The Forum for Local Government Nurses & Midwives (FOLGONM) has called on government at all levels to amend the existing policies which tend to belittle the positions of local government nurses and midwives.
The call was contained in the keynote address presented by the Head of Nursing Administration, Primary Health Care Board (Lagos), Mrs Oluwatoyin Odukoya, at a three-day annual conference and scientific workshop organised by FOLGONM.
Speaking on the topic, “The Optimum Style in Nursing Performance: Managing Patients’ Expectations in Primary Health Care Delivery Services”, Odukoya noted that the insensitivity of the government towards FOLGONM nurses had been a major challenge that must be corrected as a matter of urgency.
“Why do we always have to fight before emoluments given to nurses in other tiers are extended to us?” she queried. “The joke that our money lies in the mouth of the lion is unacceptable. If the three tiers of health services are not ours, there is no reason why we should be made to suffer for working at the grassroots.”
The leading nurse however enjoined participants at the conference to continue to demonstrate best nursing care in managing patients, not minding the several challenges besetting the profession.
She stated that nursing performance in Primary Health Care (PHC) delivery services can be measured in three ways, namely: competences, nursing-sensitive quality indicators, and measures of performance on specific task.
According to her, “competences are assessed right from when nurses are first licensed and thereafter, to ensure that nurses maintain their proficiencies and remain abreast of current issues.”
She added that, as a way of measuring quality, nurses and midwives have to account for all the dimensions of quality which are person-centeredness, safety, effectiveness, efficiency, equity, timeliness, women’s experience, clients’ experience, and satisfaction with care.
Explaining Primary Health Care, as defined by WHO and UNICEF in 1978, she said “Primary Health Care is essential health care, based on practical, scientifically sound, and socially acceptable methods and technology; universally accessible to all in the community through their full participation; at an affordable cost; and geared towards self-reliance and self-determination.”
Odukoya expatiated further on the functions of the PHCs, stating that the PHCs have shifted their emphasis on health care to the people and their needs, reinforcing and strengthening their own capacity to shape their lives. .
She also highlighted some challenges militating against optimal nursing performance such as intra-professional conflicts; inter-professional conflicts; professionally infected limitations; inferiority complexes; strike actions; in-fighting; unhealthy cadre/category supremacy; lack of trust; abuse of privileges; not wanting to take risks; divisive tendencies of mischief makers among others.
She however expressed optimism in limiting these factors, noting that they can easily be checked through continuous education from conferences, as well as Mandatory Continuous Professional Development Programme (MCPDP).
Speaking with Pharmanews at the event, the State Chairman of FOLGONM, Mrs. M. Lateef–Yusuf expressed her delight with the outcome of the group’s conferences, noting that they had always left positive impacts on nurses.