Dec 07, 2021 Letters
Kaieteur News – Some nurses in Guyana have failed to emulate what a true nurse should be. As a bona fide Guyanese and British-trained representative of the health profession, I have always held in high esteem my fellow colleagues, at the same time holding dear the Florence Nightingale Pledge, which states in part: “I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession.
The current health care system in Guyana leaves much to be desired especially in the face of the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Among its glaring deficiencies are fragmented and impersonal delivery of service, and frequency of adverse events, not to mention inadequate medical staffing.
Such a situation immediately brings into focus the vital role that nurses play, and the pledge makes this notion further pellucid. Plainly stated, nurses are the backbone of every healthcare system.
Therefore, it was with unmitigated consternation that I read of nurses being caught recently during a sting operation selling COVID-19 vaccine cards, and pocketing the ill-gotten proceeds. To further worsen matters, once nabbed, the culprit implicated twelve of her colleagues, guilty of committing the same offence. On October 17, 2021, two nurses attached to the One Mile Health Centre in Linden were caught following a sting operation between the Regional Health Department and the Region 10 Police Division selling COVID-19 vaccination books.
It is at this juncture that I beg to digress, for they were certainly not “nursing”, but clearly “pursing”. It has oftentimes been said, “If you cannot be a nurse then pray to God, you don’t become a curse”. The behaviour of these professional miscreants have dealt a black eye to the Guyana Nursing Council Board, who must from here on screen prospective applicants more carefully, and by extension, nurses the world over. When a nurse exhibits dishonest behaviour such as theft, it impacts the public’s trust negatively in the profession and may present a risk to public safety. No longer will she be held in high esteem.
What adds another level of severity and disdain to this professionally noxious miasma is that at the time of the illicit sales, and the deepening pandemic Region 10’s vaccination rate was among one of the lowest vaccination percentages in the country (30%). How could nurses who swore to honour the Nursing Pledge, risk the lives of others for their own lucrative benefit?
The selling of the books could be viewed as being tantamount to passing secrets to the enemy, for having the book, even illegally, automatically subverting the government’s directives that persons must be vaccinated before entering public buildings and that all government workers must be vaccinated. The enemy is now in possession of the required information given to him/ her them directly from the source. While the crime perpetrated may fail to attain the severity as that of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who paid the ultimate price for attempting to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviets, I nevertheless tenaciously cling to the firm belief that three years imprisonment is a mere slap on the wrist. A clear message must be sent, an example must be made, and a heavy price must be paid, so that the memory of these dastardly unprofessional acts will never fade.
Nursing is considered to be among the most sensitive of professions, all nursing actions are supposed to reflect ethical as well as moral principles. Dishonesty is never justified, as it violates the trust placed in the nurse.
Engaging in dishonest acts in one way or another sets a grave problem to the nursing profession. This is because as more dishonest individuals stream into the nursing profession, the level of dishonesty in the nursing profession dramatically increases. On a final note, would these professionals also be facing sanctions from their Nursing Licensing Board?
Y. Sam R.N., S.C.M., R.M.N., BSc.N., M.Ed., Dip. Adult Ed
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