Nursing is a necessary profession for humans from birth to death. Through nursing, diseases can be prevented, people can recover from poor health, and good health can be enhanced. Therefore, the Department of Nursing educates nurses who promote quality healthcare towards individuals, families, groups, and communities based on the acquisition of scientific knowledge and expertise. This article would like to introduce features of nursing and the Department of Nursing at Inha University.
What is Nursing?
The origin of the word ‘nursing’ was derived from the Latin word ‘nutrix’ meaning nurture. Briefly, nursing provides care services to people to maintain optimal health conditions. And it provides caring activities toward patients who suffer from diseases. The practice of nursing has existed from the dawn of humans and has developed and changed throughout human history. Being a nurse is not only nurturing and caring for patients but also supporting socially disadvantaged classes such as the disabled, multicultural families, and immigrants. Moreover, nurses, protect children and seniors in vulnerable social groups.
In the Middle Ages, due to religious governance, nurseries served to provide care to patients on behalf of God’s will, based on the philanthropic spirit of Christianity. Nursing services used to be provided by nuns and monks in monasteries. Later Roman noble ladies continued to relieve the poor in terms of community service. Afterward, the Reformation caused a decline in the value of nursing as one of the main businesses of Roman Catholics.
However, Florence Nightingale led the ‘nursing revolution’ to reawaken the fact that nursing is indispensable for human society. According to Nightingale’s spirit, nurses are responsible for helping patients get access to the environment that enables them to use their natural healing abilities when they are in overwhelming situations that they cannot manage.
These days, nurses serve as ‘helping behavior’ practitioners who provide all resources, information, knowledge, and energy that patients need to maintain dignity as human beings based on traditional caring concepts. Professional modern nursing initiated in the United States, it has been developed as advanced professional study through academic and practical education. Currently, the university provides four-year undergraduate programs to train nursing professionals.
Department of Nursing
The Department of Nursing was established in 1993 to nurture professional nurses, for work in various healthcare institutions, with clinical skills in disease prevention, recovery, and rehabilitation from illness. Through this training, nurses establish therapeutic relationships with community residents, helping to maintain and enhance optimal health conditions. The logo of the nursing department symbolizes ‘benevolence’ oriented education and ‘G-HeLP (Global Health Leadership Pioneers)’, meaning that ‘Benevolent nursing moves towards the world’.
The Department of Nursing contains undergraduate and graduate schools under the College of Medicine. Research Centers are affiliated with the Department of Nursing. These centers were established to educate students and allow them to practice social services, apply nursing theories, and conduct research. These centers are Inha Addiction Research Institute, and Korea Center on Gambling Problems, Incheon Center. The Inha Addiction Research Institute fosters recovery of those who suffer from all addiction problems and their families, based on a humanitarian and loving spirit. In addition, the institute helps to improve the quality of life by maintaining a healthy social order and restoring the addicts’ conscience as citizens. To be specific, the institute helps prevent addiction and provides treatment and rehabilitation projects for addicts. Furthermore, it trains addiction specialists, mental health managers, and nursing students.
The Department of Nursing operates INSTAR Center, an Inha Nursing Simulation Center on campus. The INSTAR Center provides an environment similar to real-life situations of medical institutions such as those that provide adult, pediatric, and maternity nursing services. The center allows nursing students to practice nursing skills that are dangerous or impossible to apply to actual patients in clinical practice. For this, repetitive practices and feedback-based training are implemented, as well as training for the achievement of proficient skills and abilities to handle many situations. Each simulator lab in the center has patient mannequins, including adult simulators, delivery simulators, and child simulators. Also, it is well equipped with electric beds, oxygen suppliers, and emergency carts.
Curriculum of the department of nursing
During the first two years, nursing students take Introduction to Nursing Science and basic nursing courses which cover Anatomy, Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Microbiology. The Freshman year is similar to other courses, mostly focusing on liberal arts courses, but starting from the sophomore year the lab-based training is conducted in labs and the INSTAR Center. Labs are mainly about acquiring practical knowledge and nursing skills such as intravenous injections (IV), endotracheal suction. The lab work includes feedback from professors. As an example, endotracheal suction is a nursing skill that removes sputum or other secretions from the airway of patients who cannot expectorate by themselves. This is practiced frequently during real training in medical centers, so nursing students can experience it in advance.
After completion of the two-year course, the department celebrates with the Nightingale Oath Ceremony with nursing students wearing white gowns and holding candles. From junior to senior years, students take more intensive courses, focusing on adults, children, maternity, geriatrics, and psychology fields. The nursing department has a unique curriculum called a ‘block system’, which divides curriculum into in-class courses and on-site practice in health-related institutes. During in-class courses, half of the students take classes at the university, while the other half is developing clinical skills in Inha University Hospital as interns.
Since the Inha University Hospital is the main institute, students can take advantage of it because the hospital is located near the university, which enables convenient commuting. Moreover, it reduces employment stress. The main task of an intern in the hospital is observation. During observation, interns follow assigned nurse teachers and observe what nurses do. Next, vital sign measurement is frequently performed by interns, measuring the patient’s body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiratory rate.
Other than that, interns can put medicine into a syringe, and inject intravenous fluids under a nurse’s supervision. After the on-site practice, interns submit case study assignments, study everything about illnesses and the nursing skills that they have been trained in. Likewise, the four years of studying theories and practical training lead nursing students to become professional nurses, nurtured from Inha University.
Interview with a Professor from Nursing
Introducing professor Eunjin Lee, from the Inha University Department of Nursing who is currently running the Korea Center on Gambling Problems, Incheon Center.
The Inha Times (IT): Please introduce the Korea Center on Gambling Problems, Incheon Center.
Professor Lee: The Incheon Center opened in 2015 and was led by Lee, and was commissioned by Inha University. The center consists of nurses, psychologists, and social welfare workers. Mainly focusing on preventive education programs, provided to all age groups from kindergarten to adults. Teenagers are given gambling addiction-related education at schools, however, it is difficult to educate adults due to their jobs and lack of time. Therefore, the goal of the center is to complete prevention education related to gambling addiction, focusing on all teenagers in the Incheon area. Besides, the center runs programs including rehabilitative treatment for gambling addicts and their families. ‘Therapy Community’ is a program run for groups of addicts, by professionals who gather for 3~5 hours twice a week to share the pain that they experienced due to gambling. People can help each other through empathy and consolation, and understand personal problems. Also, they can rebuild their values through a philosophy of life, and learn how to cope with recurrence.
IT: Please introduce a memorable patient who visited the center.
Professor Lee: The most memorable patient is a gambling addict who visited at the beginning of opening the center. He diligently attended the ‘Therapy Community’ and twelve rounds of personal counseling. After that, he studied addiction rehabilitation at Cyber University, and finally became an employee of Incheon Center. Six years have passed since his recovery from gambling addiction, we are so proud to see he has paid off hundreds of millions worth of debt, and also that he is taking good care of his family. Since it is very difficult to quit gambling alone, we welcome people to join the treatment community to get help and to maximize positive synergy effects together in coping with recurrence situations at Incheon Center.
IT: What is the connection between the center and nursing students from Inha?
Professor Lee: Nursing students at Inha University can volunteer at the Incheon Center through the JEP program, which is a ‘community-linked service.’ Observing an addict’s counseling is not allowed for reasons of privacy. Instead, students can code surveys about preventive education and create SNS contents in the reception room. If students are interested in addiction, they can major in mental nursing after graduation, and acquire ‘mental health specialist’ certificates to become experts.
IT: What are some gambling problems at Inha University?
Professor Lee: The gambling rate of Inha University is 5.6%, which exceeds the national gambling rate of 5.2%. Most Inha students play Sports Toto to earn between one million and two million won in living expenses. But if they are caught by the cyber police investigative team while using illegal sites, all members will be ordered to appear in court. While offline gambling is usually done by middle-aged people in their 40s and 50s, online gambling such as Sports Toto is mostly used by people in their 20s and 30s. So, students should be careful not to get addicted to gambling. There is no addiction rehabilitation program for Inha University students, but it is recommended to visit the Incheon Center for treatment to treat a gambling addiction.
Vision after Graduation
Nursing students take a National Examination at the end of the senior year to become full-time nurses. A total of 295 exam questions were given in eight subjects, including adult nursing and maternal nursing. After passing the national exam, students get a license as full-time nurses certified by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Graduates mostly choose to become nurse practitioners in hospitals. The nurse practitioner is a nurse who works in various hospital departments such as wards, operating rooms, emergency rooms, and intensive care units in hospitals.
However, due to the intensity of clinical nurses’ duty, irregular biorhythm due to three shifts, childcare, and so on, they may take a leave of absence or advance into other fields. Those who possess a nursing license can advance to a variety of alternative options, including health teachers, public health nurses as Community Health Practitioners, professors, overseas nursing, or even research in corporations and industry. Other options include public officials in grade 8 for nursing service, grade 7 and 9 for health service as is work at public health centers, administrative agencies, or government agencies. Furthermore, it is possible to get a job as a health and medical professional at the National Health Insurance Corporation, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN), and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
The essence of nursing does not change, but the function of nursing is changing with the changes that nursing demands. Thus, nursing knowledge and duties must interact with the development of society. Looking forward to the future, nurses keep human dignity as the priority, in maintaining and promoting human health.
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