The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) has charged all nurses across the country to aim at achieving professional excellence, amidst several challenges rocking the profession, which are capable of distracting the nurses from their core responsibility as caregivers in the society.
NMCN representative, Ms Ijeoma Ohajuru, made this remark, while addressing nurse leaders in Lagos at the 3rd interactive forum for nurse leaders in Lagos State, organised by Healthy Living Communications, which was held at the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR),Yaba, Lagos, on April 19th, 2013.
Attesting to the fact that technological advancement is on the rise in the health care delivery system where the nurse is a key player, she said professional excellence in nursing would only be achievable through Professional Development Programmes (PDP), as these encourage nurses to apply learning directly to their field of practice.
She defined professional development as “the conscious updating of professional knowledge and the improvement of professional competence throughout a person’s work life.”
Since PDP is a must for every nurse to attain professional excellence, she highlighted the various means through which this could be obtained to include:in-house courses and external courses, which are further divided into: work-based learning; distance learning programmes; self-directed private study; preparation and delivery of lectures and presentations; attendance at lectures; seminars or conferences.
“The sole essence of PDP is to assist nurses in the continued acquisition of new knowledge, extension of professional responsibilities, expansion of personal skills and the improvement of problem solving approaches in profession” she explained.
Encouraging nurses to overlook their challenges, while striving to attain professional excellence, she enumerated some of the difficulties encountered in the process of professional development to include shortage of manpower, inadequate infrastructure, poor remuneration, hostile work environment and lack of academic backing for graduates of hospital based programme.
She also added that this PDP is mandatory for all nurses, especially those in government employment, because the renewal of their licenses will not be possible, except they have undertaken at least two modules within three years.
Speaking on the topic “The challenges of the nurse leaders today”, Mrs A.O. Oluwatayo, a retired matron, urged younger nurses to upgrade their academic portfolio by going for their degrees and masters in nursing science, adding that this will serve as a great relief to the shortage of human resources currently delaying the commencement of the colleges of nursing.
Oluwatayo, who recalled from the last nurse leaders conference she attended, said the commencement of the colleges of nursing was one of the main issues discussed, and the major factor delaying this operation is the lack of nurses to serve as lecturers in the colleges. Thus, she encouraged as many nurses as possible, who are still agile, to upgrade themselves for this purpose and others.
On the roles of nurse leaders in the hospital, she highlighted them as follows: envisioning goals, affirming values, motivating, managing, achieving workable unity, explaining, modeling and renewing.
Earlier, Mr. Emmanuel Oriakhi, managing director, Healthy Living Communications, appreciated the nurses for attending the conference, despite their tight schedules and assignments. He said the issues of focus in the forum have been geared towards uplifting nursing practitioners and the nursing profession, as a whole.
“I have received several testimonies of how many lives have been transformed professionally by the issues discussed at this forum. Of particular note is the awareness on the need for nurses to improve their education, as a way of not only advancing professionally, but also competing and coping with other healthcare professionals,” he remarked.
L-R, Ms Ijeoma Ohajuru, NMCN representative, Mr. Emmanuel Oriakhi, managing director, Healthy Living Communications, and Mrs A.O. Oluwatayo at the event.