(By Temitope Obayendo)
In this exclusive interview with Temitope Obayendo, the executive secretary of West African College of Nursing (WACN), Mrs. Henrietta Okedo, highlighted areas of advancement in nursing, and how nurses can cope with their daily schedules, without stress.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Henrietta Okedo, a nurse and Fellow of the West African College of Nursing. I am happily married with children. I am from Nnewi in Nnewi North L.G.A. of Anambra State, Nigeria, and the immediate past director of nursing in Anambra State Ministry of Health.
How did you feel when appointed the new secretary of WACN?
Of course, I felt honoured and fulfilled. I also viewed it as a challenge and a call to duty to serve WACN in this capacity – moreso now that the college is going through a transition period.
What is your assessment of nursing practice in Nigeria?
Nursing practice in Nigeria cannot be said to have attained our dream height but it has evolved from a very humble beginning, over the years, to where it is today.It is still striving for perfection, despite the hostile environment.
What are your areas of concern for improvement in the profession?
A profession is recognised for its body of knowledge but with the dynamic nature of the society, new issues keep coming up. However, in my opinion, the most crucial areas of improvement in the profession include: professional competence and evidence-based practice; client–centred care; interpersonal, intra-professional and inter-professional relationships; and technologically dynamic nursing practice.
On the part of employers of nurses, there should be adequate remuneration of the nursing workforce, to ensure commitment, dedication, service efficiency and quality assurance.
As the new secretary of WACN, is there a need for a curriculum change in the institution?
There is a standard curriculum in place in the college, which we are trying to implement. A change in the existing one will only come when it has been established that there is need for a change, which will definitely be done.
In what ways can Fellows and other nurses improve on their attitude?
Attitude is a complex state, involving beliefs, feelings, values and dispositions to act in certain ways. Nurses typically work long shifts that require utmost attention and dedication. This is often a tiresome and draining profession; it takes an individual with a special calling to be a nurse. But the satisfaction in nursing comes from the knowledge that one has made a positive impact in another person’s life.
Nursing strategies and outlooks have affected and will continue to affect patients’wellbeing. Therefore it is wise for a nurse to be conscientious in his or her outlook and behaviour in the workplace.