In order to advance nursing and healthcare in Nigeria, healthcare providers, especially nurses, must begin to exploit emerging technological advancement for effective services, create smart educational models for leadership development and reconceptualise their roles in the healthcare delivery system.
This was the unanimous submission of speakers during the recent scientific conference of the West African College of Nursing (WACN) held at the Federal Neuro- Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.
Speaking on the theme of the six-day conference (“Advancing nursing and healthcare: the emerging possibilities and challenges”), the keynote speaker, Associate Professor Florence Adeyemo, said that nurses must leverage technological innovations around them in order to remain relevant in the profession.
Prof. Adeyemo who acknowledged that there are certain challenges in the profession, urged nurses to always see opportunities in their challenges, saying that it is their duty as nurses to see the opportunities in challenges.
Her words: “Nurses are well positioned to help meet the evolving needs of the healthcare system. Thus, to equip and educate ourselves and be in line with current trends is our responsibility. But any nurse that won’t align with educational development, who is nonchalant about technologically advancement will be gradually phased out”.
She further stressed the need for nurses to remodel the way they practise and make clinical decisions, adding that nurse leaders and teachers must rethink the processes of teaching their subordinates patient-centred care.
“They must rise to the challenges of providing leadership in rapidly changing healthcare milieu and evolving healthcare system,” she said.
Adeyemo maintained that nurses must expand their vision of what it is to be a nurse professional, while the society must amend archaic regulations, attitudes, policies, and habits that unnecessarily restrict the innovative contributions that nursing profession can bring to healthcare.
President of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) Comrade Abdrafiu Adeniji appreciated the nurses for participating in the workshop, despite the current harsh economic condition, saying it was a worthwhile effort.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with Pharmanews at the event, Comrade Adeniji condemned the implementation style of the World Health Organisations’ “Task Shifting” policy in Nigeria, stating that the policy is not achieving its goal in the country.
Defining the aim of “Task Shifting”, he said that the policy was meant to take care of manpower shortage in the health sector, but the main concept and the good aspect of it is that wherever there are no adequately trained health professionals, people who are lower than the health practitioners in the knowledge of the practice can be trained in the profession and some responsibilities can be shifted to them.
The number one nurse however lamented that the laudable goal of the policy have been converted into ‘Task Deprivation’ instead of Task Shifting, as there are countless numbers of nurses on the street without jobs.
“In Nigeria, what we have seen is that there is lot of politicisation of all these policies, and it is destroying the health sector. Although a meeting was held with NANNM and the Nursing Council where we were informed about the development, the meeting was inconclusive. And what they are using as their working paper today is not a concluded paper.
“According to the principle of Task Shifting, if I must shift a task, as a professional nurse, I must be the one to supervise the project. And the work is not going to leave my custody until I’m satisfied with the quality of the job. As it is in Nigeria today, the concept of Task Shifting does not only affect nurses, it supposes to cut across all other medical practices: medical profession, pharmacy, laboratory sciences, and others. What the Federal Government is trying to do is to beg the issue, and there is no way an association can append to that, because it is not a concluded issue”, he said.
In her contribution, the executive secretary of WACN, Mrs Henrietta Okedo, reiterated the importance of technological development in nursing service, as she narrated her experiences in other countries.
She noted that nurses in Malawi, Cape Town and North America are already enhancing their practices through the use of smartphones, manikins and other new gadgets.
She noted that Nigerian nurses cannot be left behind in the wake of the proliferation of these electronic tools, adding that such devices will make the practice easier and smarter for them to enjoy.