe and fairly successful. To become a certified midwife, one needs a degree in midwifery, which takes about three to four years to obtain. However, if a registered adult nurse wishes to pursue midwifery, they can take a shorter course instead, which is just a year-and-a-half-long.
Nursing and its Challenges
Once a person is qualified to work as a nurse, they may start work at a private or public hospitals, or even internationally. Nurses’ salaries range between £25K to £45K per year, based on their field of nursing, and experience. In the UK, nurses’ salaries are determined by the National Health Service-better known as the NHS which is a single-payer, government-funded, public health system. The NHS strives to provide healthcare to UK citizens at very low costs. However, in the past, nurses have protested against the NHS for not increasing their wages sufficiently. In fact, in the summer of 2017, the NHS was bashed by nurses in the public system for placing a “cap” on their salaries, which was effectively leading to a fall in their salaries by 14%. Nurses who have shifted to the UK from other Western countries like Canada complain that in England, nursing is an embarrassingly underpaid profession. Given that these issues are prevalent, what is it that does not stop students in the UK from joining the public health system as nurses?
The Rewards of Being a Nurse
Most nurses claim that their job has intrinsic value. Nursing or caregiving offers the nurse to develop a deep bond with their subjects. Most nurses feel a deep sense of fulfilment because their jobs help them influence other people’s lives. Sometimes nurses have to deal with agonized patients or face heart-wrenching scenarios where they cannot save a patient’s life, but they continue their jobs because they have the power to truly touch people’s lives. Many nurses report that helping disabled individuals, or ill children deal with everyday life gives them a powerful sense of achievement.
Another benefit of working as a nurse or caregiver in England is that nurses get to work with people from many different social and racial backgrounds. Since there is a huge demand for nurses in England, the government relies on foreign nurses to come and work in England. Talented and qualified nurses and doctors from all over the world are granted the UK visa to practice there. Thus, nursing is a melting pot of talent, offering an unparalleled learning opportunity.
The NHS also gives nurses the right to obtain 28 holidays per year, plus eight public holidays, and work up to 38 hours a week, which is standard. Nurses are also entitled to excellent pension programs.
Nursing and the Chosen Care Group
However, being a practising caregiver or nurse in the UK is tough because people tend to overlook the importance of a nurse's role in the healthcare environment. Although nursing is one of the most trusted professions in the world, nurses in England often remark that they feel underappreciated. Despite their commitment towards helping people, nurses in England remark that hospitals and senior doctors limit their work to miscellaneous tasks such as prepping material, recording patients’ health state and shifting patients in different wards. Nurses in other countries claim to have more significant job roles that allow them to think critically and apply their knowledge.
We believe caregivers, such as nurses, have an integral role in sustaining public health. Chosen Care Group strongly believes that nurses deserve recognition and appreciation for their services. Unlike hospitals, we allow nurses working with our team the liberty to think critically and use their knowledge to help patients, instead of simply jotting down notes, or asking patient generic questions. Our aim is to work alongside private and public healthcare facilities in order to make quality healthcare accessible for all.
Overall, nurses are of paramount importance to England’s healthcare system. Nursing requires a very specific set of skills and knowledge, which makes a nurse’s job challenging and stressful. Unlike most professions, nurses are intrinsically motivated since their jobs involve emotional labour and close contact with the subject. Considering the impact nurses can have on public health, the Chosen Care Group is committed to work alongside the public healthcare system in England to sustain public health, and improve the quality of healthcare provided to patients in the UK.