May 13, 2010 News
Emphasis was directed to the improvement of the quality of nursing care when the West Demerara Regional Hospital engaged a panel discussion as part of its effort to observe Nurses Day yesterday.
Every year May 12 is regarded as Nurses’ Day, a day on which the work of nurses is aptly recognised. According to nursing representative for the West Demerara District, Ward Sister Jeavon Dolphin, in recognition of the fact that this year has been labelled International Year of the Nurse, the Region Three Hospital has seen it as fitting to offer its input in helping to improve the nursing profession.
This year has been designated International Year of the Nurse because it is the centennial year of the death of the founder of modern nursing – Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). And improving the profession, Nurse Dolphin said is necessary as nurses are being urged to embrace the Florence Nightingale initiative which requests that nurses either retired or practicing volunteer at least 100 minutes of nursing care to the profession.
“We are asking nurses to go to any health facility and give of their time starting from today (yesterday) until December,” Nurse Dolphin disclosed.
And in order to foster the support of nurses, she said that the West Demerara Hospital decided to host a panel discussion spearheaded by senior officials within the public health sector.
According to Executive Member of the Guyana’s Nurses Association (GNA) and former Matron of the GPHC, Sister Marva Hawker, who was a member of the panel yesterday, there is no short cut for nursing care. “Regardless of how old you are or how young you are in nursing, care is always one way. As a nurse you need to be very careful always.”
She is of the firm opinion that nursing is not a job but rather should be a passion reflected by a genuinely caring individual. In caring too, Sister Hawker noted that there is also the need for making sacrifice even in the absence of physical reward.
The foremost and ultimate reward to be had, Sister Hawker said “is seeing mother and child come out alive after a delivery. Or a patient may be un-conscientious or semi-conscientious; your joy and happiness would be to see that patient walk out of hospital and get home.”
In light of the fact that nursing care seems to be heading downhill, Hawker noted that she is pleading with the younger nurses that “we need to be more caring, give more empathy and communicate more with our patients, be very close to them. Ever so often patients lying in bed just need a gentle touch, a kind word or even a smile.”
It is crucial she added that nurses change their attitude towards nursing, even as she emphasised the need for persons within the profession to behave in a more professional manner.
“Gone are the days when somebody just look at a person in or out of uniform and they say that you are either a nurse or a teacher and this is because of the way you carry yourself, how you express yourself and you are always there to help.”
And while there is always the need for added remuneration, Sister Hawker asserted that “money is not all there is. Let us try to get the blessing from the God who will give us the energy and the faith to go on.”
It is the conviction of Health Visitor, Linda Johnson, a practising nurse for more than 20 years, that nurses themselves are not satisfied with the current state of the profession as it has been observed that persons are not respectful of nurses as they were in the past.
This she attributes to the fact that nurses have moved away from having high moral within the nursing
profession. In the past, she said that nurses were given due respect, a state of affairs that have gradually diminished over the years.
So respected were nurses, she said, that they were given priority even when travelling. “Today some nurses behave in a way that does not encourage people to respect them. Some nurses behave like the common people in the streets and they themselves cause people not to have that kind of respect for them and the attention they use to get.”
However, it is the view of Nurse Johnson that if nurses would reflect on the pledge they made when they entered the nursing profession they would be more inclined to improve the current state of nursing care.
The Florence Nightingale Pledge for instance, she said, urges nurses to go beyond measures for clients. “We are expected to go the extra mile…When you look at a person you look at them holistically…we know that man is a bio-psychosocial being and when you see a patient you are not just looking at their sickness but their social life as well.”
It is for this reason, she related that efforts have been made to direct nursing care into the community thus there problems are not only addressed at the hospital level but also a community one as well.
“We are looking at how patients’ illnesses are affecting their family…we would like also that nurses would go into that real arena of being there for family and not just offer medical care…”
With a heightened sense of dedication, Nurse Johnson is confident that nursing is well on its way to a very fitting transformation that will in fact coincide with the theme of Nursing Day ‘Quality, serving communities: Nurses leading chronic care.’
Meanwhile yesterday the GNA, through Nurse Dolphin, extended a special nurses day greeting to the nurses of the St Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in light of Monday’s conflagration and their displacement.
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