Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Home > Higher Education > OPA at Your Service for Career Guidance ;Nursing as a Career and a Profession

OPA at Your Service for Career Guidance ;Nursing as a Career and a Profession

Graduate Nurses Foundation of Sri Lanka with nursing profession
Nursing is a discipline that focuses on alleviating suffering through protection, promoting health, wellness, and prevention of illness and injury. Nursing is based on caring and respect for human life and dignity.
The nurse recognises that the uniqueness of each patient is derived from multiple factors in the patient’s being, experience, environment, values, beliefs, goals and preferences. An essential feature of nursing practice is caring, ethically based, culturally sensitive nurse-patient relationship that develop healing through kindness, empathy, mutual respect and support. One aspect of this relationship is intimate care of the body. Nurses assess patients and develop a plan of care, working collaboratively with medical officers, therapists, the patient, the patient’s family and other team members, that focus on treating illness to improve quality of life of patients.
Critical thinking exemplified in the nursing process and nurses use their judgment to integrate objective data with subjective experience of a patient’s biological, physical and behavioural needs. Further, nurses may help coordinate the patient care performed by other members of a multidisciplinary health care team. The nursing profession is an advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations. They generally help patients make informed decisions on their health. Helping them direct a complex medical system, translating medical terms and helping patients make ethical decisions are some of them, because they have the most direct interaction with patients. When nurses successfully advocate for their patients, their work promotes the healing process.
As nurses and as the people in Sri Lanka, we should know the evolution of nursing education in Sri Lanka. The School of Nursing, Colombo is the first nursing school in the island where formal Nursing Education was established in Sri Lanka in 1939. At the beginning of professional nursing in Sri Lanka, there was an argument that nursing could become a “creative” profession only when it could attract women of good educational backgrounds and social standing: “The course must be developed along lines which will stimulate the interest of this group of young women and attract them to nursing in large numbers.”
According to the lessons taught by the noble lady Florence Nightingale, to ensure the health right of a person, the health care provider should be available at the door step. The health facility should be accessible, acceptable and the care should ensure quality and safety. Therefore, nurses should be empowered with specialised knowledgeand new technology.
As mentioned in article by Hewa, S. (2014) on the Galle Medical Journal Corwin’s report, one of the Sri Lankan nurses was sent abroad to train as a public health nurse giving scholarship.
As a result, Mrs Jainu Deen, a Sri Lankan public health nurse trained at the University of Toronto under Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, has returned from advanced study on public health in Canada. She made an excellent record. However, she could not serve as Director of the School of Nursing because of the existing administrative structure.
Sri Lanka gained political independence from Britain in February 1948. The Rockefeller Foundation’s nursing program for 1948- 1952 ensured that the Colombo School of Nursing would be able to establish the highest standards in nursing education. Its expectation was that Sri Lanka would have well-trained nursing leaders capable of running the program in the future. As Balfour pointed out, the Foundation’s main purpose was to provide assistance to produce a “small number of well-trained nursing leaders” capable of undertaking the “administrative and teaching” duties of a modern nursing program at Colombo. It was not a part of the Foundation’s agreement with the Colombo government to ensure an adequate supply of nurses. But the government’s officials did not think about the matter on those same lines; instead they tried to train as many nurses as possible to employ in government’s hospitals.
At present, all the Government Schools of Nursing offer a diploma in general nursing. The course duration is three years. During the period of 1950-1954, four Sri Lankan nurses were sent to Delhi to study BSc. Nursing. Post Basic School of Nursing (PBSN) was started in 1960. It was the only institution for higher nursing education in Sri Lanka during the time. It provides the Diploma in Teaching and Supervision for Nursing Tutors and Diploma in Ward Management and Supervision for Ward Sisters. There are other courses too, the nurses can follow to get the special knowledge and skills on the area of practice. Diploma in Public Health Nursing is provided by the National Institute of Health Sciences at Kalutara.
In 1992, Project of Canadian International Development Agency in affiliation with Athabasca University, Alberta Canada discussed to commence a BSc. Nursing Degree for nurses in Sri Lankan registered nurses. In 1994, its commencement has taken place as a Post RN Bsc. Nursing degree through distance mode. In 1998, “Sri Lanka Nurses Council Act. (No. 19 of 1998)” was passed by Parliament. However, the Nursing Council was started in 2011. Keeping a milestone in Sri Lankan nursing education, in 2004, University of Sri Jayewardenepura pioneered commencing a first BSc. Nursing (Hons) Degree in Sri Lanka in a conventional University.
Currently, there is an annual intake for BSC. Nursing (Hons) Degree through the University Grant Commission for several universities around Sri Lanka, while the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine recruits nurses to offer Diploma in Nursing. In 2013, Sir John Kothelawala Defence University started BSc. Nursing (Hons) Degree. In 2017, Sri Lankan Government made a big step by establishing the first Faculty of Nursing in Sri Lanka. This is how the evolution of nursing profession and its education occurred throughout the country. However, still the number of nursing graduates are less compared to the number of nursing professionals practising throughout the country. Meanwhile, private educational institutions/Universities started to offer BSc. Nursing degrees in their institutions to bridge the gap.
Since the health care sector in Sri Lanka consists of public and private sectors, private hospitals also conduct three year nursing training within their own institutions.
With the development of education, now the Sri Lankan nurses know the real meaning of “Health is a human right”. Though it has only three meaningful words, nurses can identify the number of measures that have to be taken to make the theme a reality. Now they should be able to identify that all the knowledge, skills and attitudes among the nursing professionals are to promote, maintain and regain the person’s health.
What is the Graduate Nurses Foundation of Sri Lanka?
The Graduate Nurses Foundation of Sri Lanka (GNFSL) is a non-profitable professional organisation which is a member of the Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) of Sri Lanka. The purpose of the Foundation is to ensure quality service to the public in terms of nursing education, nursing leadership, management and research.
Objectives of the GNFSL are to help the nurses,

  1. To function as professional nurses abiding by the constitutional requisites of the Graduate Nurses Foundation of Sri Lanka
  2. To promote the active participation of the membership for the development of the profession and the welfare of its members
  3. To engage in continuous learning in terms of updating knowledge and skills
  4. To engage in graduate and post graduate studies in order to uplift the professionals
  5. To increase the awareness for nursing research and encourage nurses to engage in research in order to make collaboration with global nursing
  6. To ensure the offer of quality service to the patients in public and private and community institutions in terms of nursing care management.
  7. To make requests for such privileges that other categories of graduates are entitled to in the Government service of Sri Lanka
  8. To promote friendship, goodwill and understanding and thereby a healthy relationship amongst all categories of nurses
  9. To promote a sense of self-esteem and job satisfaction among nurses with the understanding that nursing is a noble and humanitarian service
  10. To function as a voluntary and professional membership independent of Trade Union influence

Any nursing graduate who has registration to practise as a nurse in Sri Lanka can receive the membership of the GNFSL.

How to qualify as a Nurse in Sri Lanka
All the Government Schools of Nursing offer a diploma in general nursing. The course duration is three years. During the first year, students are taught following subjects:

Fundamentals of Nursing
Anatomy and Physiology
Ethics and Professional
History and Trends in Nursing
Community Health
Nutrition (part 1)
Pharmacology and Pharmacology in Nursing
English language.
During the first two months, they are full time in the classroom. During that period, fundamentals of nursing is taught to them and initially they gain practical experiences in the demonstration rooms (skills laboratory).After completion of the first two months, they are assigned to the clinical fields (general, surgical and medical wards) for 2 1/2 hours per day, to adjust to the hospital environment; to interact with the patients and the members of the health care team. Gradually they gain knowledge, skills and develop favourable attitudes which are required for the first year.
At the end of the first year, the students have to appear for theory and practical examinations. There are three main written papers and patient centered practical examination which are conducted in the selected wards. Those who pass the first year examination are eligible to take the Nightingale pledge.
During the second, thirdor/and final year they learn specialised nursing care. Such as:
Medicine and Medical Nursing
Surgery and Surgical Nursing
Maternal and Gynecological nursing
Communication in Nursing
Child Health Nursing
Nutrition (Part II)
Elements of Ward Management
Community health Nursing II
Pharmacology (Part II)
Nursing research

Students are assigned to the special clinical setting, such as intensive care units, operation theatres, orthopedics, eye, ENT, pediatrics, gynecology and obstetrics etc. Gradually they gain advanced nursing skills and gain independence to practice alone.
In the universities, as undergraduates, they learn Trends and Issues in nursing, Teaching and Learning, Research and statistics, Research project, Elective subjects such as, Trauma nursing, Midwifery, Psychiatric nursing, palliative care nursing and elderly care nursing other than the above subjects.
After successful completion of the three year diploma course in nursing or four year BSc. Nursing Degree, they are registered in the Sri Lanka Medical

Council and can append the title of ‘Registered Nurse’ (R.N.) after their names. That affords the licence to practise in any setting which requires management of nursing care. (To be continued next week).

Job opportunities in Sri Lanka and overseas
Nursing is a highly recognised career in Sri Lanka as well as in other countries. Diploma Holders or Graduates of BSc. Nursing Degree have lucrative job opportunities in the UAE, Canada, USA, UK etc. Possession of English Proficiency Test Certificate, such as IELTS is a must for those who wish to apply for foreign Nursing jobs.Contact Graduate Nurses Foundation of Sri Lanka for more details about the future opportunities.
Note : This is a fortnightly publication for the benefit of the students and school leavers. Forward your questions in brief relating to ‘Nursing’ or any Career Guidance related matter to The Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka (OPA) by email – [email protected] within FIVE days.
The professionals belonging to different professions at the OPA will answer your questions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *