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Raphael Kumah Abolasom

Nurses’ Uniforms vrs Conditions of service in an era of Ghana’s 63rd Independence anniversary

Dear Nursing fraternity, the lone Ranger once again, brings you warm felicitations from a mushroom cottage of mine in Bole-Bamboi.

A couple of days ago, I saw notice regarding enforcement of Nurses uniforms by the Ghana Health service. Obviously this could not have been done without the knowledge of the nursing fraternity, because the GHS does not operate in vacuum.

Let me mince no words, I do not know how uniforms contribute to the welfare of members. This is not to say that uniforms are not necessary but to re-emphasize the fact, that, the nursing fraternity seem to be engulfed in not so relevant matters that seek to advance the welfare of nurses. We love and have become the architects of trivialities and archaic “post-conscious “ principles that never add a pesewa to our livelihoods.

We keep changing prescriptions of uniforms for only God knows how long. You will see nurses “fight” over white shoes , white, mauve belts and yet we do not and have not seen an approved binding document serving as nurses’ conditions of service. When you talk, they tell you , the profession is about being submissive! Submissive, when you are dying on the inside ? No one has refused to submit, but you see, sometimes in pursuing the snake, we miss the scorpion.

In the unfortunate incident of Major Mahama ( May his soul Rest In Peace), we witnessed an unrivaled support from his fraternity and the government. Fast forward 2020, what was the case of our dear colleague, Ruth Eshun who lost her life in the line of duty? The least said the better. In essence, it got me thinking and somehow disgruntled.

I am not asking for cheap equalization, I am only asking for fairness and objectivity. How long must the union push for its conditions of service ? But wait , is the fraternity even pushing enough? Or are we experiencing a case of “the sheep being led by a lion or the lions being led by a sheep or sheep roaming without owners or guardians ”?

The Nurse spends more time with the patient than any other professional in the healthcare industry, yet, what do we get for the risks? What do we get for the overtime? What do we get for our clothing ? What do we get for our cars? What special tax exemptions do we have ? You can add on and on….

You attend a nursing program and mostly what we find is fun-fare. We are not fond of setting agendas that will set the policy process in motion. What policy alternatives do we propose? There are many governing boards that require the presence of nurses , yet what do we see? No representation! It looks to me, we are clueless, is that the case?

All we do is , wake up each morning, get dressed up, go to work, sacrifice all that we’ve got , return home just as we left it, only to cry our hearts out in our sorry closets!

Nursing elsewhere is more attractive than most professions yet what do we have here in Ghana? Is it a crime to choose your country over another destination ? It is very shameful, we are used to mediocrity and gagging people who speak out.

And to my dear nurses, read, learn, study, do not limit yourselves to nursing. Go into policy, go into law, go into leadership , go into systems, educate yourselves. Add value to yourselves, only then will you have the courage to fight for what’s yours and to fight oppression. If you do not know what you are about, and if you do not know your left from right, the fraternity will countinuosly be remote controlled and bullied till thy kingdom come! Nurses, we do not know our strength! Without nurses, trust me, the healthcare industry will breakdown. We have the numbers and we can do great things with these numbers. We are not fighting well, we need to pull the right plugs!

Some will say nursing is a passion for care. Do we eat passion to get energy to work ? Or does passion caters for our families? Even the men of God whom we say are Christ’s representatives, they drive luxurious cars, their kids attend better schools and live better lives and you say passion for care ? And for matters such as this, I am happy for the existence of another Union , Union of Professional Nurses and Midwives . It will cause the oldest Union to be up and doing! Healthy competition brings progress.

We deserve better! Happy 63rd independence Anniversary to us all!

Columnist: Raphael Kumah Abolasom, Contributor

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