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Nurses Know Your Worth; A Wake Up Call To Nigerian Nurses By Yahay Umar (Abu Sofiyyah)
Date Posted: 14/May/2018
Recent happenings in Nigerian health sector; (JOHESUStrike2018) and other related events have brought to bare the fact that Nigerian nurses know not their worth. Since the commencement of the strike action, a lot of articles,  write ups for and against JOHESU have proliferated the public domain.  
 
But of interest to me is the one against JOHESU. This is because it was that one that posed a challenge to me as person and to nurses entirely. Some members of the NMA has always lay claim to "international best practices " when issues come up. They're quick to mention that that is the practice "all over the world" Thus they don't mince words when they want to relegate other non doctors, (nurses are my concern here as that's the constituency I belong to). They call us all sorts of names which according them are relegating. They call nurses paramedics,  allied health professional,  hospital support staff,  non medically qualified,  among others. They said only doctors are not paramedics, are qualified medical personnel, are not support staff, and are clinicians!  
 
This they claim is in accordance to /with international best practices! How beautiful would those claims of theirs have been if they could see or point to just single evidence to authenticate them? 
 
On social media, FaceBook to be specific, we've been involved in war of words with some of these doctors, some of them consultants. It would interest you to know that up till the moment of composing this message / post, no substantial, verifiable evidence was given to drive home their claim that nurses are : paramedics, non clinicians, not medically qualified, amongst others. 
 
I gave them an open challenge to provide me the evidence(s) but unfortunately they couldn't. Ironically, some few copy and paste evidences they provided served as more evidence for me and against them😄 I would have loved sending all the snapshots of our conversation but for space and time. It was really revealing. I mean their ignorance was indeed unimaginable. 
 
Nurses, you're clinicians. Lets take a look at what the word clinician means: 
- Clinician
A clinician is a health care professional that works as a primary care giver of a patient in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, clinic , or patient's home. A clinician diagnoses and treats patients. For example, physicians, nurse practitioners,  and physician assistants are clinicians (Wikipedia) 
 
Nurses, you're not paramedics, you're nurses
 
* A paramedic is  a person who is trained to give medical help, especially in an emergency, but who is not a doctor or a nurse
(Definition of “paramedic” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary ©  University Press)
 
* Another definition by Oxford advance dictionary goes thus:
Definition of paramedic noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary paramedic noun BrE /ˌpærəˈmedɪk/; NAmE /ˌpærəˈmedɪk/
a person whose job is to help people who are sick or injured, but who is not a doctor or a nurse. Paramedics treat the injured where they meat them.
 
Nurses,  you're medically qualified personnel
 
The term qualified medical personnel is defined by 46 CFR 4.03-6 as “a physician, physician's assistant, nurse, emergency medical technician, or other person authorized under State or Federal law or regulation to collect blood and urine specimens."
Reference : (https://definitions.uslegal.com/q/qualified-medical-personnel/)
 
Nurses,  you're not  support staff, in contrast you have support staff too that work under your direct supervision
 
Read this: 
There are many people who contribute to your care while you are in hospital. Numerous people and services work together to provide you with successful treatment in a hospital, from medical assessments and daily treatment to medication and catering.
 
The key roles for staff in a hospital can be broadly categorised into four areas being: doctors (medical staff), nurses, allied health professionals support staff. All these people will play an important role in your treatment and recovery. 
 
Another source had this: What do clinical support staff do? 
You just have to take your hat off to clinical support staff  (a.k.a. healthcare assistants). They spend their careers helping doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Their roles  are so selfless that you often wonder if they ever actually think  of themselves. These positions are hands-on and this means being in constant contact with sick or injured people throughout the working day. Clinical support staff careers are amazingly  rewarding, as they are all about helping people to get better.  The key to understanding the role of clinical support staff or  healthcare assistants is in the word ‘assistant’. 
 
Essentially,  these guys provide valuable assistance to all kinds of allied health professionals, nurses, doctors and medical scientists.  They play an integral role at all stages of a patient’s care, from the initial diagnosis, to treatment and beyond. Reference:  (https://www.allaboutcareers.com/careers/career-path/clinical-support-staff-healthcare-assistant).
 
Nurses, you're not allied health professionals, you're a profession sui generis
 
Allied health professions:
Allied health professions are health care professions distinct from nursing , medicine , and pharmacy. They work in health care teams to make the health care system function by providing a range of diagnostic, technical, therapeutic and direct patient care and support services that are critical to the other health professionals they work with and the patients they serve.
 
My professional colleagues, despite the fact that practising as a nurse in Nigeria seems demeaning,  dehumanizing,  humiliating and relegating,  I am proud to say that NURSES ARE INDEED GREAT. It's high time we knew our worth. 
 
You might ask; WHAT OF THE SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT THAT WAS SAID TO HAVE CLARIFIED THE MEANING OF THE PHRASE " medically qualified " which restricted it to physicians?
 
Firstly,  I am not aware not because I doubt the existence of such document in the supreme court but because I am a young nurse who might not have joined the profession as at when such judgement is passed in favor of the medical doctors. 
 
If internationally nurses are considered clinicians,  qualified medical personnels,  and a court in Nigeria made a judgement years ago that only doctors are medically qualified,  hence they alone are entitled to the posts of CMDs,  then it brings to question a lot of things in mind.  
 
That means our doctors should stop referencing INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES  or ALL OVER THE WORLD. 
 
On a final note, nursing is a great profession, an indispensable one, enviable internationally. Let us try to bring back our lost glory ( if there was any)  or redeem the image of our profession. Let us accept reforms academically, morally and intellectually. 
 
There're great people in this great profession that have great ideas to take it to the most enviable greatest height
 
I remain Yahaya Umar ( Abu Sofiyyah).

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