I came into nursing with high hopes. Went through school with enthusiasm doing all I was told and even went the extra mile to study at my free time. Gratefully, I passed the NMCN qualifying exam and entered fully into nursing practice.
Was opportune to work in a small but mighty private hospital for a few months before proceeding for post basic in midwifery. While I worked as a nurse in this private hospital, virtually every procedure was my procedure. From admission processes to assisting in the theatres for C-section, which was the most common, to other major surgeries that I only heard of before that time. Although trained in a teaching hospital, I only looked after some of these patients while on the wards. I was among the few that did theatre posting back then in my set.
I did everything including clerking some patients. I was enjoying the whole thing until I realized that I was venturing into a field that was completely out of my jurisdiction as a Nigerian trained and registered nurse with the NMCN. When I asked the in charge why we did so much work yet did not get the proportional renumeration, I was shocked by her response.
She said, ‘Joy if you don’t do it, they will get others to do it and even pay them less’. By others, she meant the quacks. I was heartbroken, I started to think how I could cause a change but there was none especially because I needed the job at the time to feed myself and my kids. So, I was handicapped.
Believe me when I say I know how it feels when people with good intensions do not do anything because they lack the means because I was there.
I was glad when my late friend told me about the midwifery forms on sale, I took it without blinking an eyelid. Went to school with the desire to come back and effect the change I wanted. But I was in for a shocker when I went to school and discovered that in some of the training hospitals, many procedures were taken from the nurses and the midwives as not being their procedure.
I watched as I saw these professionals handing over their roles to other members of the team. For instance, in the teaching hospitals, the midwives no longer take deliveries. The house officers and junior registrars do and when complications arise, they call their superiors.
The trained midwife and experienced who has had numerous encounters with normal and complicated deliveries is now watching and waiting for the babies to clean and dress them up.
She only monitors the process but never get to partake in the delivery except otherwise. This made me to wonder, why we did all the labor processes including normal and complicated if it is ‘not our procedure’ to take deliveries when we eventually get employed in these ‘big’ hospitals.
While we talked about the roles of the midwives being hijacked, the general nursing roles is not left out. I heard that nurses in teaching hospitals no longer cannulate except in accident and emergency/casualty department. Really? Even intravenous medications are included because it is ‘not our procedure’.
I understand that the only way an individual cannot carry out a procedure is when they do not have the right training and qualification to do so. Are nurses no longer trained to do these procedures or what? Are there questions about the NMCN curriculum or what?
Is there something about these procedures that are not included in the manuals provided by NMCN for training or what? If the aim is to teach the student doctors, so they can master their skills, what happens to the student nurses who are also training in these hospitals?
Well, I ponder on this, I took a more critical look at the attitude of the nurses themselves who are rather happy that their ‘load of work’ is reduced instead of mourning that we are being deskilled and relegated to the background.
Have you thought of it that, when you do not do these procedures for the patients, we may also not matter in the decision making for the care of these patients?
We are gradually being pushed away from the patient’s side which is our position in the first place. All we are left with is observe vital signs, even that too, I understand that some ‘special’ nurses no longer engage in such tasks. It is meant for the newly qualified or the most junior staff on duty.
It is not ‘our senior colleagues’ procedure’ anymore. Haba Joy, don’t you have respect for your seniors, why should they work while they have junior nurses with them? No o, I have respect and am well cultured in this profession to know that every registrant is responsible for the patients in their care.
I heard that bed bathing too is no longer ‘our procedure’. It is the duty of the relatives to bath their loved ones. I used to see reason why we do not have the time to do this procedure especially in the busy government hospitals but not anymore. If all things are equal, then we will be able to do what we should. Those things that are ‘our procedures’ as taught in the schools of training.
Nursing is universal, and all these procedures and even more are performed by the nurse in the developed world. So, if you are thinking of relocating yet you have certain procedures taha are not our procedures in mind, you will be in for a big surprise because they are all ‘our procedures’.
I sincerely yearn for a revolution in nursing. A change in nursing education, practice and administration will resolve all these issues of what is ‘our procedure and that which is not. Thus, rebuild the image of nursing in the sight of the public, especially in the developing world.
Thank you for reading.
I am just a #concernednurse
Joy Ojonile Agagwu©