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The Hallucination of A Nurse on Duty by Abdul Aziz Adam - Articles - Nurses Arena Forum

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The Hallucination of A Nurse on Duty by Abdul Aziz Adam by katty : November 23, 2016, 09:58:10 PM
It was a cool, damp night, and silence hung in the atmosphere, perhaps grieving the death of the previous day. The coming of a new day was heralded by a beautiful symphony of music from the community of insects and birds who soon broke the deafening silence of the “night." 2010 it was. And I was on night duty. The stress of the noble profession is sometimes endearing, for the joy of administering health care sucks away boredom and tiredness into the belly of the earth. But the stress of this night was not to easily disappear into oblivion. I thought I saw a snake, and I thought for a minute whether the deception of the eyes that defines old age is suddenly taken hold of me. But the few seconds that followed proved I was still young, and my eyes were still young at that moment.

It was a live snake in the main theatre of the Tamale Teaching Hospital. The puny, little, venomous creature had perhaps taken asylum, and found comfort in the old tower at around 1am. I gave it a good ‘bolt' chase, but this encroaching reptile seem to know its cardinal points of safety. It glided effortlessly into the pipes and tubings of a malfunctioned sink. And as if making way into its abode, it swiftly swam into the former recovery, and I could not find it again. My effort had come to nought, but far from over.

On my handing over session, I passed this information to my colleagues and superiors to take remedial actions. Quite unexpectedly, my concern was greeted with both scorn and laughter. “Maybe he was just hallucinating, and thought it was a snake",they joked. We all laughed at it and i went home, feeling depressed that my concern hadn't been heeded. I was not just worried about the snake, but about a colleague(Salifu Emelia Salamatu) who was due to take over from me in about 48 hours time. she is a lady. I did inform her about my little encounter, and she felt uneasy. She came to the hospital to re-echoe my ‘hallucinating snake story', threating she will not take over the night if the snake is not found and dealt with.

 Fortunately on our part, the snake was again on its usual visit to the main theater, probably on its afternoon shift, when it was spotted by Baga Abdul Latif in the recovery. He killed it and kept it in formalin in front of the theatre.

As we inch closer to the dry season, I will like to urge all members of the Nightingale profession to ensure that all the dark places in the wards are lightened .You'll also have to sharpen your senses of perception, not only during assessment of patients but also when taking a walk in the wards and hospital premises, most especially the district hospitals.

Beside the debacle regarding the implementation of the conditions of service, Nurses also go through serious ordeals across the length and breath of our country. We are saddled with the scarcity of anti-snake-venom which is meant to be free. And the the cost in the black market is not within the reach of the young Ghanaian nurse. While we have been diligent enough in fulfilling our part of the contract —caring for our patients and the citizenry, our employer does not seem to give a whimper about our welfare.
In my short ‘snake hallucination' encounter, the lighting system was what came to my rescue. The lighting system in the theatre makes it possible for even a pin to be spotted on the floor. But for it, I would have stepped on the snake, even if the lighting system had been poor.
I urge all nurses in Ghana, most especially community health nurses working in the hinterlands, nurses in the district hospitals, polyclinics, and all health centres and clinics to be extra vigilant in their line of duty, as during this dry season, snakes move out of their hideout to seek for cooler environment such as the rooms and wards. We can't afford another inconvenience in our line of duty.
All the best.
Abdul Aziz Adam

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