A young Nigerian nurse identified as Sarah Okolo has said her journey into the profession was due to her desire to impact lives, give a bit of herself to people and leave them with good memories.
The graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, got into the profession in March this year and has had a mixture of great and challenging moments as a nurse.
Speaking with Muse.ng, she said: “I chose nursing because it offers me a platform to directly impact lives, give a bit of myself to people, and leave them with good memories.”
Great and challenging moments as a nurse
Sarah said her greatest moment is when her services make a patient or client feel better.
In her words: “Every time my presence, combined with the services I render makes a patient or client feel better, even in the smallest way, I feel fulfilled. Those times count as my greatest moments.”
Sarah said her challenges include work overload due to short staffing, little opportunities for career progression and poor remuneration.
She said: “Workplace hazard: this includes risk of contracting infections, bullying and harassment by patients and their relatives.”
Appreciation of nurses in Nigeria
The health professional said Nigerian nurses are not duly appreciated in Nigeria, adding that it is a strong reason for their mass migration.
In her words: “There are issues of short staffing, poor remuneration, unfavourable working conditions, lack of policies backing the welfare of nurses, and the list goes on.”
Sarah said she disagrees with the belief that Nigerian nurses are not friendly, adding that it is a generalisation, which she described as wrong.
She said people should not label a group of people because of the actions of a proportion of them.
In her words: “Just like in every other profession, there are well mannered and ill-mannered people, and we have all had our encounters with both. But that does not justify tagging all of that people in a certain way.
“Where this belief becomes a problem is when proponents of it encounter nurses in general, they tend to put on a defensive behaviour. And truth is, the more you focus on the negative, the more you encounter negativity.”
Sarah said Nigerians should begin to understand that the present generation of nurses are giving their best to uphold the profession and render their services in the best way possible, all in a bid to change the narrative of nursing in Nigeria, adding that they do this despite working in unfavourable environments.
She said: “So rather than focus on that belief, why not begin to appreciate nurses, and spread the gospel of the unique, friendly and caring ones you’ve encountered? I mean, have you met me (smiles)?”
She advises young people aspiring to go into the nursing profession to understand why they are going into it because it is what will keep them going when they encounter challenges.
Sarah said: “Then, be yourself and try to enjoy the process, because it will require a lot from you.
“Also, always aim for more, you can be anything you want. Look for opportunities to keep advancing in the profession because nursing is so much more beyond the bedside.”