Yesterday (May 12, 2022), the world marked International Nurses’ Day, celebrated annually in memory of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. It is also to honour the nurse as an invaluable resource and raise awareness of the challenges nurses face.
Florence Nightingale, hailed as an icon of the nursing career was a caring nurse, known for making hospitals a cleaner and safer place, where there was guaranteed basic comfort for patients.
Clearly, Nightingale demonstrated her true calling for nursing and worked hard to bring comfort to her patients even in the lack of adequate resources.
These noble values of Nightingale were valiantly demonstrated by nurses when COVID-19 broke out in the country in March 2020. Although they were unprepared for such a huge emergency, they sacrificed their time and energy and demonstrated their love and caring spirit by working around the clock to bring relief to the afflicted in the wards.
The Daily Graphic salutes our gallant nurses for their strong sense of patriotism not only in times of COVID-19 but for their readiness to work in deprived and rural areas as well.
Our nurses play a critical role in primary healthcare delivery, often being the first and sometimes only health professionals a patient will see.
The nurses are the first point of contact and key players in the hospitals and that underlines their great role to humanity.
They contribute to research, disease prevention, treat the injured, administer palliative care, among others. They are the true unsung heroes on the frontlines of disease prevention and care.
Nurses touch people of all ages, ethnic groups, backgrounds and communities. They work tirelessly to care for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the sick and the vulnerable.
Challenges in nursing are unique because of the level of investment nurses have in their work. They get to know their patients, care about their needs and play an important part in their patients’ recovery. They make a difference in the countless lives they touch despite the daily challenges in nursing.
Emphasising the true value of our nurses and the central role they have to play in influencing change can transform the future of health care in the country.
As our population is increasing at a fast rate, so are our health needs. Our nurses must, therefore, be supported and equipped to render efficient health care to the public.
It is important that the country continues to produce highly skilled health professionals, especially nurses and midwives, who spend more time directly with patients.
There is a need to improve nursing and midwifery practice through higher education by increasing the quota for post-basic nursing and midwifery programmes as well as the specialist programmes at the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives.
Apart from that, there is the need to make the nursing profession attractive to those who have received “the calling” for the job, and also keep them in the profession for long.
This requires basic and decent accommodation for our nurses, capacity-building programmes and incentives to boost their output.
While we entreat our nurses to give their best with the limited resources at their disposal, we also expect the government to commit greater zeal and resources to the nurses’ welfare.
Clearly, the government is accelerating efforts to improve access to quality health for the entire citizenry and those efforts are evident in new CHPS compounds and the Agenda 111 district hospital projects across the country.
However, some nurses continue to leave their jobs, citing the lack of a favourable working environment and some basic incentives at their duty posts.
The Daily Graphic takes this opportunity to call on the government to commit the necessary resources and investment to help improve the attractiveness of the nursing profession. This will require proper equipment, better working conditions, appropriate education, career development opportunities and job creation.
We say ayekoo to our dear nurses.