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Opinions of Saturday, 11 March 2017

Columnist: Kyei, Nana

Nursing in Ghana, old gurus brand!!

By: Kyei, Nana

Nursing Profession over the years is being hijacked by old cabal popularly described by the phrase " l have served longer."

The speedy pace of deterioration assumed by the nursing profession in Ghana is self inflicted and it's perpetuated by the old gurus who have clinched tightly to top positions despite the shift in modern trends in leadership where people with right qualifications to lead are sidelined, nursing is the only profession where someone who doesn't even have a first degree bosses over one with doctorate degree. Sad.

In the modern society, knowledge and intelligence is a key factor for consideration when choosing people to head.

I have seen a 25 year old astute young-man as MD of one of the popular banks in Ghana, and same in several other professions and when you draw closer, you will appreciate the dept of knowledge these knowledgeable young chaps bring to bear In their work. In fact most have the requisite intelligence to man the affairs of these big corporations and a lots have chalked numerous success.

But the situation is different in nursing, the nurses and Midwifery council is choked with people just by the the virtue of the mere fact that they have been in the profession for long, I understand long years of service is critical in management but if you have a situation where about 95% of nursing leadership across the country are chosen by the virtue of long service then you risk locking what was once a revered profession to teether on a brink of public ridicule and backwardness.

There's is a lingering perception among most Ghanaians that the NMC is a body with a lost foresight, leadership rather fight over title belt and positions without looking at the welfare of the teaming nursing population in Ghana.

This assertion is true because in the face of numerous challenges facing the profession in terms of  employment for new staffs, good working conditions and commitments other professionals enjoy, the council's attitude to such relevant issues is that of indifference.

Ghana Medical  Association has on several occasions fought government fervently to implement policies to better the welfare of its members and when was the last time you heard NMC sitting down to negotiate with government to address the challenges facing nurses.

It goes to confirm the old impression that the leadership fear to make argument and will sit aloof and swallow anything thrown at them by policy makers.

This hijack of the profession by the old cabal has rendered the profession unattractive especially to the male nurses who eventual leave or divert to other field, currently it's uncommon to see a 35 years and above year old male nurse at the hospitals.

People with better qualifications who are supposed to lead the revolution to restore the lost dignity of the profession in the field of intelligence are being sabotaged and intimidated by these old comrades.

The DDNS position which happens to the highest position in the profession at the various facilities, a significant number of them do not even have first degree..some are very ignorant about the modern trends in nursing, some do not even know what research is let alone encourage stakeholders to embark on research to unearth evidence to back their practice.

Sadly enough the fresh ones  joining the profession are also subdued and sustained in ill subordination for a fear of intimidation.

In Fact in the hospital settings, the leadership has reduced nursing so low to the extent that other professionals in the healthcare team who by knowledge do not come close to nurses feel superior and big over nurses.

I have personally seen a situation at a hospital where people who have undergone just six month training in physiotherapy are treated better than nurses. These 6 six months trainees are given meals every afternoon by the hospital from the hospital coffers and nurses who form the majority of the hospital staff are left out with impunity.

This is the level the dignity and the sanctity of nursing is reduced to by its own leadership, what a shame!!

Nurses are made to perform responsibilities which are inherently outside their professional prescriptions and are held responsible for any unfortunate outcomes.

There have been several instances where other professionals within the healthcare team mess up  and nurses and made to take the fall by either fighting prosecution on their own or face suspension at the hospitals and these same DDNS who are supposed to throw their weight behind nurses rather collaborate with the doctors and defend them instead.

I witnessed  a nasty situation where a nurse was forced to change nurses notes to protect a doctor to prevent what could have been a possible minefield of legal tussle but the situation is a reverse for them.

Most of these DDNS abjectly kowtow to these unprofessional behaviour because most are clouded in inferiority complex, they see themselves inferior to doctors all because of shallow educational background.

I received the shock of my life when l saw an advertisement in the dailies for director position of the council and the qualification attached was DDNS, l said what!

Does being DDNS qualifies someone to hold the highest position and the most renowned position when we know that about 90% of these DDNS completed SRN some 50yrs ago have since never been to anywhere to upgrade their knowledge in any field.

What innovative skills and ideas is such a candidate going to offer to elevate the prospect of the profession when in indeed we currently have a lot of people who have knowledge and better qualifications in the various field of study in nursing who when given the opportunity could lead this intellectual revolution well deserving.

To be honest most of these DDNS are primitive and very restrictive in their thinking ways  and are disconnected from the emerging innovations who will do everything to block and intimidate young ones  who want to expand their horizon to help save a profession which is sinking low into the annals of academic doom.

I employ the up and coming nurses to come together and fight these injustices and the chains of bureaucratic anomalies toward the restoration of competent men and women to lead the fortunes of the profession. Placing the future of such a glommi ng profession to falter at the sick discretion of people who are naive and ignorant about modern trends of leadership will naturally demand judgement from the current generation.

There are lot of incentives nurses in other jurisdictions are enjoying and even in Ghana their colleague doctors enjoy such goodies yet no effort is being made to renovate this sick development favor nurses.

Incapable of drawing policies and programs and engage in active discussions with government to project the welfare of professionals who spend much time at the hospitals than any other health professional, l suggest it's a cause for radical intellectual revolution to flush them out. That's not to say they have not pay their debt to the state, they have done a good job but modern development requires modern approach and the youth are good to roll it.

Start this revolution where ever you are and fight for your right if you are a nurse and if you believe nurses deserve better.

The continual ruling of the profession by these individuals whose priority is to fight over insignificant title-belt instead of seeking knowledge and good welfare.

These sick development has locked lot of potentials in most nurses who have what it takes to do great things to think they are just nurses and that's all, after all I'm just a nurse phrase,shy most nurses away from contributing to debates encircling their welfare. Every facet of the profession is choked with intimidation, repressiveness, anti-intellectualism and inappropriate subordination.

This is the time to rise and claim your legitimate entitlement. You are not just a nurse, unlock your potentials, all these while the old cabal made you think you are just a nurse who belong to the bedside and you are not useful for any other stuffs. It's time to confront and challenge these assertions and prove your worth, the revolution to end the era of these old gurus sinking the image profession with administrative cluelessness starts now.

The decision is yours if your a nurse. My next article is directed to Ghana Football Association (GFA), it will chronicle the usual hallmark of thievery and corruption!! Don't miss it!!

The bible is my witness ...Ivan Kyei Innocent.(2017) From Ivan Kyei Innocent, 0247892010/ nanakyei81@gmail.com.