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The Nigerian Nurse: A Voice to Lead - A Vision for Future Healthcare
Date Posted: 12/May/2021

Recent events and the past year have been tough for everyone, but nurses specifically were faced with unprecedented risks and challenges in the fight against COVID-19.

COVID-19 changed our lives, deeply affecting those who have been infected and those who have lost loved ones as a result of this devastating virus. The pandemic greatly impacted the lives of nurses and the health systems they serve. Although daily life may have changed, the core character of nursing has not. Now more than ever, health, economies and societies are heavily influenced by nurses who are on the frontlines battling COVID-19 whilst continuing to improve access to quality and affordable healthcare.

The COVID effect is real and risks damaging the nursing profession for generations to come. In the midst of taking care of everyone else, nurses overlooked their own personal health and needs. In January 2021, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) drew the world’s attention to the evidence showing mental health issues and physiological impacts on nurses as a result of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. ICN called this phenomenon the “mass traumatization” of the global nursing workforce and called on governments to act now to support nurses and address these issues. 

international nurses day

Today May 12, International Nurses day is celebrated around the world, it is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. IND 2021 aims to look back and reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on the health system and the nursing profession and how this will affect the future of healthcare.

IND provides the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful work that #nurses do in all settings, taking crucial decisions that affect the future of #healthcare and the #health of the world. For IND 2021, the theme is ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead - A vision for future healthcare’.

Today on the day of the Nurse, we redirect our focus on the changes to and innovations in nursing and how this will ultimately shape the future of healthcare. We look at the challenges nursing faces and how the profession will transform the next stage of healthcare.

IND provides an opportunity to raise the visibility of the critical work nurses do by honoring nurse heroes, innovators, and leaders, whilst celebrating their commitment to continuing to make their workplaces and communities safer.

We use the occasion of the IND 2021 to advocate for investment in #nurses, the need to improve their conditions and care for their #health so that they can create sustainable #healthservices for the future. Today is the perfect occasion to honor #nurses for the valuable, tireless, person-centered work that they do, and to call out to governments to give nurses the #VoiceToLead to make quality #healthcare a right for all

On this day of the Nurse, we reiterate our vision for future healthcare. One that must be accessible, safe and affordable.

The future of healthcare should be equitable where all Nigerians would have access to affordable, high quality, culturally and linguistically appropriate care in a timely manner. The future of healthcare should be person and community centered, integrated, and holistic. Finally, the future of healthcare in Nigeria must be sustainable and fit for the future.

It is a well known fact that Nurses are traumatized running back to back shifts, sleeping at work premises due to the current insecurity concerns, poor availability of PPE, inhumane remuneration and as such, we advocate for real safe guards to be put in place before the next crises or pandemic arrives, we call for legislation that would mandate safer work places, better working equipment’s, stricter adherence to safe patient nurse working ratio

Organizations and private facilities must harness the power of technology to decrease excessive workload and burnout amongst nurses. By adopting the WHO 'workload indicator of staffing need', the decision on the optimum safe level of nurse-to-patient ratio can be made by assessing several factors such as intensity of patients’ needs, the number of admissions, discharges, and transfers during a shift, level of experience of nursing staff, layout of the unit, and availability of resources, such as ancillary staff and technology.

Heavy workloads, inadequate support, insufficient resourcing, burnout, and stress related to pandemic response are major drivers that have resulted in increased numbers of nurses who have left the profession. With the current brain drain being experienced, the government must wake up to the impending nursing shortage and improve on nurse’s remuneration to stem the tide. According to the ICN, the world was already facing 5.9 million of nurse’s shortage before the COVID-19 pandemic. Close to 90% of these shortages are concentrated in low- and lower middle-income countries of which Nigeria is one.

On this day, it is vitally important we show the world who nurses are, what they do, and why they should invest in us as a vital resource. Nurses must blow their trumpet and ensure that the voice of nursing is heard around the globe, we must spread the word about our great profession and how it contributes to the health of populations. As carers, healers, educators, leaders and advocates, nurses are fundamental to the provision of safe, accessible and affordable care.


Nurse Jude Chiedu (Fwacn) writes for Nursingworld Nigeria

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