Nursing is an important component of the medical industry. It is essentially a profession which focuses on the care of patients, families and even communities so that they are able to maintain, recover or attain recover the adequate quality of life. Nurses indulge in differential approach to patient care and undergo markedly different training.
Generally, nurses are allowed to practice independently, though much of the scope of independence varies from one jurisdiction to another. Nursing has witnessed a whole new process of diversification, and several conventional roles and responsibilities of the nurses have changed in the post-war period.
The freelancing community of nursing is expanding with time. Since the digitalisation of the global community, freelancing in nursing has become more convenient and lucrative, and the number of freelancers has only increased. However, it is not that simple to become a freelance nurse keeping in mind the rising competition and the increasing digitalisation of the medical industry.
Under this article, we shall discuss the major factors involved in the making of a freelance nurse. There are essentially four points, which must be carefully studied and worked upon, and once you are aware of the professional requirements of the freelance community, you can actually start out.
1. Educational qualifications required in a freelance nurse
Nursing is a professional industry, and without certain educational qualifications, one cannot hope to become its member. Since nurses are health care professionals, and whatever decisions they make affect patients, it is all the more important that educational qualifications are obtained. To know more on this subject-matter, read below:
- To start a career in nursing, one has to secure a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing following the completion of 10+2 from a recognized school in India.
- One is required to have graduated from school with minimum 50 percent marks and with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology as core subjects.
- Then, the candidate has to sit for various entrance examinations organized by a number of institutions in the country. There are several state and independent medical educational bodies which organize such examinations. These examinations are generally organized between May and June and comprise majorly objective type questions. The results of these examinations are usually out by the month of July.
- While the majority of institutions admit candidates on the basis of their performance in the entrance examinations, there are a few institutions that admit students on the basis of the marks obtained in 10+2.
- Upon the completion of the course (which usually lasts for three to four years), one has to undergo training courses in hospitals. One usually starts as a Junior or Assistant Nurse during the training period.
- There are other courses in nursing apart from Bachelor’s in nursing; these courses include General Nursing and Midwifery and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife. These courses have slightly varying qualification requirements, but the minimum qualification required is the completion of 10+2 with Physics, Biology, and Chemistry as core subjects and minimum 50 percent marks in Board examinations or any other equivalent examination.
- It is recommended that to augment work opportunities, one should pursue Master’s in nursing if possible, though a Bachelor’s degree will suffice to kick start a career as a freelance nurse.
- Institutes offering courses in nursing in India include All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; Christian Medical College, Vellore; Armed Forces Medical College, Pune; Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and research, Pondicherry; Madras Medical College, Chennai; King George’s Medical University, Lucknow. If you wish to study abroad, there are plenty options available such as University of Colorado, Washington University, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, etc.
2. Skills required in a freelance nurse
- Communication skills: It is highly expected from a nurse to possess exemplary communication skills. You may often find yourself in the position of a middleman required to convey information from a physician to a patient and vice versa. A nurse has to be in constant touch with the patients and their families so as to fully appreciate their medical condition, financial condition and other relevant factors affecting the treating of the patient.
Similarly, there must be an effective communication channel between doctors and nurses so that the patients are given holistic treatment. At times, the nurse may have to deal with uncooperative, aggressive family members or patients, preoccupied doctors and everyone else in between, and that is where communication skills will come into play.
- Flexibility: Nurses are busy-bodies, and at times, they may be required to undertake multiple shifts and work overtime. Often there may be last-minute paperwork requirements, needs of the patients or family members, etc. This is where flexibility will play a key role. You are required to maintain mental flexibility to handle pressure in a productive manner because, after the doctor, it is the nurse which can provide medical assistance to the patients and therefore, holds an extremely critical position.
- Critical Thinking: Healthcare workplaces are extremely busy places to work, and often situations requiring immediate and rational thinking may arise. It is where critical thinking will help a nurse get rid of problems and restore normalcy. There can be instances where there are several options for treatment available, and the nurse must be critically able to assess the medical condition of the patient and recommend the right solution.
- The desire to learn: There is a huge world out there, which offers countless opportunities to learn and practice. This is also applicable to nurses, who are expected to be amenable to learning new things in health care industry. The best nurses are those who can critically examine circumstances, explore different things and study them keenly. Medical science is an ever-expansive world where possibilities are endless and bright, and if one is able to develop a knack for learning, one can reach new heights.
- Attention to detail: Nursing profession requires keen attention to detail. Nurses are required to document nearly everything, from symptoms shown by the patients, previous medical records and the current financial status of the patient. The more attentive nurses are, the better they contribute to the treatment of patients.
3. Work opportunities
Nurses can work in multiple settings where there is involvement of health care professionals such as community agencies, home care settings, hospitals, occupational settings, public health clinics, schools, veteran organizations, government agencies, etc.
In order to keep a track on freelance opportunities, there are many websites which offer a common platform for freelancers and employers to work with each other. These websites are regularly updated with new opportunities, which can be conveniently applied for. All you are required to do create an account, upload a portfolio of relevant skills and submit applications. While submitting applications, pay keen attention to the drafting of the proposal which covers the reasons why the applicant is best suited for the job. Some examples of such websites are freelance.com, worknhire.com, guru.com, and linked.in.com.
4. Pay scale of a freelance nurse
The pay scale is depended on a host of factors such as the place of work, years of experience, educational qualifications, etc. Average remuneration of a nurse is Rs. 15,000 per month, but if you are an experienced and a well-established freelance nurse, you may place your own pay rate. If, however, you are starting afresh in the industry, you may have to stay content with the prevalent market rate.