Accra, May 13, GNA – The Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA) has marked this year’s International Nurses’ Day with a call on all its members to exhibit high standards of professionalism to help improve the sinking image of nursing in Ghana.
The day, which also coincides with the 2014 Nurses’ Week celebrations, was to pay tribute to the architect of modern day nursing, Miss Florence Nightingale, and also to acknowledge the work and sacrifices being made by all professionals in the field of nursing both in the country and globally.
The theme: ‘Nurses and Midwives: A Force for Change -A Vital Resource for Health’, was chosen to highlight on the critical role of these group of professionals in ensuring quality health outcomes of nation.
Mr Kwaku Asante-Krobea, the GRNA President, said even though nurses and midwives played a vital role leading to many successes in health outcomes, their contribution to care had in recent times come under sharp criticisms, much so because of some poor attitudes towards service delivery.
He said contrary to expectations of love, compassion and tenderness, nurses were being accused of neglect of their duties in the manner in which they communicate to their clients and their close relatives.
‘Over the years, the standards of care have kept falling and this has translated to a multiplicity of shortfalls in nursing care, an outcome that has negative implications on the quality of care generally,’ Mr Krobea-Asante said.
‘I share the opinion that nurses are to blame more for the gloomy picture of gross disease burden arising from chronic ailing conditions, addiction of unhealthy lifestyles among the populations, the seemingly unassailable toll of malaria on members of our communities and the prevalence of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.’
‘This is because their role as frontline health professionals and their numbers impose a huge responsibility on them more than any other care professionals,’ he said.
Mr Krobea-Asante said in recent times, as disease management had become more complex, with the emergence of new disease conditions, health seekers are becoming aware of their rights to respect, dignity and quality care from care givers at the same time.
‘It is therefore required of nurses to live up to client expectations through the adoption of acceptable practices and innovations that will impact positively on healthcare outcomes,’ he said.
Mr Asante-Krobea commended all nurses and midwives for their selfless service, dedication and contributions to the health care profession across the country.
He said in keeping with the ideals, principles and philosophy of the architect of modern day nursing, Florence Nightingale, the International Council of Nurses encourages quality assurance, nursing care that was evidence-based and autonomous in meeting specific clients’ needs.
He said the focus had therefore been on delivery of quality care as the theme for the celebrations of the International Nurses’ day in the last five years preceding 2014.
Mr Asante-Krobea said nurses and midwives constituted the largest number of health care professionals within the health care field in all settings reaching at least 68 per cent among other valuable professional partners such as Pharmacists, Doctors, Physiotherapists, Biomedical Scientists, Radiographers, Dieticians and Nutritionists among others.
He said to a large extent, nursing and midwifery contribution to health care influenced the direction of the management of the disease burden across communities in the preventive, curative and rehabilitation dimensions.
He said stakeholders continued to express concern in dealing with the shortfalls in Nursing role and work to find solutions to the poor quality of care.
He said the Association would commit itself to institute measures such as continuous monitoring and evaluation of conduct of the caregiver, in-service education delivery, leadership crisis interventions, constant supervision, and performance appraisal.
Other measures includes institution of punitive measures against misconduct, periodic accountability and performance review, empowerment of the health-seeker, retraining of nursing and midwifery personnel and institution and enforcement of wearing of name tags among practitioners.
Ms Joyce Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Salt and Light Ministries, urged nurses to keep proper records of all patients’ transactions to prevent wrong diagnosis and prescriptions.
According to her the challenges facing the modern day nursing profession was as a result of the lack of commitment to the ‘calling’ as it was in the olden days.
She acknowledged though that there were challenges numerous challenges inhibiting the effective practice of modern day nursing partly due to world economic crisis, but urged practitioners to put up their best.
Ms Hanny Sherry Ayitey, Minister of Health, said the government would not relent on efforts to improve health care delivery in the country.
She commended all Nurses and Midwives for their immense contributions towards health care delivery and called for strengthened collaborations and partnerships to ensure the attainment of the Health-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
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