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This write-up is not meant to insult, disrespect, or malign any individual, group or person but for us to critically assess, analyze this profession (Nursing) and to find lasting solution to its barrage of problems which could be traced to the foundational training from both Schools Of Nursing and Departments Of Nursing in the University in Nigeria
Nursing to me has been a wonderful profession due to my personal assessment. I may be wrong or at a disadvantage because I never had the privilege of getting the opinion of a course counselor before opting to be a Nurse. My motivation was and is the dexterity in performing actions. How Nurses touches lives and help the vulnerable, the sick and the dying to come back to life. I remembered with nostalgia a friend who was sick and all hope was lost on him but the ‘never say never’ attitudes of the Nurses that attended was the tonic for his recovery. He later affirmed that he got the spirit to fight back to recovery when he saw the effort of the Nurses towards his care.
I came into Nursing hoping to be at the vanguard of helping the helpless, voice to the voiceless and an advocate of holistic care. Little did I know that Nursing has a multifaceted challenges through training to practice. Let me also recall that I once met a British trained Nurse who gave me a vivid role of a nurse in an hospital and this was the tonic I needed to clinch into the Noble Profession.
WHO IS A NURSE?
A Nurse is an individual with pre-requisite training and certification with a mandate to prevent illness, promote health and alleviate suffering. With the aforestated, I joined Nursing with all enthusiasm hoping to put my best into the care of whosoever comes my way without recourse to race, creed and political affiliation. But my experience as a basic student Nurse gave me a great psychological setback, worse still is the practice and interpretation of role. However, when I had the opportunity to make comparism with other schools of Nursing training, I was forced to say I attended one of the few schools that still shows humane attitudes towards their students. It was a dashed expectation.
While in that hall that fateful day, my thought was roving between what I heard and the reality which really brought serious confusion to me. I had to do a great job to personally psyche myself to face the training with all my strength. The following 3 weeks in training was terrifying because all we heard on daily basis was how we can never pass the statutory weeding examination which as it were are the 3 and 6 months. With a stern warning of leaving the programme sooner than expected. Very few lecturer were bold enough to direct us or, maybe due to their personal conviction were able to summon some courage to let us know the status of a Student Nurse in the hospital settings (we are higher than the Health Attendance so that they in turn will not be pushing us around).The fear of the lecturer is the beginning of wisdom for us all. This really affected our relationship with under students in such a large and challenging environment leading to high level of inferiority complexes.
With this form of training, most of us ended up being timid, unnecessary tough, inappropriately aggressive, and hard on ourselves with the intention that we must finish the programme whatever it will take us. Social life and activities was at the zero level. Some became so thin and emaciated that some of our parents had to secretly carry our Retroviral screening on us to determine OUR HIV/AIDS status which was later revealed to us later in the training.
WHY DO NURSES HAVE TO GO THROUGH SUCH TRAINING?
I once summoned the courage to ask why we were accorded such treatment and the intentions of our trainers and mentors, all I could deduce are the following;
a. They went through such training and could see that it made them better and stronger.
b. Nursing is not for the lazy.
c. Nursing is not for those who flaunt authority.
d. Nursing is made up of unwritten laws.
e. Respect in Nursing is a fundamental rule.
Tough Training And The Building Of Better Leaders;
While growing up, the regular and constant phrase that is drummed into my hearing is “God will not allow my children to experience the hardship I ever went through”. Why is this different in Nursing? Using the words of Friedrich von Schillersays it all “It is not flesh and blood, but heart which makes us fathers and sons”.
It is different because we have not been able to reassess the importance of growing people as professional rather we put more emphasis on revenge mission. This is one of the reasons why most Nurses will never encourage their children to choose Nursing as a profession. Kudos to some rear and outstanding leaders in Nursing HRM. Oba AlaniOlabode and Comrade Emeritus Awowoyin who has wonderful children in Nursing and both were good ambassadors of their parent’s legacy.
Malala Yousafzai said “The role I have right now, it is not something that has been given to me by someone. It is something I have chosen for myself”. If we persist with the attitudes of “I cried and my followers must cry”, then we will move to no destination.
Nursing Is Not For Lazy People;
My assessment of Nursing as a profession has never given room for lazy individuals. I must confess that those who functioned well as Nurses are those with special callings and skills. A Nurse must by virtue of necessity know all about the anatomy of the body, be conversant with all body compositions in other to prepare them to know what and when to administer prescribed drugs. Must have special senses which is different from basic body sense organs so as to view deviation from normal and also preempt outcomes of treatment given.
With the aforementioned, it is crystal clear that no Nurse is lazy. Hard and inhumane training is not geared towards effective and efficient professionalism.
Nursing Is Not For Those Who Flaunt Authority;
My interpretation of this is that, Nurses are trained to be seen and not heard. This is derogatory. It is accepted that Nursing training in Nigeria had a root from master – servantrelationship but the Industrial Arbitration Panel Award of 1981 should have put an end to that. One of my Mentor once told me the history of their meeting with a then serving Head of State who asked while seeing them “Where are the Nurses” when he saw only male with serious looks as opposed to the Nurses who dare not look at other professionals in the face.
One of the strength of the Nurses should be in place of caring out the statutory roles towards the patients and the society which cannot be effectively put in place except with some form of boldness. “Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zones. We have to break the rules. And we have to discover the sensuality of fear. We need to face it, challenge it, dance with it.” ― Kyra Davis and “While you're sitting there wondering why you've kept all the rules and you still haven't achieved everything you've been promised, someone else has been breaking all the rules and seeing all the success that comes from doing so.” ― Dan Pearce. Without Nursing accepting the quotes above, it may be difficult to grow at per with other professionals.
Nursing Is Made Up Of Unwritten Laws;
The most unwritten law in Nursing is that you must stand up for your senior as many times a day when you have contact with them. In training, there is no unified procedure manual. Hence, each school came up with the one that suites them. You could imagine that some school ask their students to do what’s termed GRATISS where the students will be subjected to cutting grass even in uniform. High wall dusting and so many terrible activities.“Error of omission begets new rules.” ― Toba Beta
With the aforementioned, I wish to state the following as a submission to improved professionalism in Nigeria Nursing
i. Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria must by necessity include leadership training in the curriculum of Nursing training.
ii. The Ethics and Disciplinary Committee of the Nursing Council should visit Schools of Nursing and Departments of Nursing in the Universities without prior information with a view of correcting or apprehending culprits of unethical and inhumane practice and training.
iii. There should be a feedback platform for Nursing and Midwifery Council Disciplinary Committee on negative practice and training while the identity of the reporter is protected.
iv. Nurses should accept the very few once amongst them whom after going through the timidity training still never believe in it and had a different practice and orientation.
v. Nurses should stop the habits of killing their young and embrace the current trend of basic roles leading to boldness and firmness in caring out their nursing responsibilities.
vi. Nurses should learn to love the profession since it gives them livelihood and responsibility.
Somebody once told me how he observed that Nurses are good at protecting other professional but better with destroying their colleagues. If you are one of those with such attitudes, kindly change. Nursing in Nigeria should be glad about their numerical strength and this should be to our advantage. Meanwhile, we could get a positive result if and only if we are able to resolve and manage our orientations and build a new generation of leaders who will never be timid and low self esteem but bold with sound leadership skills.
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