Mrs Bose Osisami is the apex nurse/assistant director of nursing services (ADNS), Orile Agege General Hospital, Lagos. With over three decades’ experience under the Lagos State Health Service Commission, she has served in various parts of the state, since 1990 when she joined the commission. In this interview with TEMITOPE OBAYENDO, Osisami, who will be retiring on her 60th birthday in April, charges Nigeria’s President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to revamp the country’s healthcare delivery system, citing areas that require urgent and critical attention. Excerpts:
Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Bose Osisami, the apex nurse/ADNS of Orile Agege General Hospital, under the Health Service Commission in Lagos State. I have worked with Lagos State for 33 years and will retire this year 21 April, when I will be 60 years.
I was employed under the Lagos State Civil Service in Health Service Commission, as a staff nurse/ midwife in 1990 and deployed to Ikeja General Hospital, now LASUTH. I have worked in various hospitals across the state, including Agbowa General Hospital, from 2000 to 2005; Orile Agege General Hospital, from 2005 to 2009; and Alimosho General Hospital, 2010 to 2012. I was appointed as apex nurse of Ibeju Lekki General Hospital, 2012 to 2016; then worked as apex nurse, Ifako ijaiye General Hospital, 2016 to 2018; apex nurse, Alimosho General Hospital, 2018 to 2019; and now apex nurse, Orile Agege General Hospital, 2019 to date.
What informed your decision to study Nursing?
When I was young, we used to live with a very beautiful nurse as our neighbour, who worked in a university teaching hospital and was always neatly dressed in white. Each time she was on her way to work, I always peeped at her through the window. Her neatness and the way she dressed inspired my decision to be a nurse. Also, I think I was born to be one because of my caring nature.
Having been in the practice for decades, would you say your expectations at the beginning of your career have been met so far?
Well, I would say they have been met, although not completely. I have always wanted to give the best quality care ever, under a very conducive environment. Giving quality care has been met on my part as a nurse, because I have met patients who still recognise me and are happy because of the way I treated them when they were in my care. However, the environment in which we give care is still improving.
It has been observed that nurses are always in shortfall in most public hospitals. Is this same with your hospital? If yes, how have you been coping with the huge number of patients?
There has always been a shortfall of nurses, especially with the recent “japa’’ syndrome, but I want to say a big thank you to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who recently approved the employment of more nurses, in replacement of retired nurses. Without sounding political, Lagos State is number one in healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
Recently, we stepped up our operations towards achieving the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s standard of two nurses to eight patients.
How would you want the president- elect of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to address this gap in patient-nurse ratio in the country?
The government of our president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, should focus more on health and allocate a quality share of the budget to health. He should also encourage nurses by appointing them as stakeholders in decision-making when it comes to healthcare matters, unlike what is being done now, when we see only doctors having a say.
We also want the president-elect to address issues of maternal mortality and malnutrition in the country, as Nigeria ranks among the highest in the world, with an estimated 512 deaths per 100,000 live births, which is nowhere near the SDG target of 70 per 100,000 live births.
Again, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, Nigeria loses about 100 children per hour due to malnutrition, and this translates to about 2,400 deaths daily. Thus, our president-elect must see these areas as requiring urgent intervention to boost healthcare delivery in the country.
Do nurses believe in Patients’ Bill of Rights? If yes, how do they observe it?
We believe in Patient’s Bill of Right (PBoR). And this is the reason a nurse must not perform any procedure on a patient without any informed consent, whereby the procedure is explained to the patient before it is carried out. Also, for any procedure, a nurse must provide privacy for the patient.
Furthermore, if a patient does not want the care of a nurse, he or she must withdraw immediately and another nurse assigned. A nurse must respect a patient’s opinion in his or her care, unless when it is dangerous for him or her.
While Nigerian-trained nurses are migrating to greener pastures abroad, the Nursing and Midwifery Council recently inducted about 190 foreign-trained nurses. What can you say about this development?
Those inducted were not an exchange programme. They were nurses who trained abroad but needed to be inducted into the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria through examination. It is after they have passed the exam that they will be inducted and free to work in Nigeria with their Council license.
Nigerian nurses seek greener pastures due to lack of motivation in form of remuneration and equipment to work with. Nurses should also be remunerated in a way that matches their work.
In terms of advancing nursing practice, how far have public hospital nurses gone in learning and deploying technologies to transform patients care?
The face of nursing education has changed, as most nurses now have their BNSc and others with postgraduate degrees. This has really helped to give quality and individualised care, using the nursing process.
Attitude, they say, is everything. As an apex nurse, what would you say is responsible for the perceived negative attitudes of nurses to patients and how can this be resolved?
Having to cater for a lot of patient can make a nurse cranky. However, there has been training and re-training in emotional intelligence among staff. Also, having it in mind that the patient is king has helped a lot.