For the Nigerian healthcare system to be truly patient-centred and effective in reducing morbidity and mortality to the barest minimum, it is imperative for all practitioners to lay aside interprofessional conflict and work together in harmony.
This was the summary of submissions made by medical practitioners at the 8th edition of the Healthcare Industry Interactive Forum for Nurse Leaders, held on 6 July 2018, at the Sickle Cell Centre, Idi-Araba, Lagos.
Notable among the facilitators of the programme were: Chief Emmanuel Oriakhi, CEO, Healthy Living Communications and convener of the forum; Prof. Mustapha Danesi, consultant neurologist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH); Mrs Dorcas O. Shonibare, director, Nursing Services, Lagos State Ministry of Health; Dr George Opaku, former president, Nigerian Medical Association; Alh. Faruk Umar, registrar, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, represented by Mrs Bolaji D Shonde; Pharm. (Mrs) Claire Omatseye, founder/CEO, JNCI Ltd. and president, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria; Mrs Oreofe Iyanuoluwa Ojo, lecturer, Department of Nursing, University of Ibadan.
According to Dr Opaku, the essence of effective healthcare delivery is positive patient outcome, which, if jeopardised through rivalry or any other means, can render the healthcare delivery system worthless.
“Every member of the healthcare team must realise that no man is an island on his own and without the collaborative efforts of others, there cannot be successful patient outcomes,” he said.
On how to make the interprofessional collaboration drive a reality in the nation’s health sector, the former NMA president said that the involvement and inputs of all the professional heads in the sector were indispensable.
“My advocacy is to call a meeting were three members of each professional group sit together and work out the modalities for peace, because when they agree at that small level, it will be easy for those leaders to disseminate and sell their idea to others”, Opaku stated.
Addressing the issue of emoluments, Opaku noted that while salaries may not be equal; there is need to respect each professional in the team.
In his words: “I cannot work in my hospital without a nurse and my salary can’t be the same as hers but that doesn’t mean I should look down on her. If I respect her, things will go on well among us and in the interest of the patient.
“We must continue to seek means to work in harmony, as conflict will take us nowhere, because the nurses are the neck while the doctors are the head and once the neck is cut off, then definitely the head is gone as well.”
Prof. Danesi, in his contribution, urged every practitioner to prioritise patients’ interest above personal interest, noting that since healthcare is a partnership between the patient and the healthcare providers, the patient is important to healthcare delivery.
“We must always take patient care seriously and always make healthcare safe, effective, efficient and equitable for the patient, while everyone must be given their right of place in the team”, he asserted.
Speaking on the topic, “The role of nurse leasers in revamping the healthcare system in Nigeria”, Pharm. Omatseye described the nurse leadership role as a strategic one, especially because it has much influence on their subordinates.
“It is the backbone of the entire nursing system, because whatever a nurse will do is as a result of what their leaders are guiding them to do,” Omatseye said.
The JNCI boss, who was represented by the Group Head of Sales, JNCI Ltd., Mrs Ronke Adiele, explained that the nurse leader must be a motivator, who can get his or her team members to work together.
She added that the competent nurse leader must be transformational in approach and must always consider the best interest of the patient, the hospital and the nursing team. This she said would ensure that there is synergy in the system, as well as special patient outcome and fulfillment for the nursing team.
Omatseye equally stressed the need for nurse leaders to positively impact the younger generation, noting that this will enhance teamwork and bring about excellent patient outcomes.
The convener of the programme, Chief Oriakhi, the 8th edition of the forum was worth celebrating, as his organisation, Healthy Living Communications, had recently begun to engage the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) for certification of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for participation in the programme.
According to him, “We are looking at accrediting CPD points for attending this programme, and that is the work of the NMCN. We hope that by this time next year, we should be able to issue these things. We also advanced very significantly the issue of interprofessional collaboration on the forum’s platform.
“I’m happy to say that the nursing council is willing to accredit CPD for interprofessional collaboration for nurses and midwives in Nigeria through this forum. This implies taking this programme to every nook and cranny of Nigeria, to the six geo-political zones of the country.”