It is often disheartening and painful, whenever one hears or reads about people ridiculing the nursing profession. Though its almost becoming a norm, I still get a whole lof of discomf when people heap blames on Nurses and Doctors, either for views on mismanagement of patients, their deaths or otherwise.
Blaming of health workers by the populace for acts of commission or omission is not new, but the trend is getting more alarming these days, hence the need for us (nurses in particular) to rise up to the challenge.
In the past weeks, there were reports in the social media of how some men threatened to sue hospital authorities for the death of their wives during childbirth. The one that touched me most was that of Mr. Ngosi Uchebuego, whose wife died at FMC Asaba, after undergoing a caesarian section with the delivery of two baby girls. The husband claimed the death of his wife was because of carelessness of the Doctors and Nurses.
I commiserate with the man, and my heart bleeds for him, for his was an irreparable loss. The CMD of the hospital has come out to counter his accusation as being unfair and promised that further inquiry on the conditions surrounding the death of his wife.
While reading the account of the incident as given by the man himself, something struck my mind. I assumed some of the words used by him; might be because of the pain he was going through, he as well sounded like one out of numerous difficult relatives nurses come across in their line of work. At several instances, he used foul languages in describing the doctors and nurses… I quote him
MY WIFE DID NOT DIE MY WIFE WAS KILLED BY SOME WICKED AND HEARTLESS PEOPLE WHO CLAIMED TO BE DOCTORS AND NURSES.
THREE PINTS OF BLOOD WHICH I EARLIER PAID FOR, BUT WAS DENIED BY THE WICKED NIGERIA DOCTORS AND NURSES
WHAT IS HAPPENING I SHOUTED, ONE USELESS NURSE SHOUTED BACK….
I learnt so many lessons from this particular incident, and the various comments on the social media. People already have some stereotipical belief about health workers; nurses in particular. Many commented that nurses are wicked and inhuman. Even when patients/relatives refuse to comply in doing what is right, the blame will be on the caregiver. The patient/relatives know that about 90% of the population would support them.
It is of utmost importance that we as nurse do what is ethically acceptable at all times, not minding the attitude of the receiver. It is time we go back to what our ethics and values are. A nurse must know what to do, when and how to do it. She must always place the patient at the center of care, as the utmost priority.
The legal role of the nurse includes providing safe, competent care to the client in such a way that the client does not come to any harm, giving of alternative and outcome of care to patient, providing adequate supervision and evaluation of subordinates for whom you are responsible.
A nurse must know her rights, and know that the patient has rights also. It is always better to work as a team with other health workers; Doctors, laboratory scientists, pharmacists’ e.t.c. while doing so, the nurse must be vigilant. It is a common knowledge that Doctors always stick together in times of trouble, while truth be told "nurses are fond of stabbing one another at the back".
In my years of practice as a Nurse and a healthcare provider, I have come across various types and categories of nurses, there are the strict by the book nurses, those who are the very definition of nurses as described by florence nightingale and lastly the pretty much very lazy nurses that find it difficult to document things they do for patients.
Documentation is an integral part of nursing practice. No matter how small you feel what you did is, it might stand for you when trouble arise. Vital signs, medication and progress report, and the likes should never be left undocumented.
As long as hospitals still remain the place where people go to get health care, there would always be claims of mismanagement of patients. It is on our part to do what is right always. Remember the principle of beneficence (doing good to all) and Non-maleficence (do no harm).
And ALWAYS DOCUMENT... DOCUMENT... DOCUMENT...
The writing NURSE
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