It was a busy hour of lectures; in a lecture hall of the college, filled to the brim with medical and health science students (typical of Nigerian public Universities). On the timetable was ‘Endocrine and Reproductive physiology lecture’ which was usually a joint lecture for all students in the college of medicine. With the students already seated, waiting patiently for the lecture to commence, the lecturer, a medical doctor who doubled as the dean of the college, walked in and headed straight for the white board. Within few minutes of introduction he continued, “I don’t think some departments in this hall need most part of this course in their career, nursing specifically”. As expected, there were ripples of noise from the class in reaction. It literally left me is a serious thought. Eventually, the lecture ended and we went our ways.
Fast forward to today, as a serving corper nurse, I have had to network and collaborate with the health center management and significant persons in the community of deployment, to organize and execute a successful outreach programme to address the real health needs of the community. It was in form of health education to the youths and students, majoring on topics like “substance abuse and dependence” and “safe sexual practices”. The topics became imperative owing to the high level teenage pregnancy/ school dropouts, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and substance abuse/ dependence. This is a community where young adults literally become grandparents and take pride in having random children with different partners.
To my astonishment, in the course of my lecture to the teaming youths, I realized that “ignorance” played a major role to their indulgence in unhealthy life styles. The lecture didn’t end well without me standing for the next 40mins responding to their curious and countless questions. What an uninformed society! It made me begin to dispute with my lecturer back then in college on why as a nurse I should have all the possible knowledge about health and health-related matters. Lest I forget to say that some of the youths and co-organizers of the programme from the community were so impressed and appreciative of my impact and wished the good gesture continues periodically.
1. Nursing as I have learned, is also a teaching profession. As an authority in health and owing to the fact that nursing has the highest work force in health care industry, the society most times fall back on us for counseling, health education and guidance when making health-related decisions. I have lost count of how many times I have done this. In affirmation, we owe the society health information and as such, should strive to be well-informed and updated.
2. Mortality and morbidity rates would drastically drop if all nurses actively take part in informing the uninformed society mostly through organizing health outreaches as such. It boils down to primary prevention in primary health care (PHC). It only takes good lobbying and networking skills for sponsors, public speaking skill, and knowledge.
3. The image of nurses and nursing profession in Nigeria will definitely have a boost if our impacts are well felt by the society and government through this means. This will go with proper identification of self as a nurse. I have had to correct that even in my last outreach that I am a nurse rather than a doctor. The timid Nigerian society still holds on to the notion that nurses know less.
Together, we can create Nigerian nursing profession of our dreams for us all and the generations to come. God bless nurses and nursing profession!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Williams Maduka is an unapologetic male nurse. He holds a first degree in nursing science from University of Nigeria with diploma in midwifery and psychiatric and mental health nursing. He believes in writing as one of the ways of promoting a desired change and hopes to reciprocate that in nursing profession particularly in Nigeria as a way of giving back to the profession.
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