The global health systems are struggling to keep pace with the growing health needs in the light of the pandemic. On the one hand, there are cracks in the physical infrastructure, facilities, and the right equipment (kits, testing). On the other hand, there is a serious shortage of medical professionals, especially doctors and nurses. As per the estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO) report, State of the World’s Nursing, there was a global shortage of 5.9 million nurses in 2018. This is a clear indicator of how even in a pre pandemic world, nursing profession was a dire need.
Impact of Nursing Profession: The Rationale for Growth in Pandemic
In the light of current events, the role and importance of nurses has only increased. Here are a few ways in which the nursing profession makes a real world impact and illustrates its growing need to deal with the pandemic:
With the exponential increase in the number of cases, it was impossible to cater to all needs in hospitals. Therefore, hospitals have been reserved for more critical cases. On the flip side, it was the nursing profession that was on the frontline to provide community healthcare. Nurses played an active role in providing medical care to those who had milder issues. This is especially for those who were not attended to by hospitals. Invariably, nurses have been instrumental in holding together the healthcare system. They have actively offered support to those in distress irrespective of their social and economic status.
Advocacy and Awareness
One of the major insights from this pandemic has been the need to create awareness amongst the population about the health emergency at hand. This is especially true for the most vulnerable sections of the society who have little or no access to accurate and credible information. Nursing profession is an answer to address the same. Nurses have been on the forefront of creating awareness about Covid 19 including ways to prevent contracting the virus, educating the population about best practices to stay safe, etc.
It is clear that in the years to come, the need to create awareness and advocate better health practices will only increase. Nurses are best suited for this role as they not only have medical knowledge to prevent circulation of misinformation, they also come with empathy and understanding to connect well with people. This will eventually translate to greater real world impact where the population is aware and cautious for their own health.
Telehealth is another area that is expanding the role and importance of the nursing profession. With lockdowns and social distancing in place, telehealth has been on the rise. Nurses have been playing a major role in coordinating telehealth sessions for patients. Additionally, they have been putting their medical knowledge to use to support pregnant women, and other such patients. There is great scope in telehealth to explore and make nurses even more instrumental in offering healthcare services.
Effective Education for Nursing: Need of the Hour
As it is clear that the nursing profession is rising more exponentially than ever today. Therefore, an accompanying need is to have a supportive ecosystem that can give rise to competent nurses. Such an ecosystem starts with a credible educational institution like Netaji Subhash College of Nursing (NSCN). By nurturing nurses with high quality academic training and extra-curricular activities for holistic nursing education, such institutions have the potential to facilitate good health in times of the pandemic and beyond.