The global role of nursing education in healthcare

Nurses are highly respected and appreciated in their respective roles in healthcare. They are providers of essential support and comfort for patients. Beyond their usual roles of administering medication and bedside care, they can also become advocates for patients. In this article, we discuss some of the ways that nursing has evolved beyond the traditional role and educational opportunities. If you’re an aspiring nurse or a registered nurse looking to advance in your career, this article is for you. Let’s begin with what you need to know.

How education plays a critical role for nurses

Without education, the role of nurses wouldn’t exist. Diving deep into the dilemma, there would be no one with the skills and competence needed to care for patients. Nurses must enroll in a nursing program to obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree. From there, they can apply for positions in the healthcare field to work as CNAs, LPNs or RNs, depending on the degree earned and their registration.

However, nurses can advance their career beyond this by pursuing higher education. It starts with finding the right online nursing MSN programs, such as those offered by the highly reputable Wilkes University. Some of the topics studied include advanced nursing research, diagnostic reasoning and health policy and politics. Students can choose to specialize as a family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner or psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. 

The beauty of online programs is you can take it at your own pace. You can take part in discussions with like-minded students. It’s a great learning experience option when your aim in life is to obtain a higher education to open more doors in your nursing career.

Nurses in global healthcare: The traditional roles and beyond

Nurses have evolved in terms of their role over the years. They still perform the traditional duties of patient care and assisting physicians. Nurses excel in their duties in hospitals, private practices and even remote areas around the world where medical care may be difficult to obtain.

In today’s global society, nurses assume the role of researchers, educators and policy influencers. Strictly speaking, they are using their real-world experience and observations to shape the healthcare field beyond its current state. In doing so, nurses can present ideas that could benefit the patient in ways we never knew existed. This can involve treating patients with complex medical conditions with the necessary medications.

Globalizing nursing education

Expanding educational opportunities beyond borders is more than possible today thanks to the digital age and the technological capabilities our world possesses. However, parts of the world are still wrestling with the challenge of accessibility due to a lack of the proper infrastructure that supports modern technology, such as rural or remote areas and underdeveloped nations.

Globalizing education opportunities for aspiring nurses can be achieved. By overcoming barriers, students will be able to learn about the importance of healthcare and how nurses can address the needs of patients. Beyond that, nurses are also fulfilling the demand for primary care — especially in areas where healthcare providers may be considered “few and far between”.

Online learning platforms and virtual simulations can be essential for nursing education, no matter where nurses are located. Online learning gives those with diverse backgrounds an opportunity to learn valuable skills that can be useful in helping others, paving the way for a fulfilling career. 

The importance of continuous education

The healthcare field is always evolving, which leads to a need for continuous education. This learning can happen outside of a virtual or real classroom. We dare take it a step further and say that the world is your classroom.

We live in a world where nurses and other healthcare professionals need to stay updated regarding the latest developments in healthcare. This includes the changes and advancements in technology, the practice itself and how we provide healthcare based on evidence. Such evidence-based care can be administered and documented by nurses themselves.

Nurses can sign up for certification, continuing education and degree programs. This goes beyond career advancement. It also gives nurses the opportunity to learn upgraded versions of the skills they already possess. Likewise, they can also learn new approaches to how they can treat patients.

Nurses can also share their own research, discovery and accomplishments with others in the healthcare field. By doing so, they can help continue the cycle of continuous education in the nursing field. Even special educational opportunities for nurses may be available. For example, there may be opportunities for nurses to learn how to tackle complex health issues patients face or challenges that may arise when they are treating patients in conditions where resources are restricted. 

It is also important for simulation and experiential learning to play a role in continuous education in nursing. The main reason is that you will learn something new in an environment that is safe and controlled. You can learn new skills and upgrade existing ones by simulating patient scenarios and clinical rotations.

It is important for nursing students to develop the critical skills that will help them be effective in their role. This includes critical thinking and clinical proficiency. Like the healthcare field, continuous educational opportunities will evolve over time. This will mostly be due to the evolution of technology in today’s digital age.

The role of cultural competence in nursing

Understanding the various cultural backgrounds that exist can set a nurse ahead of the curve. Throughout their career, a nurse will treat countless patients. They will come across patients who come from different backgrounds including cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Nurses may notice patterns in who they are treating as patients. For example, they may regularly treat patients who come from a certain cultural background. From there, they can educate themselves on any common knowledge they need to know.

At the same time, they must also find a connection between their culture and their beliefs in healthcare. This can make things easier for nurses to understand in terms of which patients may refuse treatment due to cultural reasons. Learn about the beliefs, values and healthcare practices of new cultures and be sure to make notes as you educate yourself.

In global healthcare, nurses can easily connect with patients by making an attempt to understand their culture. Learning about your patients’ culture is an educational opportunity that can be accessed without going to school. Nurses can be lifelong learners, even after obtaining the necessary degrees that help them further their careers and achieve their lifelong goals.

What strategies exist for developing cultural competence?

Nurses can obtain cultural competence by acquiring the necessary mindsets, skills and know-how that will make it possible to deliver care that is culturally friendly. One major part of a strategy you can put together is leveraging the opportunity of continuous education. This includes taking part in workshops and learning activities that will help enhance cultural awareness.

These learning opportunities will help nurses develop effective communication skills and understand the cultural differences of their patients compared to their own. Nurses can become more empathetic and have the ability to continue providing patient-centric care while respecting the patient’s cultures and beliefs.

How nurses can collaborate in the global health field

Nurses are the frontline workers in the healthcare field regardless of their geographical location. They can become collaborators in their efforts to change global healthcare for the better. One way of doing this is partnering up with professionals across other disciplines.

Nurses and healthcare professionals alike can work with those in the technological industry. We live in an age where telemedicine has proved its worth in diagnosing illnesses and injuries in a remote setting. Other opportunities can include generating ideas on how nurses can use technology to assist physicians in diagnosing and treating patients.

Collaboration can lead to various solutions, including those that may have the ability to break down barriers. The healthcare and technical fields may find and experiment with ideas designed to overcome the challenges of limited technological access or a lack of support due to poor infrastructure, which still exist in parts of the world.

Beyond this, collaboration can also present solutions that pertain to other disparities in global health. Nurses can also collaborate with educators, including nursing instructors. Their hands-on experience and evidence-based care can be used as case studies that nursing students can utilize to help develop their own skills and abilities they’ll use when they become nurses. Positive change is possible in the global healthcare field and collaboration can play a critical role.

The factors that lead to health disparities

To understand the global health disparities nurses and others want to address, it’s important to know the factors that contribute to them. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Poverty — particularly in parts of the world where their economy is less stable compared to the rest of the globe.
  • Inadequate access to healthcare, including medications, equipment and the manpower to administer proper diagnoses, treatment and care.
  • Educational inequalities due to an inadequate educational system. Also, a lack of technological support and infrastructure to support technological solutions used in a healthcare setting.
  • Environmental threats that can harm the health and safety of others.

Potential solutions to solving health disparities

It is important to meet these factors head-on with innovative solutions. Nurses and other interdisciplinary leaders can work together to address the global health disparities that are ongoing to this day. It is important to consider these solutions:

Improving healthcare access

It’s clear that a lack of healthcare access has played a role. One approach to solving what appears to be a complex issue is globalizing nursing education. This would allow the locals in these areas to learn and develop nursing skills so they can administer to the basic healthcare needs of patients. They can assist physicians who are visiting from other parts of the globe while patients are being diagnosed and treated for various health conditions. Expanding healthcare services and developing the proper infrastructure can also be driving forces behind improving healthcare access worldwide.

Advocating and implementing policies

Nurses can play a role in advocating for change. This includes suggesting policies that can be implemented to address poverty. This could include creating poverty alleviation programs, initiatives for affordable housing and campaigns that raise awareness and address the issues of social exclusion and discrimination.

Continuing collaboration

As mentioned before, collaboration with organizations, other healthcare providers and leaders of different disciplines can lead to the creation and implementation of creative solutions. Modern solutions can play a role in solving problems that have been long-standing for years and even decades. Collaboration leads to sharing best practices along with pooling and leveraging the necessary resources to address the issues at hand.

Nurses can bring change to the world

Whether it’s a free clinic in larger cities or a rural hospital, nurses have more opportunities to shape the world of healthcare than ever before. Even with the availability of higher educational opportunities, they have a chance to make a difference in the world. Their skills, ability to understand, and know-how can play a role in contributing to the creation and implementation of global health initiatives.

These initiatives can open new doors — including the expansion of nursing education that can lead to better availability of nurses around the world, especially in areas where the need for healthcare is great and such care is scarce.