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Nursing is an extremely well-respected and highly-rewarding profession. Nurses work throughout the country providing fundamental healthcare in a wide variety of settings, such as schools, universities, hospitals, private healthcare practices, the Armed Forces, dental practices, special healthcare facilities and in the homes of patients.
The role of nursing is changing and evolving as nurses are assuming larger amounts of responsibility, and new positions in management and partnership alongside doctors are opening up everywhere for nurses with special skills and widespread experience. Many nurses now divide their working time between hands-on, physical care and administration.
The work of a nurse is often diverse, and many will specialise in a certain area, such as midwifery or mental healthcare. After becoming a registered nurse (RN), graduates have a broad choice of areas in which they can specialise with further training. As a profession in demand, qualified nurses can also find opportunities to live and work abroad.
As with all healthcare jobs, the role of a nurse involves an enormous amount of responsibility and demands a balance of compassion and professionalism at all times. Medical and healthcare professionals need to work by a strict code of ethics, the fundamental values which apply are: do no harm; act in the best interests of the patient; allow the patient to accept or reject treatment; always treat the patient with dignity; keep the patient informed in order that they can evaluate treatment and make decisions for themselves; remain truthful, entirely discreet and fair.
There are currently over 300,000 nurses working in all areas of the profession in both the public and private sectors.