In Nursing education, the challenges we have include shortage of people qualified to lecture in the University, Colleges of nursing and School of Nursing and this is limiting the chances of Schools of Nursing to be accredited. Many schools of nursing are losing their accreditation mainly because of manpower and infrastructure and we see this as a limiting factor to the growth of nursing education in Nigeria. We equally see the attitude of government in this regard as not addressing the whole issue. We have challenges in the area of nursing education, clinical practice and in the regulation of the practice in Nigeria.
Today, we are at a stage of alarm that demand that government declare an emergency on nursing personnel and this is creating a lot of challenges not only for nursing services but also acting as a clog in the wheel of success of the whole health system.
Many years, back, medical education had a lot of attention, including residency training to ensure we have specialists, as you are taking residency, the workforce is boosted, but it has not been able to attain its set objectives because even if you train people in Medicine and you leave the people in nursing, it will not work. You can have the best surgeon in the world, if there is no good nurse to measure up, the result will still be poor.
In the clinical area, there are a lot of challenges that the type of recognition they give to personnel to the issue of preventing nurses training to carry out services from doing their job specifications.
You get to UCH, today, from time immemorial, when you talk about delivery, the midwives must be there and the complicated ones left to the gynaecologist. Both will be doing the work together. But at UCH, many nurses are being prevented to do the work they have been trained to do like in other parts of the world.
Today, we have emergency nurses, ophthalmic nurses in many areas of specialisation that are trained. But, they are not allowed to do their work, and this is creating issues in the clinical area. Except in the primary healthcare areas, those things that nurses are trained to do in the area of diagnosis of minor ailments and the treatment that will actually save the life of the people are being withdrawn from them and more so when the government is now thinking of what they call task shifting.
You are taking some duties that belong to nurses and giving such to other members of the health team such as the community health extension workers and you are not considering transferring some roles from doctors to nurses, even those ones they are trained to do based on their curriculum, you are preventing them.
Today in the hospital, if they say a patient comes and needs an IV line, the doctor will be asked to do it, meanwhile nurses should be doing it. And because they are the final authority in the hospital, if that person does it, such a person will be queried. We are not saying that a nurse should do the core duty of the doctor, but the limiting factor that the government and those in the hems of affairs are doing is causing a challenge.
Also, the area of infrastructural and equipment is a limiting factor and something that government needs to tackle. In the little they are doing, corruption is not even allowing it to show. Also, there is the limitation of shortage of manpower. It is a very big problem because people are dying of work stress. People are not enjoying their services. Even the masses, the healthcare consumers are not enjoying the nurses because you have about 200 patients to attend to and actually by schedule you are supposed to attend to 25. That is just an example, and there is no way you can be thorough.
In Europe and America, there are numbers of patients that are allocated to nurses. In Europe and America, it is about eight patients to one nurse even in the clinical area. But in Nigeria, you can see a ward, even in the critical areas such as emergency area having about 30 patients and only one nurse to attend to them, and in fact, without adequate technology to support their work.
In advanced countries, I do not as a nurse go from one bed to the other to do manual check of temperature, pulse, respiration pulse and blood pressure. Equipment are there that I will only need to monitor. This is a digital era, all these things is creating more stress for the nurse.
So, government needs to employ more nurses and on this issue, we are saying that the numbers of nurses that are roaming the streets either underemployed or unemployed are enough to boost the health sector of this country.
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