Last year when the world was struggling to grapple with the devastating impact of coronavirus, doctors and nurses emerged as our true saviors. Throughout the year (and counting still) nurses, along with medical experts continued to deliver round-the-clock care to patients.
Their exhausted and bruised faces, tired eyes, and fatigued bodies from wearing masks and protective gear all through their shifts were trending on social media, showing us how challenging the medical profession can be – while doctors cure patients, nurses care for them.
However, that’s just an ongoing issue that merely highlighted the position nurses hold in society. Nurses have been playing a crucial role in delivering care and treatment to people in need since time immemorial. They’re a pivotal part of the local community as they help shape and deliver result-oriented healthcare advice and treatment to the community members.
This is why nurses are always in high demand. Presently, nursing constitutes the largest occupational group in the healthcare industry, with nearly 59% of medical professionals working as nurses. As of 2020, India has around 3.07 million registered nursing professionals.
According to the latest stats, by 2025, the global healthcare staff market is projected to grow from USD 28,545.73 million (in 2020) to USD 38,879.13 million at a CAGR of 6.37%. The graph below highlights the estimated employment growth for different nursing profiles from 2018-2028:
These stats depict that nursing is a booming field in the healthcare industry and with time, the demand for nurses will increase manifold.
Nursing Responsibilities: What do Nurses Do?
Nurses bear the responsibility of delivering quality healthcare services to all people alike, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, religious background, and socio-political inclinations. They aim to provide holistic care to all patients, catering to their physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual, and social needs. Nurses work alongside doctors, physicians, therapists, dieticians, etc., to develop care and treatment plans for patients. Their primary focus is to treat illnesses effectively to improve the quality of life of all individuals.
The nursing code and standard varies from country to country. However, all nurses worldwide follow four core principles and ethics of nursing practice:
- To always prioritize the well-being and care delivery of patients.
- To provide quality care and treatment at all times.
- To cooperate and coordinate with other medical experts for ensuring the speedy recovery and well-being of all patients.
- To always act with integrity and uphold the dignity of the nursing profession.
Typically, nurses differ from doctors and other specialist healthcare experts in their training, approach to patient care, and scope of practice. While most nurses offer generic care services, many others specialize in specific areas like palliative care, perioperative nursing, cardiac nursing, orthopedic nursing, obstetrical nursing, oncology nursing, nursing informatics, and telenursing, to name a few. Also, nurses practice with varying degrees of prescription authority and autonomy in care delivery.
Where Do Nurses Work?
Nurses practice and work in a wide range of healthcare settings, including schools and universities, hospitals, private nursing homes, old age homes, rehabilitation centers, physicians’ offices, diagnostic clinics, relief/medical camps, railway hospitals, and national defense bases (military/army/airforce/navy). They often work in shifts (day/night shifts).
Nurses may also act as expert advisors to health insurance companies and also offer advocacy to attorneys (reviewing patient records, testifying in court, etc.). Some nurses may also find employment opportunities in research institutions & laboratories and pharmaceutical companies.
Nursing Salary in India
According to Payscale, a Registered Nurse (RN) in India earns an average annual salary of ₹298,781 LPA.
A Registered Nurse (RN) having less than 1-year experience usually begins their career with a starting salary of ₹233,151 LPA, including bonuses and overtime pay. After gaining around 4 years of experience, Registered Nurses can earn a total compensation of ₹249,994 LPA. In their mid-career (5-9 years of experience), nurses make around ₹393,132 LPA. Experienced nurses having more than 15 years of industry experience earn ₹496,269 LPA.
Thus, like any other profession, nursing salary packages also increase with increasing experience. The more industry experience you gain, the more skilled nurse you become. However, it should be noted that there’s a significant difference between the grade pay of nurses in government and private hospitals – usually, government hospitals pay a higher salary package than private hospitals/nursing homes.
Here’s a table showing the salary package of different nursing professionals in India:
|Salary (per month)
|Staff Nurse (GNM)
|Nursing Professor (Teaching)
|Asst. Nursing Superintendent
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?
As a profession, nursing is a very meaningful career choice for individuals who wish to help people and make a difference. A nursing career comes with numerous opportunities, challenges, and rewards. Here are X reasons why you should consider taking up nursing as your profession:
1. You Get to Help People in Need
As a nurse, you will save lives every day. You will monitor patients’ health conditions and administer the right treatment and care to them while also offering emotional support to their families. You will also promote public health and educate people on how to take charge of their health and well-being. Most importantly, you will get plenty of chances to positively impact the lives of people from all walks of life.
2. Nursing Jobs are in Demand
With the world population, aged population, and demand for quality healthcare rising steeply, nurses will always continue to be in high demand. Also, the healthcare industry is rapidly expanding, creating more and more job opportunities for nursing professionals. Since their services are an indispensable part of our society, the nursing profession is here to stay.
3. There’s Plenty of Room to Grow
As we mentioned earlier, nurses can choose from a wide range of specialization tracks and job profiles. The career pathways are diverse. With experience, you will progress from becoming an n Enrolled Nurse to a Registered Nurse or a Nurse Practitioner and then finally to a Nurse Manager/Director. Plus, you will learn and acquire skills like primary care, basic infection control, basic medical asepsis, surgical asepsis, standard precautions, record-keeping, etc.
4. You will Gain Job Satisfaction While Earning a Decent Package
As per the AMN Healthcare’s 2017 survey, 83% of nurses are satisfied with their nursing career. After all, it’s a wonderful feeling when you can help someone get better and give them a better quality of life. Nurses are not only respected by the community as a whole but they are also paid decent salary packages for their services, as we discussed before.
5. You Can Pursue Nursing Education Online
Today, many reputed private institutes offer online nursing programs with valid certifications. These programs have a well-structured curriculum along with a good scope of practical assignments to help nursing students gain real-world skills and knowledge. The greatest advantage of taking up online nursing courses is that you incur much lesser course fees and you get to learn from the comfort of your own home while managing your personal commitments.
Factors Affecting Nursing Salary in India
The nurse salary in India is impacted by a large number of factors. You will notice a difference in the salary of a nurse according to the following:
- Experience: Like any other professional field, the career of nursing also begins to present better opportunities with experience. With adequate experience in nursing, you will develop the skills to handle more critical patients. So, you will begin to earn a lot more than the nursing starting salary after spending a few years in the field.
- Location: The nurse salary in India also varies according to the location of your work. You have a chance of earning a high amount when you are working in a metropolitan area. Nurses who work in small towns will earn less, and those in rural areas will earn even less.
- Type of Employer: The salary of nurses in India will also vary according to the type of employer. For instance, even the fresher nurse salary in India at a government hospital will be a lot higher than that in private hospitals.
- Specialization: The nursing course salary per month often depends on the area of specialization. For instance, nursing professionals working in critical care units or oncology departments have a chance of earning higher salaries.
- Designation: Once you get appointed as a head nurse or nursing supervisor, your salary will automatically increase. You will no longer continue to earn the nurse starting salary when you rise up to a higher position.
- Education: The salary of a nurse also depends on their level of education and training. Any nurse with a diploma in nursing will not be earning as much as a professional with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Any nurse with a PhD will be earning even more because of their in-depth training and expertise. The PhD nursing salary in India can go as high as Rs 8 lakhs per year.
Benefits Included Within the Nursing Salary Package
Apart from the base salary, the nursing package will include additional perks like the following:
- Housing Allowance: This part of a nurse salary is meant to help these professionals find housing in major cities.
- Transportation Allowance: The salary of nurse often includes a transportation allowance to help them commute to and from work.
- Medical Insurance: Nurses get insurance to bear the medical expenses of themselves as well as their families.
Types of Nurses and Salaries in India
You will be able to pursue different types of nursing programs in India and earn different salaries. So, explore the types of nurses and salaries available in India:
A GNM (General Nursing & Midwifery) course is perfect for learning the fundamentals of nursing. This program focuses on first aid, general biology, human anatomy, and human physiology. This type of nursing program also teaches nurses to provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and even after delivery. The average GNM nursing salary per month in India is Rs 18,396.
Registered nurses in India are responsible for preparing treatment plans for patients with different illnesses, injuries, or conditions. If you choose to work as a registered nurse, you might be made to work in any department of a hospital. Usually, an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing is essential for pursuing this role. Hospitals, nursing homes, as well as private clinics appoint registered nurses. The annual registered nurse salary in India is around Rs 3.8 lakhs.
A pediatric nurse always deals with children and their medical conditions in different healthcare settings. They have to treat minor injuries and look at the overall health of kids. Pediatric nurses also have the responsibility of administering vaccines. Usually, you will need an associate degree to become a pediatric nurse. A pediatric nurse’s salary in the country can be around Rs 1.5 lakhs per year.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse
Premature or unwell newborn children are cared for by NICU nurses. NICU nurses keep track of newborns and their varying medical problems. NICU nurses are also a point of contact for parents whose newborns are in their care. Licensed nurses with a BSc degree in nursing work as NICU nurses and candidates must be certified in newborn resuscitation or neonatal intensive care nursing.
Emergency Room Nurse
Emergency room nurses provide care to a wide range of patients who come to their hospital’s emergency department. Some deal with severe and life-threatening conditions, while others deal with non-life-threatening injuries and disease care. A valid license and an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing are required for emergency room nurses.
Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified nursing assistants assist patients with dressing, eating, taking their meds, and getting around. CNAs frequently check on their patient’s vital signs, help them exercise, and let other medical staff members know how they are doing. A high school degree, a post-secondary certificate, and a CNA certification are prerequisites for this position. The average nursing assistant salary in India is around Rs 2.8 lakhs annually.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
LPNs work with patients in a variety of roles, including administering injections and medicines. These professionals work under the supervision of a registered nurse manager. A practical nursing diploma is necessary for LPNs. These nurses are able to work in long-term care facilities, family practices, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Nurse Manager or Supervisor
The role of a nurse supervisor or manager can be considered one of the most respectable and highest paying nursing jobs. Apart from taking care of patients, these nurses are responsible for allocating work to junior nurses and scheduling meetings. A bachelor’s or diploma degree in nursing and a valid license of a registered nurse are essential for becoming a nurse supervisor or manager.
Operating Room Nurse
Hospitals employ operating room nurses to provide pre-, during, and post-operative care for patients. OR nurses also facilitate smooth communication between the patient’s family and the surgical team. They also go by the names of scrub nurses or perioperative nurses. An RN license and an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing are prerequisites for OR nurses. It is one of the highest paying nursing jobs in India, with scrub nurses earning an average annual income of Rs 5.7 lakhs.
While talking about the types of nurses and salaries in India, it is crucial to mention the role of school nurses. These professionals are responsible for taking care of kids who fall ill or get injured at school. The pay scale of school nurses might not be as high as other nursing roles. However, school nurses have the added benefit of yearly time-offs during summer and winter vacations.
Home Health Nurse
Home health nurses are often made to provide care to patients in their homes. Usually, they come to the aid of terminally ill or old people. Families also hire home nurses for people with mobility issues. Usually, a home nurse needs a diploma in nursing or a bachelor’s degree.
Patient care is also an important responsibility of charge nurses. But they are known to offer a vast amount of administrative services. Charge nurses often need to focus on managing and scheduling nurses across all departments of a hospital. While a bachelor’s degree is enough, a master’s degree gives an edge to the employability of charge nurses. Depending on the specific duties of a charge nurse, these professionals might not be seeing too many patients face-to-face.
Labor and Delivery Nurse
Pursuing a GNM degree equips nurses with some skills related to handling mothers in labor and delivery. But you can also obtain specialized nursing training in labor and delivery. A labor and delivery nurse will be exclusively responsible for helping with the birth of a new baby. They are trained to offer adequate support to expectant mothers before as well as after delivery. These nursing professionals specialize in operations, aftercare, and support of different labor and delivery practices.
Dialysis nurses provide care for patients who are suffering from kidney failure. They also offer support to patients who are waiting for new kidneys and advice on leading healthy lifestyles. An RN license and a BSc in nursing are often prerequisites for dialysis nurses.
Patients receiving radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging procedures are attended to by radiology nurses. They accomplish this by getting them ready for different scans, MRIs, and other tests that are carried out by radiological technologists under the supervision of doctors. Most radiology nurses hold a CRN certification in addition to a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The salary of nurse working in the radiology department can be around Rs 5,91,836 per year.
Oncology nurses provide care to cancer patients of all stages. Oncology nurses monitor patients’ ongoing progress in addition to giving medication. Throughout their diagnosis and treatment of cancer, oncology nurses strive to show their patients and families a great deal of empathy. While the exact requirements for this role may differ, they typically call for at least a nursing associate’s or bachelor’s degree as well as prior nursing experience.
Juggling Emotional Resilience and Patient Care in Nursing
Maintaining emotional equilibrium while delivering patient care is an essential yet challenging aspect of nursing. Navigating the delicate balance between emotional well-being and providing optimal care requires attention and strategic coping strategies.
- Nursing’s Emotional Terrain: Nurses frequently encounter patients in distress, leading to emotional challenges like compassion fatigue, burnout, and grief from witnessing suffering and loss.
- Embracing Resilience: Prioritizing self-care is paramount. Engaging in activities like exercise, hobbies, and mindfulness practices can alleviate stress and build emotional resilience.
- Peer Support: Creating a support network with fellow nurses fosters a safe space for sharing experiences and seeking guidance, helping manage emotional strains.
- Setting Boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life prevents emotional exhaustion while maintaining empathy for patients.
- Impact on Patient Care: Emotional well-being directly influences patient care quality. Resilient nurses connect with patients more effectively, make sound decisions, and prevent burnout.
- Guiding Patient Outcomes: Emotional balance enhances empathy, improving patient trust and communication. Nurturing resilience equips nurses to navigate emotionally charged situations and provide effective care.
By acknowledging and addressing the emotional facets of nursing, professionals can not only ensure their well-being but also elevate patient care quality, creating a harmonious cycle of support and healing.