Are you really a nurse?
Where did you train?
Why are you working in Nigeria when you could be abroad?
These are some of the questions patients ask Nurse Joy.
I am really a nurse and I love my job
I trained here in Nigeria
Who would look after you if I leave to work abroad?
Those are some of the answers given by Nurse Joy depending on the circumstances.
A nurse in a million
Joy Ugochukwu works at the brain and spine surgery hospital in Abuja looking after patients with brain and spine problems. She started at the clinic only a few short years ago but has quickly established herself as a different calibre of nurse. With sharp eyes and a listening ear, she spots problems and corrects anomalies related to the care of the patient promptly. Nothing gets ignored especially a worried relative who has not eaten. That level of care translates to positive feedback and ultimately good outcomes for all.
The hallmark of her effectiveness in the job relates to the ease she brings to the job and the pleasantness of her smile. Cheeky, playful as required, stern and uncompromising when necessary, she commands the clinical space to achieve great outcomes for her patients. A steady hand, a warm heart and above all a drive for creating a pleasurable journey throughout the hospital stay helps her appeal to the patients.
The effect being that many patients wonder if she is a Nigerian nurse and where she trained.
Sadly, many are pleasantly surprised that she trained at Babcock University having lost bets that she most likely trained abroad. Many also shamefully promise to help her travel abroad to practice nursing forgetting that it only serves to enrich another nation.
Many nurses in Nigeria and in many hospitals do not see a role for themselves to nourish the patient. Providing food and drinks or ensuring that the patient has enough nutrition is something that Nurse Joy takes seriously. She can prepare a huge variation and selection of breakfasts for patients and at times even feed the relatives. This she does by collaborating with local restaurants and food outlets in the neighbourhood buying choice foodstuff for her patients. She makes breakfast even before patients are awake ensuring they are fed on time before medications are served.
On bed baths
It would be nice if nurses still cared about the personal hygiene of their patients. Many nurses have abandoned oral toileting and bed baths for their patients abdicating those roles to relatives. It is painful to see patients in many of our hospitals being cleaned, fed and turned by relatives while the nurses are watching ‘ZEE WORLD’ on the television. This is where Nurse Joy excels. A stickler for good personal hygiene in patients she ensures that patients do not have to beg to be cleaned. Similarly, this is not a job for relatives unless a wife insists or a husband insists on cleaning their spouse personally.
On general nursing care
Many Nigerian patients are wary of nurses and especially concerned about postoperative care. The fear is such that many do not want to be operated in Nigeria because of expected poor quality of care. To counter this, Nurse Joy is respectful, thoughtful, clinically thorough, playful and dedicated to overcome such fears. This comes at personal cost related to spending time after hours (after closing) to ensure their comfort and a relaxed mind. Many other nurses cannot wait to get away regardless of patient’s need.
In fact, recently nurses at the children’s emergency unit in LUTH failed to review a child, ‘because she looks well’. And in collusion with the junior doctors spent time encouraging the mother to take the child home. ‘Do not waste money on admission’, they said. When the parents insisted on admission, they asked them to go round and see if there was a free bed on the wards!
It is the careless and carefree I don’t care attitude that sends our patients scurrying to other countries for assistance. It is time for good nurses to be celebrated so that the upcoming majority will have real role models to emulate.
One such nurse is Nurse Joy!