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Through out the world, nursing is seen as one of the noblest professions. In a hospital, from the general ward to the operating theatre, nursing is the most important component of patients care. In fact, the availability of effective nursing services is an indicator of the health of a country’s medicare systems.

Contrary to popular belief, nursing is not a second–choice career for those unable to gain entry into medical schools. The two professions, thought complementary, require separate skills and temperaments. A vital difference is that while the doctor’s contact with patients is fleeting, nurses are expected to establish and maintain a relationship with them. Traditionally, more women than men have taken up this profession, and nurses today form the largest single group of female health workers in the world.

Fields of Work
Nursing covers a range of functions and responsibilities that vary with levels of qualification and the working environment. The profession thus has scope for people with widely varying aims, interests and abilities. The main functional areas in nursing include:
General Nursing
In hospitals, nursing homes and sanitariums, where most nurses are employed.

School Nurses
supervise student clinics. They work in school health services and regularly visit a number of schools. Their job includes checking the vision, hearing, weight, growth, etc. of the children. They also try to detect minor health problems before these develop into more serious disorders. School nurses also teach first–aid and give lectures on health and hygiene.

Industrial Nurses
Provided preventive and other services under the direction of an industrial physician. They also render first–aid in case of accidents and emergencies.

Psychiatric Nurses
Work with emotionally disturbed and mentally handicapped patients. Their aim is to develop the patient’s potential. This type of nursing is always a mixture of teaching, demonstration, understanding, and establishing relationships of trust with the patient. Psychiatric nurses work in teams with doctors, psychologists, occupational therapists and other specialists.

Midwives
Look after mothers and children, from early pregnancy until about four weeks after the birth of the baby. They provide advice, support and instruction to mothers at both pre–natal and post–natal stage. Midwives take full responsibility during the birth, and, in case of complications, call a doctor immediately. They also counsel women suffering from post–natal depression, and teach them to cope with their new–born babies.

Job Prospects
After registration, qualified nurses can find employment wherever nursing services are required, e.g: hospitals, private and government run nursing homes and sanitariums, the military, public health services, treatment rooms and clinics, industrial houses, factories, corporations, offices, schools, orphanges and old age homes. Nurses with a postgraduate degree are eligible to teach in training institutions.