In the medical field, Doctors and Nurses are attached to ethical conduct which focuses on protecting lives.
While doctors take the hippocratic oath, nurses equally have ethics they are expected to live by.
According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council Of Nigeria, the Professional Nurse And Nursing Practice code of conduct points out that:
The Nurse must:
Be personally accountable for the care that she provides to clients/patient This means that she is answerable for her actions and omissions regardless of advice or directives from other health professionals.
Be punctual to duty and hand over, patients and equipment physically after duty.
Switch off her telephone/handsets when providing care to clients/patients and when teaching in the classroom.
Avoid the use of self in the advertisement, promotion or sale of commercial products, services and illicit trade such as trafficking in hard drugs.
Reject any form of gift, favour or gratification which might appear to have undue influence or advantage towards obtaining preferential treatment.
In terms of professional Nurse And Professional Colleagues, the Nurse must:
Work cooperatively and collaboratively with Professional Colleagues and other members of the health team for ethical procedure ONLY.
Exhibit ‘Espirit de corps’ in all situations except when it involves fraudulent and unethical practices.
Delegate functions and responsibilities to subordinates according to their abilities and competencies, supervising them accordingly.
Not ridicule Professional Colleagues and especially NOT in the presence of Clients/Patients or other members of the health team.
The Professional Nurse And The Public
The Nurse must:
Protect the public against danger or harmful agents
Have regard to the environment of care and its physical, psychological and social effects on the client/patient.
Access the adequacy of resources and make known to appropriate persons and authorities, any circumstances which could place clients/patients in jeopardy or which militate against safe standards of practice.
Contribute to policy making.
The Professional Nurse And The Global Health Organisation
The Nurse must:
Implement global health initiatives and instruments to which the country, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NAMMN) are signatory.
Participate actively in International and National Conferences and Conventions and contribute her quota to the development of Nursing Sciences.
So it comes as a surprise when you hear stories of some nurses that ignore the above rules, patients who are being mistreated by Nurses who are supposed to nurture them back to good health. What could be the cause of this lack in work ethics ?
For accountability and transparency reasons, nurses should be held responsible for their actions or inactions.
Nurses are generally carers. In the past you hear words such as , “She is a kind caring and patient person, fit to be a nurse.” And she wonder, all nurses must indeed be angels from heaven!
Again when you consider the work they do, you cannot but commend their patience and hard work.
When you look at the challenges faced by nurses, they sometimes range from poor salaries to in conducive work environment. Some nurses feel under appreciated. And let’s face it, they do most of the hard lifting as regards caring for a patient.
A nurse once said, “Some patients can be mean and difficult and as a result I do not bother to be nice to them because your being nice can be taken advantage of.”
And what about those nurses that in spite of it all, they focus on caring for their patients, no matter the conditions and eventually do get rewarded? No good deed goes unrewarded. At some point in life, the reward will come.
Nigerians must come to realise that nothing will serve better than a strong work ethic.
There have been several instances that we as Nigerians can relate to. For example, you think that once you arrive the hospital, you will be well cared for and taken care of. Your health will be the utmost priority of the nurses around because they are there to cater to your needs health wise. There are of course some nurses who do, but for the few who do not, a scene like this may play out:
According to madam A, “My daughter was ill and on drip. I called a nurse to inform him the drip was finished. And why did he not check up on her during the night as he was on duty. He began to shout at me that why was I here? That it was the reason they had allowed me to stay in the first place.”
Does this sound familiar? The reasoning is this, patients are not supposed to have their relatives caring for them, at least not when in the hospital! Sadly, no one cares and this is where subtly the issue of negligence comes in.
There are pointers that if nurses have a good working environment, good salaries and are well armed with the needed basic skills and working materials, they would be more effective in their duties.
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