It is a common knowledge that nursing practice in Africa is undergoing philosophical and ideological transformation. There is a gradual acceptance of the paradigm shift in nursing and the changes that we must adopt in order to be in tune with the global trends in health. In truth, we have for so long found ourselves trapped in a hole. The factors that have grounded us for so long, are topic for another day. Our focus today is a call for the African nurse to look in the mirror and see the man/woman that will change nursing. That same man/woman can also change the world if he/she believes.
Dear African nurse, IT IS NOT THE PROFESSION THAT MAKES A MAN, IT IS RATHER A MAN THAT MAKES THE PROFESSION. The success of a particular profession is a reflection of hard work, sacrifice and innovations of individuals who chose that field of life. It is a fact that professions like Engineering, Medicine, Law, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy etc have taken the best brains that human genetics have produced in the history of mankind. Hence, this gifted individuals venture into areas that ordinary men cannot not conceive and make major breakthroughs. The society therefore stands in respect for people who are members of the profession that her members have been to the moon, the society respect the profession of Dr. Ben Carson, the society respect the profession of Bill Gates, the society respects the heroism of Men and Women in the military forces, Yes they stand to honor to the profession that produced great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Clinton (Lawyers) etc.
Historically, Nursing was once a vocation with no respect whatsoever. However, one woman stepped in, our Florence Nightingale, with her education, innovation and hard work, she changed the face of nursing forever and she became the forerunner of scientific nursing. Mankind will talk about her contributions to humanity till the end of time. So many individuals through their works, build the body of knowledge of today’s nursing profession, thereby, creating life savers through their contributions. If there is any profession greater than nursing today, it is simply because, while we have had one Nightingale and few extraordinary nurses, they have had many “Nightingale’s of their own and numerous extraordinary members. These things are fact and no sentiments can counter it. Nursing today is greatest in the United States, Canada and Australia. These three countries together are responsible for more than 80 percent of innovations in nursing globally. They have more active members with good political awareness.
In Africa, nurses can be whatever they want to be. The problems in nursing are caused by nurses and the solution for nursing will be provided by nurses. All we need to do is to accept as individuals and groups to be the solution to several nursing challenges. Ask yourself;
• Do I support progressive changes in nursing?
• Do I have the courage to think outside the box and be innovative?
• Do I attend professional meetings and rallies?
• Do I carry out research in nursing?
• What is my commitment in advocating for quality nursing practice and improved nursing welfare?
• How many books, articles etc have I written to contribute to knowledge?
• What innovations have I pursued in nursing?
• How much in cash and money do I spend daily, weekly or monthly in pursuit of nursing knowledge online or through other sources?
• Do I prioritize my resources for professional development ahead of social pleasures?
• How far have I advanced my education in Nursing?
• How many hours have I spent in pursuit of leadership and intellectual growth in nursing outside my major employment duties?
• Do I attend Nursing Seminars, workshops, conferences and stakeholders meetings?
• Am I an active member of my professional association, do I attend their congress and contribute positively to nursing debate?
• Am I in a leadership position in nursing for my selfish gains?
• Am I providing enough voice and actions to push nursing leaders to sit up to their responsibilities?
• Am I a member of a political party in my country so I can connect nurses to political leadership and bring us to the table where the fates of our citizens are being decided?
• Am I obstructing any development in nursing because it will not favor me?
• Am I supporting a policy that discourages nurses from advanced learning, promoting mediocrity and divisions?
• Am I one of those nurses training quacks in private hospitals?
The questions are endless; it is an honest assessment of your passion and your commitment for nursing development. All of us must look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves honest questions about how negatively or positively we have impacted our noble profession.
A nurse that lacks the habit of reading is part of our problem. Nurses with political apathy are our weak points. Remember that Albert Einstein and Dr. Ben Carson where both told they would never amount to anything in life academically, but both have done something that shaped our world. Truth be told, I have never seen a group with low confidence, low ambition and with so much pessimism like African Nurses. This is not an era of shouting and singing “great nurses” everywhere. We have to give ourselves accurate diagnosis before we can come up with appropriate corrective measures that will enable us to thrive. Our profession by her very nature is noble, because it has been given a social contract to heal through art and science of caring. We are the one’s bringing down the reputation of our profession through our intellectual laziness, political apathy, poor professional investment and host of other anti growth attitudes. Of course we cannot indict all African nurses, but majority have not been doing anything to attract honor and glory to our profession. They just want to do their shift and earn salary while hoping for a messiah to drop down from heaven and change the profession. It is only when majority of nurses in African begin to believe that the greatness of our profession lies in their hands that we can begin to see progress. Greatness is earned through hard work, innovation and strong leadership. It is not by complaining and blaming everybody except you. How on earth do you think that doctors would abandon themselves and call you to take over health leadership? They earned whatever they have today. They made sure that the society gives them what they earned and are still telling the society that it is not enough. Hello nurses, NOT ONLY MUST WE EARN OUR OWN PLACE AMONG ELITE PROFESSIONS, IT IS ALSO ON US AND ONLY ON US TO ENSURE THAT THE SOCIETY GIVES US WHAT WE HAVE EARNED AND DESERVED AND WE MUST NOT AT ANY POINT FEEL THAT WE HAVE ARIVED. Growth is a continuous process, whatever stops growing starts dying immediately.
Therefore make up your mind to be the change that African nurses are yearning for today. Identify a problem to solve in nursing and encourage others to do the same. If we do this, in no distant time, we will see African nurses becoming inventors, great writers, great researchers’, great teachers, Presidents, Governors, directors in national and international organizations etc. Individually, our effort will begin to bring changes in nursing and collectively our work will position our noble profession in the hall of fame. The future generation will bless our era for we will live behind a great and lucrative profession whose services have becomes the major life saver in the societies and whose members have changed the social, economic and political fortune of a continent for the better.


Editors Note: This piece was written a while ago. We just felt to share it again.



Lead Nurse Africa is a Pan-African nursing organization dedicated to public health promotion and professional development.


  1. Thanks so much for the stimulating article. Beyond the call for action on the part of African nurses, the questions for personal assessment in the article also serve as a guide on how we can contribute to making the change we want to see. As mentioned, society stands in respect for people in certain professions( those mentioned) because of the hard work and sacrifices of the members, and the breakthroughs that such professions have wrought. Particularly in Africa, some of these professions are so highly respected by the public and nursing/nurses may not be so highly esteemed.

    As a nurse in Africa, there are times I wonder whether I should continue and progress along my nursing career or I should change profession. Such thoughts are usually banished by my belief in the potential of nursing in my country and Africa, the opportunity I have to contribute in elevating nursing to the heights attained by other countries, and the unique service that nursing offers humanity.

    Nursing in our respective countries and Africa as a whole may not have reached a level comparable to nursing in USA, Canada or Australia , but what does this mean for us as today’s African nurses ? It means much is unknown for our context and therefore greater opportunity to leave our mark by being discoverers, innovators, and inventors.

    I believe that by reflecting on the article by Collins Ndubuisi and assessing ourselves individually with the questions in the article, together with the attitudinal change, we will be on our way to changing the world.

  2. its so motivating, thank you so much for this article. I know Nursing in Africa is undergoing transformation now. Yes, it is. Gradually, the change will come.
    Though, more efforts are required. I believe this starts from the point where we are working to the outside world. BE AN AGENT OF CHANGE WHEREVER YOU ARE, AT WORK PLACES, OFFICES etc.

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