Nursing is a noble profession within the health care sector, focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities in attaining and maintaining optimal health, functioning and quality of life. Nursing in its simplest form has been practiced since the world began. Mother was the first practitioner of the art of nursing and a good woman has always been found to care for children, the aged and the sick. Nursing is not only viewed as an occupation though it is a paid one but also a service to humanity and a sacred charitable work which needs a very sympathetic heart. High quality education and training to be provided to prepare highly qualified nursing professionals.
Preparation Required for a Professional Nurse
Basic Requirements include physical and mental fitness, positive attitudes towards nursing. A nurse should have a soft heart towards human being, intelligent head to take correct decisions in day today life, precise dexterities in doing things on the basis of knowledge, and skillful hands. General Education Qualifications includes GCE ordinary and GCE advanced level qualifications. The applicant should pass six subjects including 3 credits for Mathematics, Science and English in GCE O/L and at least 3 simple passes in Science Stream subjects in GCE A/L in one sitting. Professional Education is the education and training provided by a recognised institution which is accredited by an authority that has the power to accredit educational institutes and programmes and the regulatory body of nursing (Nursing council) in the country. Nursing curricular usually cover following areas;
Higher Diploma in Nursing and Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) programmes are also conducted by the Degree Awarding Institutes. Currently, both Diploma and Graduate nurses are practicing in the health care sector. After successfully completion of theory and practical components, nursing officer has met all the requirements for registration in Sri Lanka Nursing Council (SLNC) and can practise as the registered nurse in public or private sector health care institutions.
The nurse plays an extremely very important role within the health care team, providing comprehensive nursing care for the sick, injured and disabled population and coordinates with the other team members of health care team to get their prompt attention to the patients and families. Nurse is the only health care team member who is available at the ward around the clock, helping in the diagnosis and carrying out the treatments prescribed by the physician. In addition to that, observing, reporting and evaluating the response of the patient to his illness, providing necessary data continuously to the medical staff to continue the prescribed treatments or to change.
Apart from those functions, nurses teach patients and their families, supervise auxiliary staff of the ward, protect and prevent the loss and damages of medicines and other articles, help and facilitate for the education and examinations for professionals and non-professionals in the hospital, conduct nursing research and help others to conduct research to fulfil institutional goals. All qualified nursing officers are members of the International Council for Nurses (ICN) through Sri Lanka Nurses Association (SLNA). Further, ICN has declared 4 unique functions of nurses as follows;
Nurses always utilize the available opportunities for continuing education to keep their knowledge up-to-date, even though they have to do overtime due to severe shortage of nurses. At the same time, nurses maintain their own physical and mental health and safety of lives. Nurses have kept a record of not expecting any bribe or personal benefit from the care receivers and upholding and maintaining the dignity and status of the profession. A sincere interest of attending to the sick and helpless, a strong constitution and an equable temperament of nursing professionals are the pillars of holding nursing in a top level of the society.
Honesty, loyalty, empathy and punctuality are the basis of their work. Nurses are very active, methodical, careful and self-control in dealing with patients. Hence the nursing profession is very much prominent in the society due to the advanced selection criteria, standardized professional education comparing with the world standards, the enormous duties, excellent hand skills, personal and professional qualities of nurses.