Using a Nursing Degree to Fight Global Crises

Posted December 14th, 2009 by Staff Writers in Uncategorized (No Comments »)

Most nursing students are well aware of the stories of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton; in fact, these women might be the reason a vast majority of students decide to be nurses.  Their early dedication to the nursing industry is evident in their lasting namesakes and a wonder of how they were able to accomplish so much throughout the nineteenth century.  Fastforwarding to modern day reveals different outlooks for the nursing industry.  We still have nursing pioneers and famous nurses who accomplish more than was ever required of them, but the majority of nurses simply work the every-day general medicine jobs, some even lucky enough to work a 9-5 job.  However, there is still a way to reach out to people through nursing degrees, depending what you want to do with them.  

Currently, there is a heightened demand for health care workers in Africa especially: data has indicated that 800,000 health care workers are currently needed in the continent to meet health goals in reducing AIDS-related deaths by 2015.  The World Health Organization has recommended that the continent needs to have at least 2.28 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 1,000 people in order to met the goals set for it.  The United States itself has witnessed a growing number of nursing students who wish to travel to Africa and help many families in need.  This is still rare within the nursing community, but has led to many ripples within the health industry.  Even a small amount of aid goes a long way in such an impoverished section of the world, ravaged by growing epidemics. 

Residents of these impoverished nations are suffering from many diseases that are easily curable within Western nations, but because there is a lack of funds and subsequent lack of health care professionals, these citizens will continue to suffer until the goal of 800,000 are met.  These front-line health care professionals that work in these conditions should be as celebrated as Florence Nightingale is: they are giving up their friends, family, not to mention modern conveniences, in order to cater to a class of people on the other side of the world.  This is the reason to become a nurse: the satisfaction of knowing that you are truly making a difference in global society. 

While this type of global career is not for everyone, it offers many recipients of nursing degrees the opportunity to put their degree to use in an environment that is drastically different from the one they are accustomed to.  Thus far, it has been difficult for African countries to maintain a constant influx of health care workers since there is a high turnover rate, but South Africa should be the model for most health care professionals: it has grown through leaps and bounds after only a few years of intensive health care.  Africa is different than any other continent and contains conditions that yield to disease, but turning this around only takes a goal-ridden nursing student who wants to make a difference in the modern health world.  

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