How to Get a Job as a Nurse
The nursing profession is one of the noblest and fulfilling professions in the healthcare sector. The career is centred on providing essential health and human care to families, communities, and individuals, with the goal of enhancing the quality of life and achieving optimal health.
Who is a nurse?
A nurse is any individual (male or female) entrusted with the responsibility of providing quality care to individuals in need. Nurses come up with a care plan for individuals, working hand in hand with doctors, patients and their families, therapies, and other relevant care providers. This care plan is designed to cater to the general and specific needs of the individual or organization.
Types of nurses
The following are some of the different types of nurses;
- Occupational Health Nurse
- Renal nurse
- Public Health nurse
- Paediatric nurse
- Clinical Research nurse
- Critical care nurse
- Accident and Emergency nurse
- Orthopaedic nurse
Education And Certification
The first step in becoming a nurse involves getting a quality education, adequate knowledge, and certification. The following constitute schools or institutions of learning designated or tasked with imbibing potential nurses with much-needed educational skills, knowledge, and certification in the School of Nursing, School of Basic Midwifery, and University.
Prospective and potential nurses attending the School of Nursing undergo rigorous classroom and hospital-based training and education that lasts for 3 years. They spend half of the allocated duration of study in the classroom for theoretical studies, and the remaining half in certified hospitals and health centres for clinical practice and postings. At the end of the study period, qualified students and attendees are awarded a “Certificate in General nursing”. Relatively, the School of Basic Midwifery in Nigeria also avails students the opportunity and platform to learn and develop vital and essential skills, needed for the nursing profession for a period of 3 years.
However, Universities train nurses for a period of five years. In comparison, this form of nursing education offers students the opportunity to have and spend a prolonged time in the classroom, learning more of the theoretical aspects of nursing than clinical postings, unlike the School of Nursing and School of Basic Midwifery respectively. After 5 years, they are awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, and Professional certifications/certificates which include; a Certificate in General Nursing (RN), a Certificate in Midwifery (RM), and a Certificate in Public Health nursing (RPH).
In every facet of the working and entrepreneurial environment and endeavour, relevant professional, clinical or industrial experience is vital depending on the sector. For the healthcare sector and nursing subsector, nurses are mandated to undergo, undertake and go through an “Internship Program”, which lasts for a year, after graduating from the aforementioned Educational Institutes of learning. This is aimed at sharpening Nurses’ hard and clinical skills and expertise, as well as enabling them to develop, harness, and learn soft skills that are synonymous with the profession. After the expiration of the compulsory internship, the nurses are awarded and given licenses to practice by relevant bodies such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN).
Responsibilities And Network
Nurses have been adjudged to be the most diverse health care professionals; they can work and network in a myriad and plethora of settings, environments, and communities depending on the needs of the care receiver. In the course of their clinical postings, nurses are availed and provided with opportunities and avenues to network with a variety of individuals and organizations. Similarly, working in Research institutes and Educational citadels enhance networking among nurses and other professionals. However, a nurse is entrusted with certain roles and responsibilities, depending on the place of work. The following are some of the scopes of activities and responsibilities of nurses;
- Education of patients and patients’ families on the management of diseases, illnesses, and infections.
- Assisting with patients’ mobility, IV insertion, and Urinary and Bowel elimination.
- Advocacy centred on the general health and well-being of individuals and communities.
- Administering and Managing prescribed medications.
- Conducting physical exams and taking detailed health care inventories.
- Coordinating care in tandem with other healthcare professionals.
- Taking care of patients’ unique emotional needs, and providing counselling services and support to individuals and communities when needed.
- Recording patients and nursed individuals’ /communities’ medical history and symptoms.
- Teaching and providing academic training to potential nurses/ health care workers in Universities and other nursing citadels of learning.
- Keeping up to date with the latest inventions and development in the healthcare and nursing profession.
Employability And Other Relevant Skills
To be a successful, employable, and professional nurse, learning certain clinical, hard, and soft skills is compulsory and essential; these skills enable the nurse to adapt, fit in and thrive adequately in an ever-changing world of work. The clinical skills are competencies and expertise designed to enable the nurse to carry out and facilitate nursing tasks like care and treatment of wounds, administration of medication, and insertion of IV. These clinical skills include; patient care, infection control, catheterization, patient assessment, telemetry, and leadership skills.
However, successful nurses are not judged based on their clinical skills, educational qualifications, and professional certification alone, rather, success in nursing is defined by a combination of the aforementioned and other relevant soft skills. Soft skills are personal attributes vital and essential for success in any endeavour and work setting. For nurses, these skills are essential as it helps improve patients’ recovery, patients’ satisfaction and provide serenity, conduciveness, and ambience in hospitals and other nursing work environment. These soft skills include; communication, teamwork, critical thinking, empathy, good attitude and confidence, networking, problem-solving, conflict resolution and management, adaptability, strong work ethic, and initiative skills.
Where To Get Nursing Jobs
Most often than not, nurses tend to get jobs faster than most health and care practitioners, because of the diverse nature of the profession. The years of experience, expertise, employability skills and competence, relevant experience, and educational level play a role in career prospects for nurses. Enumerated below are places, agencies, and settings where nurses can get jobs;
- Hospitals; Majority of nurses in Nigeria get jobs in hospitals after obtaining their license. This may be because nursing is predominantly a clinical profession. Nurses in hospitals can be placed in intensive care units, paediatric units, general medical and surgical units, theatres, labour wards, and dialysis units amongst others.
- Clinics: Nurses can also get jobs in nurse-led clinics, College or university clinics, and free-standing clinics.
- Industrial health settings: Occupational health nurses can get jobs in occupational health centres providing care and medical attention to factory workers.
- Educational settings: Nurses can also work in schools in different capacities. In primary and secondary school, nurses administer patient care to ill school students. In tertiary institutions such as Universities and Colleges of Health, nurses work as educators, lecturers, and health care consultants.
- Pharmacies; Some nurses also get jobs as care providers in registered pharmaceuticals companies. They are tasked with the responsibility of administering medications and treatment to workers and customers alike.
- Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): NGOs in the country provide job opportunities for nurses. Most NGOs hire nurses to help cater for the needs of their target communities, depending on the intervention they intend to carry out. In addition, some of these organizations send nurses to Internally Displaced Person Camps to administer medical care to victims of war, terrorism, and natural disaster.
- Research Institutes; Nurses in Nigeria can also secure jobs in research institutes. They work as clinical research nurses, in collaboration with an assigned principal investigator, and aid in facilitating the process of clinical research. An example of such an institute is the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research.
- Health Insurance; Health insurance constitutes another avenue for getting nursing jobs in Nigeria. They act as intermediaries between companies, hospitals, and care providers.