The main attraction: hefty salaries
Students of Nursing are keen on making it good in the U.S. as the pay is hefty and working atmosphere, excellent.
INITIALLY IT was doctors, engineers, barristers and IT professionals who could fulfill their dreams of going abroad. But today, the widest opportunities are open for nurses too.
Feba Annie Sam
Smartnurse.net is one of the agencies that provide a platform for nurses in India to sit for the CGFNS exam, helping them to qualify for their highly cherished job abroad. Talking to some of the students in Bangalore was an educating experience.
Libi Sam, a B.Sc. graduate from Florence College, said, "I have joined Smartnurse.net because it offers a four-month course which is shorter than any other course duration in the nursing field and within six to eight months the placement is provided if I get through the exam."
Libi added that, "I want to go to the U.S. not just for money but also because the scope is much higher there. The atmosphere there is different and moreover, practically speaking, the salaries are the best attraction there."
Feba Annie Sam, a staff nurse working for the Jain Hospital since the last two years, is a student at Smartnurse.net as well. She joined the institute only two days ago and is happy for having passed the screening test successfully.
Viji George, who has completed her B.Sc. Nursing from M.S. Ramaiah College, could not get through the exams because she had joined the institute late and had missed out on most of the coaching. "I will keep trying till I succeed," she adds confidently.
Sagaya Mary, a trained nurse with 11 years of experience, presently working at St. Martha's Hospital, is also a student at the institute. She now feels the need to go abroad.
"Looking at the present situation, no other profession makes going abroad so easy and of course my experience will be an added advantage," she says.
Vijayalakshmi Satish and Neethi Mani join in the conversation a little later. Both have completed their M.Sc. from St. John's College. Vijayalakshmi has a nursing experience of 10 years.
What would they do if they could not qualify in the first examination? Vijayalakshmi answers: "We are confident of ourselves and such a situation will never come." The others nod in agreement.
Why nursing as a profession? Sagaya Mary has her reply ready: "My mother wanted me to be a nurse to help others. I feel this is one of the best ways to serve people and care for them. I have joined this institute, since my sister studied here as well. She too has inspired me a lot."
Feba Annie Sam adds: "This is the most noble job according to me." Libi Sam smilingly agrees.
They all accept the fact that caring that is the most essential fragment in nursing which is universal. This is why they are proud to be in this profession.
When the students are asked why they wanted a job abroad, the response is mixed. Libi says: "Money is a big attraction in America and more than that, the working environment is a very big factor. A good working atmosphere is a vital element which we really crave for in India and is in abundance abroad."
Sagaya Mary quickly adds that, "Nurses get a very good response from the patients there and as far as I know, today, nursing is one of the most noble professions and it also has a lot of scope for going abroad. I don't want to miss this golden opportunity and will surely give it my best."
Asked why they are focussing only on the U.S. hospitals, Vijayalakshmi says: "It is necessary to pass this exam only if one wants to go to the U.S. For the Gulf countries, we need not take any exam. We can go there any time, because we are already qualified enough, but we prefer the U.S. because they pay really high with suitable perks which we will not find anywhere else."
Sagaya Mary adds, "Whoever has gone there is happily settled and has never complained. And the kind of techniques we are taught here are really useful. The training we get here is absolutely amazing." Viji George proudly accepts the Green Card factor too. She says, "It is very easy to get visa and one can settle in the U.S. without much of a hassle, where as in other countries it is not that easy."
Besides being enthusiastic, the students are willing to devote time and hard work to finally catch a flight to the land of their dreams. "We were aware of the fact that the CGFNS exam is not a piece of cake and that it requires hours of hard work and dedication to succeed. Still, we have taken up the challenge and are confident of getting through all the assessments. We will go to the U.S."
Ask the students about Motherland India and hear them list out reasons galore to look for greener pastures abroad.
Says Neethi Mani: "The pay is very less in comparison to the U.S. The salaries in some of the State Government hospitals are still better but they too pay far less compared to the U.S."
Sagaya Mary adds: "The facilities in India need to be improved a lot. Only then will people stop hunting for jobs abroad."
Libi Sam is apparently disappointed about the training opportunities that many nursing students are deprived of.
"Many colleges do not have a hospital of their own, which is why many of us do not get any hands-on experience. After graduating, it becomes very tough to get a job because most hospitals appoint only those candidates having a minimum of two years of experience. My question is, if we are not given a chance, from where can the experience be gained?"
Nodding in agreement, Vijayalakshmi says: "Only the colleges with their own hospitals can create the best nurses and the best future in the medical field. Students need to be trained with practical, hands-on experience."
On the scope of nursing for males, the students say with a smile that the Indian culture does not really appreciate the concept of a male nurse.
The reason: female patients are not comfortable. "Female patients cannot share any feelings; neither can they talk about their complaints," says Sagaya Mary.
In Andhra Pradesh, there is even a law passed by the Government, which prohibits male nurses. This is the reason why any male wanting to pursue nursing is compelled to do it outside that State. Neethi Mani adds, "In the U.S., both males and females enjoy an equal status. No doubt everyone wants to head there."
The students are geared to give their best to clear the hurdles before a final placement in an American hospital. They know it requires plenty of time and commitment. Some of them, who are married, are prepared to squeeze in the few hours required at the institute between their maddening rush between home and hospital.
Once placed in a good hospital, they know they can take their families with them and look for a better life.
(Photos: V. Sreenivasa Murthy)
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