DIVIDED WE FALL, UNITED WE STAND” !!
Dear African nurses, why have we decided to chain our collective destiny with unending baseless dichotomy.
Once you are registered as a nurse, you are a nurse. As professionals,we are all commissioned to carry out the same objective in fulfillment of our social contract. There is no intelligent reason whatsoever, why we should remain in perpetual internal crisis. This crisis have now resulted in two major abnormal mindset which Lead Nurse Africa is correcting through public reorientation and thorough professional counseling.
IT IS USUALLY THE HOSPITAL BASED VS THE UNIVERSITY BASED.
This is ridiculous, it makes no sense at all. As you read this, we advise you drop your sentiments and allow your good reasoning to prevail.
Both camps are guilty and have all fallen short of professional glory.
- Some set of nurses, “abnormally” hold the notion that there is no need for university nursing training or that going to a university does not increase professional capacity in practice and in leadership. Therefore, these university graduate must not be recognized, rewarded or promoted. Apart from the certificate , they say, there is nothing special about degree.
Correction please!!, it is very special, not just to nursing, but to the entire healthcare system. That is our only hope of producing leaders of great repute, scholars that will become fountain of knowledge and innovators that will expand the scope of our opportunities and economic value. It is the place where all professions grow. Our competent to improve nursing care, modify procedures and invent new ideas in nursing interventions were developed in foreign universities. For us to have a local scientific knowledge base, we must develop and promote university nursing education. This fact has nothing to do with anyone’s sentiments or emotion. Whether our universities have prepared our graduates to live up to the expected level of efficiency and the factors behind such setback is a topic for another day. But many universities have and are still giving us graduates that their efforts have kept the Nightingale lamp burning in Africa. Others will soon fall in line especially when graduate internship is fully implemented to complete the university training
- Some university trained nurses on the other hand, “abnormally” think that since they have seen the four walls of higher institution, the hospital trained nurses should lie down flat in adoration .
Rather than adding value to the profession through their university exposure, these set of nurses are more preoccupied with pride, and unnecessary show off. They forgot that it is in their input that people can see their value and not by mere acquiring a certificate. They fail woefully in carrying hospital trained nurses along . With their exposure, it is their responsibility to educate, harmonize and reduce the tension of internal crisis. Nurses from hospital based training have given so much to the profession and deserve a lot of respect. After-all, they are the once that trained the graduates in the clinic. They have continued to transfer clinical experience from generation to generation until the current trend of university education across African countries. Our lecturers were all hospital trained nurses before obtaining their degrees. We should complement each other and honor the scope within which our profession may assign to us in line with global best practice and the reward therein. The degree program should be projected in the context of capacity building, rather than certification for better promotion. This certificate mentality is doing us more harm than good.
Consequently, many nurses currently enroll into the university for the wrong reason. To acquire degree certificate so that nobody can oppress them again. The result is that, learning do not usually take place upon graduation. Apart from the brand new acquired degree, they still remain same old outdated nurses. All their studies in the university was just to pass exam and acquire the “notorious” degree. The entire content of the knowledge is non of their business. Very unfortunate situation indeed.Thankfully,happenings in the global nursing community are gradually influencing us to pay attention more to knowledge and skills than to certificate. The university program is rich and vast, if we can assimilate it and implement it, we will experience what it means to be a true professional.
Imagine if university graduates are recognized and basic school graduate having access to a standard means of upgrading urgently to BSc . We would have had a strong movement that will produce credible and visionary leadership at all level. All of us will grow intellectually, economically and socially.
Similarly, it is in our collective interest that our university graduates are recognized and paid at the same level or even at a higher level in comparison with their peers in the health sector. Such development should not make any non graduate feel cheated. They should rather see it as a welcomed development for the profession and a motivation to make the sacrifices involved in pursuing further studies. Isn’t that great for all of us ? Whatever good thing that happens to one nurse grows the profession and all of us stand to benefit in one way or another.
THE STUDENTS’ EXAMPLE
It is a shameful thing to practicing nurses that students are the first to commence an honest effort towards harmonization. As we speak, the West African Nursing Student’s Association have both hospital and university based student’s working together for their collective interest. Also, The National association of Nigeria Nursing student’s are currently sharing a loving fraternal relationship with the nursing school association.
These student’s have demonstrated admirable maturity and understanding of what a professional organization is and how it should be projected to the public.
GHANA AHEAD OF NIGERIA.
The professional set up in Ghana is miles ahead than the chaotic situation witnessed in Nigeria. Their nurses seem to have a good understanding of the options available for them . The level of professionalism is higher and internal crisis is far less. Moreover, their professional organisation are more focused. However, there is room for improvement.
SOUTH AFRICA ,WORLD APART FROM OTHERS.
You need to ecounter nurses in South Africa. Loaded with knowledge, assertive and economically healthy. Their progress can only be attributed to high level of internal organisation and focused leadership.They are much better of,though not without challenges. Their institutions are also more advanced with high emphasis on post graduate studies.
Nigeria therefore, have become the “SI unit” of this internal crisis among nurses in our continents
ELIMINATING THE DICHOTOMY THROUGH A UNIFIED EDUCATION
Our basic schools of nursing might not be closed anytime soon for two major reasons :
- The need to have nurses available for our increasing population . University alone , may not meet the need. Scarcity of nurses will worsen quackery
- Lack of personnel to open more departments of nursing in the universities
Therefore, we should have immediate and long term goal. The long term goal should be working towards harmonizing members of our profession through one portal of entry, which will be university program.
The immediate goal;
- Redesign the curriculum of nursing schools to increase standard of education as opposed to a situation where some schools learn anatomy and physiology within the scope of Ross and Wilson. The new scope should adopt the curriculum of university courses in anatomy, physiology , biochemistry etc . Not skeletal outline.
- Redesign University curriculum to avoid repetition and chaotic course outline that sometimes lead to confusion.
After a university program, the next step should strictly be master’s. A situation where graduates are required to go to post basic school is an anomaly . It will take less than five years to train nurses in post graduate specialties and shut down post basic schools. When a hospital is seeking to employ a midwife or a cardio nurse, they sweat as they pay him or her because they will be paying a post graduate practitioner.
This is not a campaign against nurses in post basic school, it is rather, a campaign for professional restructuring so that we can have a clear direction, internal harmony and a respectable image. It is at specialty level that we should create a little scarcity to increase demand for such nurses. It is also where we can develop sophisticated skills that will enable us do things in a way that no other person can do unless he or she goes through such advanced specialty program. That is how you create professional closure that ensures that nurses smile to the bank.
If that is done, all nurses will respect each other as professional colleagues, promote each others professional advancement and most importantly, advocate to ensure that all nurses willing and able to grow, find a platform to do so and enjoy the reward therein .
This dichotomy is not based on any developmental professional objective. The contending groups are only halting our collective professional growth. Now is the time to become civilized and move forward.
THE SPACE IS WIDE ENOUGH TO ACCOMMODATE ALL OF US.
God bless African nurses.
By ; Cynthia Odumosu (Lead Nurse Africa Editor)
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