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An Open And Sincere Letter To All Nigerian Male And Female Nurses By Ijeoma A.
Date Posted: 01/Feb/2018
I have to accede the fact that the female nursing experience is very different from that of the male nursing experience. Male Nurses are operating in the largely entrenched female world of nursing, which might probably feel foreign to some or most men. But I can tell you that as women, this is our world and we know it well. 
It is mostly believed by some male nurses, most of our collegues and maybe some members of the public that we are petty and fight among ourselves rather than uniting and speaking up to management when we need to make needed changes. You should know by now that uniting and speaking up to management as one is predominantly a male behavior where as the female behavior is kind of a whole lot more divisive and we would all agree at this point that it has definately kept us down as a profession in our country Nigeria.  
But there's a reason for this behavior. As a male, you would not know this as a lived experience.
Female Conditioning
Females are conditioned to envy each other, not to trust each other, and to compete with each other. Females compare themselves to other females all their lives. Girls compare themselves to the kardashians, to the pretty girls, to the girls boys like best, even to their own sisters. Basically to every other single girl on the face of this earth.
Women are taught to be helpless when they're not, act stupid when they're smart, not be hungry when they're starving, and to remain passive they're angry. 
Females are called the "b" word for being assertive and considered to be more feminine when they are "sweet". Even when you are fighting for yourself and your colleagues there would definately be some that would be with a knife ready to stab you in the back (Figuratively Speaking) It's a dichotomy of expectations.
The dichotomy is everywhere. Look at popular movies about mean girls. 
Being direct and straightforward is not how women are brought up to communicate whatsoever. Saying what we need is less important than meeting other's needs. 
Meanwhile, boys are taught to stick together, in the army, on the football team. You rarely hear doctors criticize other doctors. Even when a patient goes to see a doctor with a condition that was mishandled by another provider, the response is more along the lines of "Well, let's move forward from here". 
By contrast, nurses are hard on each other. Nurses can be quick to blame other nurses. As females, we expect perfection from ourselves...and each other.
Our boards of nursing, made up of nurses, are notoriously hard on nurses as compared to doctors' governing boards. 
There's another reason for your observations about female behavior.
Men Rule
It's still largely a male-dominated world. Men have the power. Look at the recent "Time's Up" issue. Even in liberal Hollywood, men have the power not to mention our very own Nollywood. Hospital boards are largely male. Ministry Of Health largely male driven. Hospital CEOs are largely male while CNOs are largely female.
It's a tough but true reality. 
Even in nursing, a traditionally female occupation, when men become nurses they are often viewed as more qualified. It's no secret that men in nursing make more than women.
But we women have very special qualities. Intuition, compassion. Empathy. We are nurturers. When we focus on those unique gifts and collaborate together, instead of competing with each other, we are our most powerful selves. 
No Excuses
This is not to say these explanations are excuses. Excuses are for people who don't take responsibility.
We are a force to be reckoned with once we take responsibility and come together. There are over 30,000 thousand registered nurses in the Nigeria. We act as if we only have a rake when we actually have a bulldozer in the garage. We have enormous ability to bring about change. We are the largest providers of manpower in a health facility, take a look at any time nurses go on strike facilities shut down. Without Nurses participating in any JOHESU strike action do you really think it would achieve anything? If our leaders truly have the balls and call for a strike action covering National, State and Private sectors dont you think we can achieve a great change.
How do we rally the masses you might ask? The answer truthfully is "I really don't know". Nurses do unite in outrage, as ssen during the case of the "OPM Church Quack Nursing Saga" (but lets be frank with ourselves that was a goose that laid the golden egg, but we threw away both the goose and the egg itself in the end by not capitalising and using that as a stepping board. The National body said the state should handle the matter and we just lost it). We, you and I have to accept the fact that there is an apathy around bringing about political change. The nursing profession itself in Nigeria doesnt seem to be unified under NANNM nor the NMCN. With nurses in the country mostly believing that NANNM's job is only to collect dues, eat and spend monies with nothing to show for except building secretariates and organising MCPDP's thats why we break outs like UGONSA, Men in Nursing, Fights between University Graduate Nurses and those from Schools of Nursing, FHI-NAMMN / State NANNM to name a few. Some would also say that the State NANNM chairmen are beholden to theirselves and their offices and not to those they claim to lead in the state. I truly dont know when we would realise that NANNM and the NMCN is a powerful lobby if only we decide to use them not to mention these group of Nurses making up the crew of Nursingworld Nigeria who have always been keeping us up to date publishing informations that we solely need and those that we migh want to hide and ignore.
Its obvious that the Nursing Council led by the new Registrar Alh. Farouk is moving us forward, with new strategic plans and changes for the profession to put us where we should be. 
For whatever reason, it is time to stand up, stand together, and speak up. If every nurse reading this would make a call to the State Chairmen and the office of the Registrar of the NMCN, or write an email to them- it will make a difference!
Ask Around, Ask your Colleagues, Ask your Matrons, Go Online, Ask on Twitter, Ask on Facebook, Ask On WhatsApp, Ask on LinkedIn, Ask Anyone, find out who your current NANNM Chairmen are and make a call. 
Let's all come together as one body and push our for change!! We have the numbers and we are in demand!! That is power!!

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