International nurses’ day: The importance of being a nurse – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/et-editorial/the-importance-of-being-a-nurse/articleshow/82581772.cmsSynopsis

Nursing schools must have capacity not just to meet the domestic demand. Nurses must have skills that help them navigate the world outside. India’s missions abroad must facilitate secure work for migrant healthcare personnel. Let us show nurses the respect they so amply deserve.

May 12 was International Nurses’ Day. In reality, each of the last 365 days has been Nurses’ Day. If any patient put on a ventilator survived in any intensive care unit anywhere in the world, it is only because of the nursing they received. In a world that trains people to measure worth and value by the yardstick of money, the kind competence of nurses opens a window to a world of moral purpose, where price tags mean little. However, it would be altogether wrongheaded and patronising to hail nurses as ministering angels on a special day or during the pandemic and to ignore the economic dimension of nursing.

Nurses, paramedics and medical technicians are often ignored when policymakers obsess over the number of doctors needed and available per thousand of the population. Healthcare does not function without all the medical personnel required. Japanese nursing homes use robots and trained artificial intelligence beats radiologists in consistently accurate interpretation of medical scans. However, for the foreseeable future, technology will only supplement, not substitute, medical professionals. The world is ageing, and fast. China’s population is on the verge of shrinking, their latest census figures say. In the absence of some wondrous advance in medicine that halts or reverses ageing, an ageing world’s demand for healthcare workers of all kinds, particularly nurses, will only go up. India and Africa will be the major sources of such medical personnel for the world, thanks to two factors: presence of large population groups for whom a nursing job would mean a quantum leap out of poverty, and a demographic profile that allows millions to be trained as medical personnel. This is both a challenge and an opportunity, for which the nation must plan.

Nursing schools must have capacity not just to meet the domestic demand. Nurses must have skills that help them navigate the world outside. India’s missions abroad must facilitate secure work for migrant healthcare personnel. Let us show nurses the respect they so amply deserve.

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