Globalization has transformed the world in different ways, so that corporate policies and national governmental policies are shaping capital flows through supranational decision-making process. Different communities and their environment are rapidly changing because of large-scale flows of epidemic diseases, resource use, toxic waste, labor and information spread. The consequences that arose because of supranational policy have in certain instances been severe while affecting health, security, and the environment. Nursing is an area of the health care system that has been affected differently by globalization.
Globalization has affected the task of public health system all over the world, so that every nation has an opportunity to improve the health status of their population and eliminate the health gaps that exist between social subgroups. Some of the countries that have the largest health and wealth gaps include countries in South America and Africa, while those with narrow wealth and health gaps are situated in Scandinavian and Northern European regions. The wealth disparities directly affect living conditions that include healthcare status and access. Therefore, with globalization trends, the task of healthcare system is to ensure that people are healthy regardless of the class or place that they occupy in society. In this role, nursing has a major part to play.
Globalization has given nurses a challenge to offer a leadership role based on their traditions and potential. This role has been reflected in the IOM Future of Nursing report recommendations. Traditionally, nurses have offered an important contribution as some healthcare practitioners are unable to provide for child and maternal healthcare. In the globalized world, nurses have more to offer in a collaborative environment especially with an increase of healthcare challenges where their leadership has become of much necessity (Blythe & Baumann, 2008).
Globalization has affected nursing education making it more accessible and meaningful
There are international differences in nursing education but globalization has provided mechanisms that allow nurses to travel and access education around the world. In certain countries, deliberate policies have been developed to provide educating nurses for those who need them. In developed countries, for instance, highly educated nurses migrate to other countries to work as expatriates when opportunity arises. Some nurses seek citizenry in countries that have nursing opportunities. For instance, the United States of America benefits from this process through its Green Card program. The US has also helped nurses to seek migration through the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) (Brush & Solchalski, 2007).
Globalization has also presented challenges with respect to nurse migration; consequently, maintenance of nursing educational and practice standards has become a serious challenge. Some nurses have had to seek re-training to fit into the regulations and standards required in countries where they seek employment. More challenging has been the fact that there is no international body responsible for monitoring educational and practice standards throughout the world.
With the changing healthcare systems and due to the influence of globalization, nurses are forced to offer their services in new positions such as managerial ones. Today, nurses are less enclosed in large healthcare institutions because hospitals are reducing in-patient beds and delivery systems are being transferred to smaller facilities such as HMOs, clinics, in-home services, and rehabilitation facilities. As such, nurses are likely to work as managers with certain discretionary positions. This means that nurses have to address some major issues that require making decisions that influence the health aspects in relation to communities. This presents nurses with a challenge to acquire more skills, strategies, and knowledge to perform advanced collaborative policies and organizational output responsibilities. Thus, nurses have to undertake policy education to promote health-supporting policies to improve the health conditions of the populations.
It is important for health care institutions to reorganize their delivery systems to provide room for change and innovations that will accommodate the ever-changing world environments and global health care needs. This means that nursing requirements must be changed to cater for issues such as nurse education, information flows and standardization issues. Therefore, nurses must respond to the needs of globalization including the need to acquire multi-faceted education, responding to the needs of managerial aspect of education, fitting into new roles and aspects of nursing. All this require nurses to be up to date with information and seek education that can address the needs of a changing health care system. All these are issues that nurses have to deal with and respond to all aspects of globalization.
It is imperative to mention that the role of nurses in the global health should not be underestimated
Nurses can be regarded as a base of the health delivery system because they support all the sectors of the healthcare system where patients are involved. Even though nursing is based on issues of medicine, nurses have a role to play in different aspects of health care such as health advisory needs. This is of special importance when it comes to discussing global health, because many developing countries have a few skilled healthcare professionals. Therefore, some populations cannot live without healthcare personnel that will provide for their health needs.
The role of nurses in the global health is not limited to the healthcare delivery only
Their roles have increased to include the provision of educators who not only deal with treating and preventing diseases, but also share their nursing experience with the public. Moreover, nurses have to ensure that the public understands the role of ensuring that meeting healthcare needs is not just the responsibility of the health care practitioners, but also the accountability of the public. Moreover, nurses have a role to reduce and eliminate disparities by ensuring that health care information is provided to all “so that better health is achieved for all people” (Crigger, 2008). In this way, nurses perform an integrated role and their primary concern is to improve the public access to healthcare system throughout the world by harmonizing nursing practices throughout the world (Crigger, 2008).
Globalization has made it certain that modern global health care system efficiency is uncertain because of a chronic shortage of qualified nursing staff. As such, many healthcare institutions are struggling to provide patients with high quality health care services. This means that globalization influences some problems that health care system faces and puts nurses at the center of it. This means that nurses have a new role to play by identifying the problems that exist within their sphere of influence and act in the forefront to provide solutions for these problems. Globalization has provided nurses with an opportunity to work as problem solvers in the health care system while not being passive players but active ones who identify problems, find solutions, and act according to these solutions to ensure that the healthcare system performs better than it did in the past (Grootjans & Newman, 2012).
In conclusion, globalization has provided an opportunity and a challenge for nurses to improve global healthcare through diversity, education, and leadership. Nurses play a vital role in the global healthcare system by enabling people to access healthcare system and raising their awareness about prevention and treatment of diseases. Furthermore, global migration of nurses can contribute to the elimination of cultural borders between different countries and parts of the world. However, for nurses to make a substantial contribution to the health care industry, they must seek meaningful education and training that integrates global health aspects, teaches leadership and seeks to address global health challenges.
- Blythe, J., & Baumann, A. (2008). Health human resource series 9. Supply of internationally; educated nurses in Ontario: Recent developments and future scenarios. Hamilton: Nursing Health Services Research Unit, McMaster University.
- Brush, V. L., & Solchalski, J. (2007). International nurse migration: Lessons from the Philippines. Policy, Politics and Nursing Practice, 8(1), 47-46.
- Crigger, N. (2008). Towards a viable and just global nursing ethics. Nursing Ethics, 15(1), 17-27.
- Grootjans, J., & Newman, S. (2012). The relevance of globalization to nursing: A concept analysis. International Nursing Review 60.