International Nursing: The Current Problems


Nursing is a professional field with the goal of establishing and maintaining, as well as improving healthcare environments. It also advocates for conditions of employment that are fit for provision of high quality health care. As a result, individual and collective actions of nurses are vital to achieve this goal. Nursing is not only about nurse-patient relationships, but also the relationship between the nurse practitioners and the other sectors in nation. The current and future role of nursing professionals lies in provision of quality health care coupled with raising leaders to face the ever-changing patient demands like cultural integration in the health care sector.

The role of nurses

The primary role of nurses is to enhance the well-being of patients in hospitals. They do so through a combination of various aspects. They include their scientific and medical knowledge coupled with the caring and compassionate roots of nursing as a profession. Nurses also collaborate with both political and healthcare leaders to single out the health needs of different populations. Once they have identified the populations’ health needs, they engage in some extensive measures to attain sustainable solutions. The leading health organizations in the world have compiled some documents that nurses in initiating and carrying out measures for global change in the field (Hunt, 2009, p.460). These documents include The Millennium Development Goals, Alma-Ata Declaration of Health for all, and the Top Ten Health Interventions of the Disease Control Priorities Project. Nurse leaders, both in the United States and at the international level, have the obligation of changing the flaws in the health sector to ensure that all populations receive the required medical attention. Nurses also play a very important role in enhancing proper quality management since they are an integral part of the care of all hospitalized patients. It is an ethical responsibility of all nursing practitioners to ensure that all patients receive quality care in hospitals. However, due to several challenges that face the nursing professional field, nurses have not been able to deliver their services satisfactorily and the most biting challenge across the world is the shortage of nurses.

Nursing shortage and migration

Nursing shortage not only refers to lack of enough nurses in hospitals, but also the inadequacies of nursing that healthcare systems experience. Nursing shortage can be in the form of lack of nurses to occupy funded jobs. The nurses that are required for a given post may not be willing to take the job or they might not be nurses to take up the jobs. Nursing shortage also encompasses lack of funds to finance some nursing positions that are essential. In cases where both nurses and funds are available, nursing shortage may refer to failure of the nurses to deliver the care that they are supposed to offer to patients. Lack of proper education and empowerment of nurses are the major causes of inadequacy in service delivery of the nurses. The other factor that has contributed to the current nursing shortage is the gap between the actual nature of nursing and the value that people attach to it. Many people, in the US and other parts of the world regard nursing as a menial job that does not have other career options. As a result, many patients have suffered to the point of death. Nations such as the US have opted to import nursing professionals in dealing with the consequences of nursing shortage (Beran, 2010, p. 146). Owing to this, the US, among other nations in the world, has embarked on bringing up well-educated nursing practitioners.

Educational preparation of nurses

Although the scope of nursing education differs from one nation to another, there are institutions that are fundamental in equipping nurses with the knowledge that they need. Students not only learn health care lessons but also leadership skills. Leadership courses offer leadership skills as well as knowledge on interpersonal relationships, which are very essential in this field. Management classes enable the students to understand systems besides teaching the methods on how to implement and make changes on system processes. Through the training processes students develop different communication skills, develop critical thinking, and interaction modalities. They also learn how to access, evaluate, and disseminate information at different levels in the system. In addition, students learn how to challenge current procedures, policies, and environments in moments when such actions are necessary. To ensure that there is no gap between theory and practice, the learning institutions embark on partnerships with the nursing practice arena. The practice sites can be hospitals or any other institution that is of help to the students (Browne & Tarlier, 2008, p.90). The relationships between the learning institution and these sites ensure that by the time the student leaves the institution, he/she is capable of carrying his/her duties as a professional nurse. The scope and the level of education depend on a nation’s regulations. Due to the increase in demand for qualified nursing practitioners, many learning institutions in the US have emphasized on the need for more people to take nursing courses. Consequently, there has been an increasing trend in the recruitment of nursing students in the country. It is an effort of the US government to ensure that there are enough nursing practitioners in the country in the future. As a result, the nation will have sufficient nurses in the future.

The differences of the nurse leader role in international settings

Due to many differences in the nursing profession in different nations, the nurse-leader role has exhibited several differences. One of the differences comes in the definition of the nurse leader role provided by different health care systems across the world. To give a precise definition to this role, some systems argue that the healthcare systems should use the recent focus on the improvement of health care quality. Others argue that, nurses should base this role not only on the health care systems, but also to the leadership of populations in different nations to better their well-being. The major cause of these differences is the diversity of healthcare systems in different nations. The differences between the scope of practice and education level also contribute in the differences of the nurse-leader role in international settings. Despite the differences, a good nurse leader is essential in the development of stable healthcare systems at the international level. However, there has been a common understanding in the role of nurse leaders in the recent past. According to Crigger, Brannigan, & Baird, the nurse leader is supposed to mentor the other nurses in the field (2006, p.25). This requires not only teaching, but also guiding with a great deal of patience; he/she should apply this in tackling the healthcare challenges and communicating with nurses at the international level

Requirements for supporting cultural diversity in the workforce

Good nurse leadership is important to ensure cultural diversity in the workforce. A nurse leader should have a very high level of the goals of the nursing field as well as the healthcare systems. Achievement of these goals is a demonstration of the leader’s ability to succeed in many other aspects. Nurse leaders must have a sense of not only self-worth, but also self-respect. They should value their work. Healthcare systems face endless challenges and this call for a leader who is highly motivated to respond to the challenges adequately. It will enable the nurse leader to go beyond the existing boundaries in the dynamic health care environment. Nurse leaders should also embrace respect for truth (Barbara, 2005, p.112). It is the key to not only trust, but also integrity, which includes fair treatment of nurses. A nurse leader should be passionate about his/her responsibilities. Nurse leadership should embrace positive handling of interactions at not only the professional level, but also at the organizations administration and patient level. A good nurse leader should have concrete knowledge and understanding of all the aspects of the nursing industry.

Different institutions in the nursing industry offer different systems of education to their nurse students, which lead to diversified knowledge of students and nursing practitioners around the globe. This calls for a system to universal nurse knowledge requirements to ease the work of the nurse leaders.


The healthcare system in the United States and other nations is lacking enough nurses. This has led to the nursing inadequacy in most hospitals, which has made the US to seek for international assistance in curbing the problem. To prevent the problem in the future, the society should embark on improving the social status of nurses in the society as well as training more nursing practitioners. With the implementation of these two measures, the world will have sufficient nursing services. With enough nurses and leader-nurses, the future role of providing quality health care services will be realizable despite the challenges facing the sector contemporarily.

Reference List

Barbara, J. (2005). Leadership for the Future. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 29(2), 111-112.

Beran, H. (2010). How can we Build Skills to transform the healthcare System? Journal of Research in Nursing, 15(2), 139-148.

Browne, A., & Tarlier, S. (2008). Examining the Potential of Nurse Practitioners from a Critical Social Justice Perspective. Nursing Inquiry, 15(2), 88-93.

Crigger, N., Brannigan, M., & Baird, M. (2006). Compassionate Nursing Professionals As Good Citizens in the World. Advances in Nursing Science, 29(1), 15-26.

Hunt, R. (2009). Introduction to Community Based Nursing. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven.

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