Interesting Facts About Nursing Around the World

The nursing profession, like any other thing in this world has undergone change for a couple of times. From practices to beliefs, it had experienced evolution as it continuously tries to cope with the rapid changes in nursing demands and health care issues. We are all aware that there are other religious beliefs and cultural variations existing around the world, the nursing profession shares a square lot to this type of awareness as it also houses a lot of trivia and fun facts you never know existed about the nursing world.

  1. You don’t have to renew your license in Japan.  Once you become a Registered Nurse, you have that title on for life. However, there are circumstances that prove to be exceptions to this rule, you can say goodbye to your license when you commit cases such as breaking the law or when you put the dignity of the profession in a compromise.
  2. One in every 23 Japanese nurses works more than 60 hours of overtime per month. Also, frequently overtime comes with no extra pay. There is even an official category of cause of death in Japan known as Karōshi which means being “worked to death.”
  3. In many parts of China, patients have to take a number to get medical attention.  They start lining up outside the hospital at 3am, and often there’s a suffocating crush when the doors open.Current reforms have extended health care to 95% of the population in China most of whom have never had insurance before. This action has been made to address the growing issue that the country offers wide but shallow distribution of health insurance. However, it has caused some strains in the health care delivery system in China as with everybody having access comes massive lines starting early in the morning to get in and see a specialist since everybody now wants to go to the major academic health centers.
  4. Nurses at ill-funded Chinese hospitals have to reuse supplies such as gloves and even syringes.While the ideal practice should be single use of those materials, some hospitals in reality tend to deviate to this principle due to lack of funds and poverty in hospitals. This even happens in some parts of the Philippines.
  5. Nursing students aren’t allowed to speak to their professors in Vietnam. They only learn through lectures, textbooks and recitation drills. They don’t even get experience with real patients until they’re on the job.
  6. A significant number of doctors in the Philippines are heading back to school to become nurses. They then come to the U.S. to make more money as nurses than they earn as MD’s in their own country.  This does not come as news anymore as more and more doctors enter the nursing profession. The trend has gone from nurses turned doctors to doctors turned nurses.

The saying “each person is unique” is also applicable to the nursing profession as practices you never expected are observed in other parts of the globe. Below are other facts about nurses and health care in various parts of the world (According to Scrubs Magazine):

  1. Hospitals in Mexico only use gloves “when necessary.”
  2.  After working as a nurse for only a year, Mexican nurses can choose to specialize (with no extra training) in an area of medicine, such as critical care or emergency nursing.
  3. Nurses working in Australia must pass a physical health examination, including a chest x-ray, to be able to work in the hospital.
  4.  Up until just 100 years ago, sick Brazilians sought care from folk healers and family-based medicine.  It took the coffee industry and the need to control disease to port cities to overhaul the health care system (they brought in 31 North American nurses to start!).
  5. Nurses in Saudi Arabia aren’t permitted to tell their royal patients when it’s time for assessment or when to take medications.  Most royals travel with a private nurse – and a staff of about 20 – who see to their personal medication needs.
  6. In Saudi Arabian hospitals, nurses can “unofficially” work only eight hours of a scheduled 12 hour shift.  During the remaining four hours, the patients are on their own.
  7. Iraqi women who are nurses have to be home before 2pm, and are not allowed to touch men who are not their husbands or sons.  It’s not uncommon for a doctor to do the nurse’s work.
  8.  In Tanzania, there are only 4 nurses and midwives per 10,000 people.
  9.  In a study at a U.S. hospital, more than 80% of ED nurses believe the phase of the moon affects patients and their mental health.
  10.  48% of the nurses at a Chicago hospital believe that saying the word “quiet” aloud will jinx them and make their shift more difficult.

Some of these you may find bizarre, some you may think of as amazing, others you may deem unnecessary. However, the end point a nurse must always consider is the fact that what we practice and perform should not affect the quality of nursing care we provide to patients. After all, it’s not the differences in cultures and practices that should be the main issue here, what is most important are and will be the safety and well-being of our clientele.


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