What does the future of nursing look like?

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What does the future of nursing look like?

To be attributed to Dr Suzanne Robertson-Malt, Associate Professor – Health, School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Health

As per the World Health Organization, approximately 27 million men and women make up the global nursing and midwifery workforce. This accounts for nearly 50% of the global health workforce. Of the 43.5 million healthcare workers in the world today, it is estimated that 20.7 million are nurses and midwives. At a time when the future of careers seems uncertain, especially with artificial intelligence (AI) rapidly replacing jobs, the future of nursing will remain undeterred.

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a reminder of the important role that healthcare professionals play in maintaining the wellbeing of a community. However, the World Health Organization has reported a global shortage of health workers, in particular nurses and midwives, with the largest needs-based shortages of nurses and midwives stemming from South East Asia and Africa.

The world needs an additional nine million nurses and midwives in order to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 of ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all. The UN High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth has indicated that investments in education and job creation in the health and social sectors result in a triple return of improved health outcomes, global health security, and inclusive economic growth.

A strong nursing workforce is crucial to achieve safe, secure, economically successful and equitable societies. It is important to consider that nurses and midwives are central to primary health care requirements as well as in improving health outcomes globally.

One of the exciting facts about choosing healthcare – and in specific, nursing – as a profession is the huge variety of career pathways that open up for you once you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree. Nurses are not locked into one career pathway. At anytime, a nurse can choose to switch specialties and functions, from Critical Care – Adults to Critical Care Pediatrics or from Informatics to Clinical Education.

Nursing as a career is receiving significant interest owing to its diverse nature, job security and impact on society.

The UAE has identified healthcare as a priority sector and career path which will drive the next decade of growth and is advancing efforts in delivering health services through innovative hi-tech solutions.

To this end, the UAE has transformed its hiring approach and offers several incentives to foreign nurses including free accommodation or housing allowance; feturn flight tickets; tax-free income; food allowance; medical insurance and education allowance; transportation; gratuity at the end of the term, and more.

The UAE Nursing and Midwifery Council was established to regulate the nursing and midwifery professions, promote and advance nursing and midwifery services and protect and promote the health and safety of the public based on the highest standards.

These are initial positive signs that point towards significant developments and growth in the field. The council, which comprises members from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Ministry of Education, Nursing Colleges and Institutes in the UAE, Health Authority of Abu Dhabi, SEHA, Dubai Health Authority, Ministry of Interior – Health Services,  Armed Forces Medical  Services Corps, Dubai Healthcare City Authority, Emirates Nursing Association, Emirates Medical Association, and the private healthcare sector, addresses education, research and Emiratisation in nursing and midwifery.

The onus is on enthusiastic young students to reorient their priorities to align with the ever-increasing demands of the world’s labour market in selecting a career that can truly make a difference.