GPHC nurse highlights importance of accessing health care early
Seeking health care too late can without a doubt proves to be detrimental to
some patients. In fact, according to Staff Nurse attached to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Joanne Blenman, some patients attempt to access health care only when they are confronted with issues that cannot be reversed.
Nurse Blenman’s disclosure was forthcoming Wednesday as she applied the finishing touches to a diabetic foot care booth which represented part of a health fair held through the collaboration of the GTM Insurance Companies and the GPHC. The fair was held at the GTM’s Robb and Hinck Streets, Georgetown office.
As part of the commemoration of International Nurses’ Week, the nursing staff contribution was intended to raise awareness about the need to access health care regularly and in a timely way.
According to Nurse Blenman, “although there might be both good and bad coming from some in the nursing profession, all we want to do today (Wednesday) is to reflect on what nurses actually represent in terms of the health care system.” She pointed out that despite the fact that nurses are faced with a plethora of challenges on a daily basis there are a lot of things “we do in providing health care for our citizens…”
Last Wednesday’s activity, she said, was instrumental in helping nurses not only to deliver a service, but also to step out of the hospital setting and directly sensitise members of the public of the importance of doing simple things such as having their blood pressure tested or even having their feet examined.
“A lot of patients we see at the health centres and hospitals are coming way too late, when problems are exacerbated and there is nothing really we can do, so we are using this forum to sensitise the public. We can’t have the whole nursing staff out here, but we are aiming at ensuring that persons are aware of certain things pertaining to their health such as eye care, testing for diabetes and other conditions.”
The sensitisation strategy, Nurse Blenman said, is geared at helping individuals to be better self-managers even as nurses anticipate improvements in the health care system, inclusive of better working conditions and better working hours. She noted that despite the odds, there are many nurses who are committed to going the extra mile and are therefore always willing to emphasise the importance of utilising the services offered at the public hospital. Speaking to the issue of diabetes, Nurse Blenman noted that individuals could use common parameters such as their family’s history and their ethnicity, even as she revealed that persons of African descent are more predisposed to being diagnosed with the disease. “Don’t wait until something goes wrong then come in to find out you have diabetes, because what we found is that several patients at the diabetic foot centre at the GPHC only come when there is an injury to the foot or when the foot is almost gone and we really can’t salvage it. Sometimes when persons find out that they are diabetic it is some time after an injury occurs.”
Nurse Blenman noted further that while some persons may not be willing to wait to access medical care because of the crowding situation that obtains at some health facilities, it is in their best interest to see beyond a large number of persons in waiting and ensure that they gain the needed care. She also made reference to the fact that waiting to access medical care is not unique to Guyana.
However, in an attempt to help address the problem of crowding at health facilities, Nurse Blenman asserted that it was for this very reason that primary health care systems were introduced. This, she said, was designed to ensure that persons are able to access health services within their community rather than flock to the GPHC.
“There will always be emergencies, and at times, the ability of health care providers may not be the way you might want, so it is often best to access services in your own community.”