Julius Olurotimi Awojide is the chairman, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) Lagos State Chapter. He is also a maternal and child specialist at the Lagos State Health Service Commission. In this exclusive interview with TEMITOPE OBAYENDO, he amplifies the call by nurses in the state against quackery and intrusion of charlatans, irrespective of the acute shortage of nurses. He also examines other issues affecting the practice of the profession in the state. Excerpts:
The International Nurses’ Day was recently commemorated. How was the celebration in Lagos?
Lagos NANNM joined other states councils from the 36 states and the FCT to celebrate the International Nurses Week in Abuja, from 5 to 12 May 2022 at NAF Conference Centre, Kado Abuja. Highlights of the event included an outreach programme and advocacy visit to IDP Camp, Wasa, Abuja. This was followed by week-long educational activities at the conference room. Some hospitals in Lagos State also joined in the celebration with various activities.
What is NANNM’s stance on the number of nurses available for the country’s huge population?
In order to address the number of nurses available for the large population, NANNM is collaborating with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) in their efforts to increase the students’ admission quota into our various schools of nursing. The NMCN has also introduced the Licensed Community Nurse and Licensed Community Midwife programmes into its scheme.
Lagos NANNM has also recommended that automatic employment be given to the graduates of Lagos State School of Nursing, Igando. This, we believe, will cushion the effects of shortage of nurses in the state. The state government has equally approved exit replacement, as well as regular employment of more nurses.
With the acute shortage of nurses in the state, what’s your take on employment of informally trained nurses as assistants in the hospitals?
Lagos NANNM is against quackery in whatever form. Nursing is about rendering evidence-based care and this requires rigorous academic and professional training. Lagos NANNM recommends the arrest and prosecution of anyone engaging in the training of any cadre of nurses without express approval/accreditation by the NMCN. The word “auxiliary nurse” is not known to law in Nigeria and Lagos NANNM shall not support illegality.
Are there efforts by NANNM to improve nurses’ attitude to work, in comparison to their counterparts abroad?
Lagos NANNM is engaging with the government to reduce the burden of overwork among nurses. Evidence has shown that overworked nurses may suffer from fatigue or burnout, which can impair ability to focus on tasks. And this lack of focus can lead to medical errors, a lack of engagement and missed nursing care.
We have equally been engaging our nurses in various forms of training, both virtually and physically. We encourage every nurse to posses the following attitudes: intent, reflection, curiosity, tolerance for ambiguity, self-confidence and professional motivation, as postulated by Keith Rischer.
According to the theme for this year’s celebration, “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and Respect Rights to Secure Global Health”, we are advocating for more investment in Nursing through training and retraining, improved working conditions and more welfare packages.
What are the motivating factors abroad? Let us emulate this for the improvement of nursing care services.