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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Columnist: Cliff Kakra Boakye

The nursing profession ‘a job opportunity’ or ‘passion to serve’

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According to Graphic Online news report by Seth j Bokpe on 9th August, 2017, there are about 75 accredited institutions training nurses in Ghana.

In 2017 about 7,335 students were admitted to various public institutions alone and about 899 were admitted into private nursing training institutions in the 2016/2017 academic year.

These large numbers of student admissions is encouraging and may give hope to the ordinary Ghanaian, as more student intake means more dedicated and committed nurses are going to be produced in the near future to augment the workforce of the Health sector.

This is however not always the case as the attitude, character, commitment levels and the dedication of some nurses towards patients have big question mark.

This is because the core values of the nursing profession such as social justice, caring, respect for self and others, advocacy and ethical behavior e.g. not discriminating against patients in the course of performing their duties, safeguarding client’s/patient’s confidence, dedication etc. are not exhibited by some Ghanaian nurses especially in the public hospitals.

A nurse is expected to give care, comfort and solace to a patient who needs help. Some nurses’ pre-admission contact with patients have been hostile, unsupportive and discouraging. This then brings us to the question of whether the nursing profession is a job opportunity or a passion to serve the good people of Ghana.

It is a high time that measures are put in place to ensure that nurses regard their service as core responsibility and not doing the ordinary Ghanaian a favour.

First and foremost, Ghanaian nurses should be reoriented by way of teaching them to know that patients have the right to considerate and respectful care, and to be made comfortable. They have the right to respect for their personal values and beliefs.

Secondly, there should be a unit set up at every hospital in the country that will receive complaints of ill treatment or any such acts of indiscipline towards patients by nurses. Nurses who are found culpable should then be made to face a disciplinary committee and punished. This will serve as a deterrent to others to be of good behavior.

Again, authorities in charge of admission of nursing students should take a second look at the selection process during interviews. Interviews should not just be a formality, a matter of ‘’who knows who” or who has paid what, rather the focus should be on those with good emotional characteristics and those with “A PASSION TO SERVE”.

Interviewers should also have the skill that will enable them to fish out prospective students who are seeking admission because of “JOB OPPORTUNITY”( i.e. seeking admission because of perception that nurses after school easily get employed in the health sector because they are in high demand). This category of prospective applicants in my opinion should be denied admission.

It is important for all to note that, Negative attitudes of nurses have the potential of delaying patients’ recovery rate which negatively affects productivity through reduced employee engagement.

Let me hasten to add that there are some nurses who have worked passionately and saved millions of Ghanaian lives in hospitals across the country. May God bless and increase them as they continue to serve with their hearts. God bless these God fearing nurses again and God bless Mother Ghana.