Flattening the Nursing World

Article excerpt

JANUARY IS THAT HALFWAY TIME through the academic year when New Year's resolutions are either well in hand or well forgotten, classes have resumed, and spring break is not nearly close enough for anyone. As we begin 2006, an interesting question to ponder is, How far has nursing education ventured into the flat world of the 21st century?

In his recent book on globalization, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005), Thomas Friedman posits that technology, coupled with capitalistic changes occurring throughout the world, has opened a global labor market that has forever changed global business practices. Among his many examples of sourcing (homesourcing, insourcing, and outsourcing) is the story of JetBlue, an airline established in 1999 that homesources all reservations by hiring homemakers in Utah to make reservations from their homes. Another example is United Parcel Service of America (UPS), which expanded its business by insourcing work for its clients. UPS picks up, repairs, and returns to their owners all Toshiba laptop computers. And, it schedules and delivers supplies for Papa John's pizzerias nationwide.

Although outsourcing is most commonly associated with the loss of manufacturing jobs, the amount of knowledge work done abroad is rising exponentially. For example, in 2003, Asian universities produced three times the number of science and engineering baccalaureate graduates as did the United States. While 38 percent of all the science and engineering PhDs in the United States today are foreign born, in a flat world, scientists and engineers are staying home and working for global companies. As indicated on the FAQ page for Designers4Web, "The cost of living in India is much lower than in most Western countries. Salaries are about 20%-30% of what they are in North America and Europe. Thanks to low overheads, we are able to offer rates that are nearly 70% lower than International rates." (See www.designers4web.com/faq.htm.)

Nursing education has moved toward a flattened world with e-learning, online programs, and web-assisted courses. …