…as leadership for change programme is assessed
By Sharmain Cornette
Intended to assess the progress of a leadership for change programme being undertaken in Guyana, Nursing Consultant Paddie Blaney of the International Council of Nurses, Geneva, Switzerland, is here, and has being engaging nurses from the public as well as the private sector.
The programme, which is being delivered through the Guyana Nurses Association (GNA), has been ongoing for some time and is geared at improving the state of nursing locally.
According to Blaney, during an interview with this newspaper, the leadership for change programme is in fact a global programme which is currently being undertaken in 10 Latin American/Caribbean countries, five African nations, two in Europe, and six in the Middle East, among others.
The programme was founded by the Kellogg Foundation and initially introduced in Latin America. Having initiated the first phase of the programme (a trainer of trainers session) in a country, the ICN would then certify a suitable organisation to deliver the programme on a sustainable basis. In the local scenario, the GNA was entrusted with this mandate but the programme remains the property of the ICN, Blaney asserted. In total, about 35 countries have embraced the programme.
Blaney noted that the programme has five components and is delivered in the same manner to nurses worldwide. It is characterised by several workshops and participating nurses are exposed to learning activities which they engage in between workshops.
Mentorship is also a crucial part of the programme.
“The mentorship process entails them (nurses) engaging a mentor to help them develop their attitude, develop their behaviour and there is an individual development plan where they develop and actually set goals and objectives which they work towards.”
The participating nurses themselves are expected to become mentors at the end of the programme, Blaney asserted.
The entire programme is set over an 18-month period which is intended to be an individual development plan. The participating nurses are also usually required to engage in team projects, which are aimed at changing or improving some aspects of nursing or health in the local sector.
“The same five components of the programme are undertaken across the world but the participants here are only about a quarter of the way into the programme.
All of the components work together to actually create and release in them strong leadership potentials.”
Blaney stressed that the potential that will be released will not only serve the nurses in their current jobs, but could be useful in the nursing environment over the next 15 years.
It is Blaney’s opinion that if Guyana’s health system is aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of the population; if the government is seeking to improve the chronic diseases delivery care and increase public health education to decrease illnesses and injuries, then the participating nurses will in fact be playing key roles in the future.
Some 18 nurses are currently a part of the programme being delivered through the GNA. “They will be instrumental in helping to lead that change in care and service,” Blaney insisted.
It was just recently that the GNA emphasised the fact that nurses are important and may even be considered an indispensable asset to a thriving health sector; hence every effort must be engaged to ensure that the nursing service is provided by capable and aptly qualified persons.
But according to GNA members, in order for nursing to be positively transformed there is an urgent need for the nursing profession to be fully managed by nurses, a state of affairs that does currently exist locally.
This situation, the GNA believes, leaves nurses with a sense of inability to offer valuable input to the service they are tasked with providing.
“Nurses understand nursing intimately and they can better represent nursing issues…There is a consensus that nurses should be allowed to manage nursing.
Lots of times it has been expressed that there is a feeling that we are not given the opportunity or the chance to manage our affairs for ourselves and we would like to see that change.”
According to the GNA, there is a cry within the ranks of nurses today that their service is not being aptly valued.
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