Nursing education has become increasingly important in the contemporary healthcare system. China and Saudi Arabia have been chosen due their high standards of nursing education system and development. The historical changes that have occurred in both countries seem to have played a crucial developmental role in ensuring quality service delivery in the nursing sector. This article will discuss nursing profession in China and Saudi Arabia with regards to its past, present, and future development.
Political History and Development of Nursing Education in both Saudi Arabia and China
Initially, Saudi Arabia had women joining men help in caring for the wounded soldiers during wars. Rufaidah was a first Muslim nurse who practiced the profession both war times and in peace times. She treated people besides training nurses, caring for the poor, and dealing with social problems. It was noted that the nurses and physicians were more practical in the provision of healthcare (Almalki, FitzGerald, & Clark, 2011). On the other hand, China’s development in the nursing system was also rising due to the changes in its political landscape. Short training programs in nursing were conducted after the missionaries (Wong & Zhao, 2012).
In 1921, with the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party, baccalaureate nursing program at Peking Union Medical College was initiated. The era of Mao Zedong ruling led to the unification of all nursing education programs and establishment of TCM nursing schools till 1976 (Wong & Zhao, 2012). In 1979, the Nanjing Medical University started associate nursing program. This event was followed by the re-introduction of baccalaureate nursing education. In 2004 to 2008, Hu Jintao introduced the scientific concept development ideology. This led to the opening of doctoral nursing program in the Second Military Medical and Central South Universities. By 2008, accreditation was compulsory; hence, all graduates were to do National Qualification Examination to qualify for nursing practice. Lastly, a new Nurse Act was established to support the development of nursing in the country (Wong & Zhao, 2012).
Government and Nursing Organizations Influencing Nursing Education
Agencies such as the Medical Service of Army Forces, National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA), Prince Sultan Cardiac Centre, and King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre provided nursing education at diploma levels from 2002 with an aim of targeting high school students for two years. 6 months training for clinical practice was also offered (Almalki et al., 2011). The government of Saudi has also strived to ensure the accreditation of nursing certificates for the evaluation and approval of nursing training programs and institutions among others. This undertaking ensured the professional development, accreditation, and regeneration of the nursing education program. On the other hand, the government of China has laid emphasis on the quality nursing education. Various successful projects funded by the China government include competence training models, demonstration laboratory centers and nursing specialty development among others. They are conducted to enhance the proper development of the humanistic education framework, students’ critical thinking, and promotion of evidenced-based practice and enhancement of practical skills. The government is also striving to change the curriculum of nursing from that of medical-orientation to a nursing-oriented model (Wong & Zhao, 2012).
Current System of Nursing Education
In Saudi Arabia, the Central Nursing Committee has been mandated to recruit more Saudi citizens in the nursing profession to curb the current problem of higher turnovers as well as improving the number of Saudi nurses in the profession (Almalki et al., 2011). Through agencies such as the Medical Service of Army Forces, the National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA), the Prince Sultan Cardiac Centre, and King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, the Saudi government has been providing nursing education at diploma levels from 2002 (Almalki et al., 2011). The accreditation of nursing certificates is also done by the government for the evaluation and approval of nursing training program.
In contrast, China and its larger population have ensured a critical development and reformation of ensuring that nurses meet the needs of patients. The unification of the nursing education program has been done to ensure the uniformity of the training processes. Both diploma and Masters level program have been introduced in various Universities in China. The overall nursing education graduates are given National Nurse Qualification examinations at both health schools and University diploma levels to ensure quality (Wong & Zhao, 2012).
Post-Graduate (Masters) Education
Saudi Arabia started offering post graduate programs in nursing in 1994 at King Abdulaziz University. The governmental and other agencies are also providing both local and international scholarships for PhD and masters to ensure that the Saudis have highly trained and qualified local nurses (Almalki et al., 2011). In China, the Master degree programs in nursing were started. The graduates are currently given a national qualification examination in both health schools and university diploma levels to ensure qualification for higher level nursing practice (Wong & Zhao, 2012). The differences that exist between the two countries are that in Saudi Arabia, there is continuous learning process to ensure renewal as well as maintenance of the higher standards (Wong & Zhao, 2012).
Both Saudi Arabia and China have experienced developments in the nursing profession in terms of education, workforce, and practice. The major problems facing the two nations are the shortages of staff. These governments have to develop proper policies, long-term plans to ensure that experts in the profession are employed. A review of the nursing curriculum in both nations should be initiated to ensure quality delivery of clinical education.
Almalki, M., FitzGerald, G., & Clark, M. (2011). The nursing profession in Saudi Arabia: An overview. International Nursing Review, 58(1), 304-311.
Wong, F., & Zhao, Y. (2012). Nursing education in China: Past, present, and future. Journal of Nursing Management, 20(1), 38-44.