The Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with its partners and key stakeholders in healthcare organized a Hospital Fair in Abuja on the 21-13 October 2014. The main objective of the fair was to showcase the giant strides made by the country in health care delivery and create awareness about the gamut of services available to the citizenry. Current research indicates many Nigerians travel abroad all the time for medical treatments and medical checkups on the perception that there are no competent medical facilities and competent medical personnel in Nigeria to provide safe and effective services of acceptable quality. It is estimated that the country loses over $500 million annually arising from costs accruable from its citizens seeking health care services abroad. It has been observed that most of these services are available in the country and provided by competent health personnel trained in some of the best healthcare institutions in Nigeria and abroad. The Hospital Fair was, therefore, an opportunity to correct this negative impression and the ignorance about what exists in the system and appreciate the current challenges and opportunities. It sought to kick-start medical tourism in Nigeria so that other countries can begin to consider coming to Nigeria for medical services.
As a key activity, during the Fair, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria organized a Master Class on Nursing Leadership for nurses in the public and private sectors. Dr. Godwin Asuquo of the Africa Centre for Health Leadership was engaged by the Council to develop and implement the program. The MasterClass was an opportunity for nurses to brainstorm the issues, challenges, opportunities, and threats to their professions and share experiences and best practices.
With the theme” Strengthening Nursing Leadership for Improved Quality of Care,” the master class was a reorientation on modern leadership principles and practices to make a difference in a rapidly changing and sophisticated society.
The program was designed to provide emerging and evolving nursing leaders with the skills, knowledge, confidence, and relationships needed to be effective leaders in a complex, competitive and demanding healthcare environment. The health care environment in Nigeria is very challenging and characterized by inadequate infrastructure, drugs, supplies, consumables and working tools, inadequate human resources, overburdened and poorly motivated health workers. Client satisfaction with services provided has continued to be low in facilities where services are available. Access to routine services is compromised by frequent stock-outs of essential drugs and supplies, high transportation cost, geographical, socio-cultural and religious issues amongst others. Also, competition among professionals in the industry for superiority and dominance has seriously relegated and compromised patient’s issues and concerns thus reducing client’s satisfaction and quality of care.
Goal of the Nursing MasterClass
The main goal of this program was to build the capacity of Nurses to become effective leaders and drivers of change who will challenge the status quo and make a difference in the health sector.
The following objectives were achieved:
Nurses from secondary and tertiary health institutions from federal and states’ levels including the FCT were in attendance. These included nurse administrators, various clinical nurse specialists, nurse educators, public health nurses, representatives of professional nursing associations.
The Program commenced with a brief opening ceremony with the Director of Nursing Services at the Federal Ministry of health making and inspiring opening statement in which she updated participants on current developments in nursing and enjoined them to take their work seriously. Speaking in the same vein, the representative of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Mr. Udontre, charged the nurses to effectively utilize the learning opportunity to improve themselves and to contribute in a more positive way to the nursing profession.
The following presentations were given during the Masterclass under the facilitation of Dr. Godwin Asuquo:
The presentations were very interactive; while Dr. Asuquo’s presentations focused on enabling nurses to assess their current status and helped them to generate ideas about how the profession can improve its status, Helen Mbornu’s presentation was a practical experience-sharing session on best practices in nursing Leadership using DELSUTH as a case study. Raph’s presentation provided titbits to nurses on how they can make the work environment motivating and how they can build effective teams and partnerships.
Discussion, issues generated and Recommendations
It was observed most institutions in the country do not provide nurses with written job descriptions. It was agreed the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nursing Council should take steps to ensure that job every public and private institution provide nurses with written job descriptions. That there should be a regular review of job description by NMCN to accommodate the new trends of Nursing Care and practice. Participants also called for daily protocol which should be established, followed and supervised and monitored
It was observed that because most nurses do not have job descriptions, they do not set proper targets in APER forms for a valid assessment of their performances. Thus, assessment of nurses by their supervisors is very subjective. It was recommended that the Council, FMOH, and all institutions should ensure that performance evaluation of nurses is very objective through proper goal and target-setting and results-based management
It was also recognized that nurses’ attitude is perceived to be generally very negative in the country. The Nursing Council and health care institutions are enjoined to address this through a combination of on the job training, leadership and team building programs and close monitoring, disciplinary actions and supervision. The need for all nurses to recognize that this is a major problem and take proactive steps to change their attitude was also stressed.
Nurses complained that the prevalent policy where only nurses with Nursing degrees were favoured in promotion while those with related degrees e.g Health Education, Social Sciences etc. cannot be promoted to managerial positions was discriminatory and not justifiable. It was observed that the opportunity for degrees in nursing in Nigeria was still limited as few universities offer degrees in nursing. Since the process of obtaining admission and release by employers to go for nursing degrees was very cumbersome, nurses who can access degree programs in related areas in nursing should be encouraged and accorded proper recognition since they already have nursing qualifications before proceeding on these courses. NMCN should recognize B.Sc degrees of related courses provided that these Nurses – have RN as a basic qualification. They should be allowed to be promoted to reach the peak in their career.
Participants suggested that the current basic nursing curriculum should be reviewed to incorporate contemporary nursing issues, developments in ICT and current leadership and management concepts.
Outputs Achieved from the Master Class