TAKING THE LEAD AND FORGING YOUR CAREER PATH IN NURSING - FELLOW NURSES AFRICA
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October 11, 2018

TAKING THE LEAD AND FORGING YOUR CAREER PATH IN NURSING

TAKING THE LEAD AND FORGING YOUR CAREER PATH IN NURSING. A PRESENTATION BY NURSE ZACCHEUS OPEYEMI OYEWUMI AT FCN LAUTECH ALUMNI MAIDEN EDITION OF TITBITS.

OUTLINES

•Introduction

•Definition of Nursing

•who is a leader

•areas where you are expected to lead as nurses 

• career paths in nursing

•what do we stand to benefit from the career paths in nursing 

Introduction

The  alarming population growth coupled with poor life expectancy in Nigeria has placed a serious strain on Nursing Practice  in Nigeria.
Along with this population pressure comes new challenges for Nurses, and its imperative we seek for more knowledge that propel one to excellence in nursing practice. As such, nurses need to explore higher learning in various nursing fields and also prepare for leading roles that will showcase the profession to the teeming populace who already have a bias judgment against nurses.

NURSE ZACCHEUS OPEYEMI OYEWUMI(M.P.H, PGDE, BNSC, RNE, RPHN, RM, RN)

Definition of Nursing
I will give us few definitions of nursing that will open our eyes to who we are as Nurses.

Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life.

According to International Council of Nurses, "Nursing encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well and in all settings. Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled and dying people."

 Advocacy, promotion of a safe environment, research, participation in shaping health policy and in patient and health systems management, and education are also key nursing roles.  

 As opined by Royal College of Nursing (2003), " The use of clinical judgment in the provision of care to enable people to improve, maintain, or recover health, to cope with health problems, and to achieve the best possible quality of life, whatever their disease or disability, until death; is called nursing".

Also, In line with the submission of American Nurses Association, Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities; prevention of illness and injury; alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human responses; and advocacy in health care for individuals, families, communities, and populations.

Who is a leader?
A leader is "a person who influences a group of people towards the achievement of a goal". A mnemonic for this definition would be 3P's - Person, People and Purpose
A leader by its meaning is one who goes first and leads by example, so that others are motivated to follow him. This is a basic requirement. To be a leader, a person must have a deep-rooted commitment to the goal that he will strive to achieve it even if nobody follows him!

"Leadership position is not a position of office but a position of authority"

Areas where you are expected to lead as nurses
Strong leadership is critical if the vision of a transformed health care system is to be realized.
 Although  the public is not used to viewing nurses as leaders and not all nurses begin their career with thoughts of becoming a leader.
 The nursing profession must produce leaders throughout the health care system, from the bedside to the boardroom, who can serve as full partners with other health professionals and be accountable for their own contributions to delivering high-quality care while working collaboratively with leaders from other health professions.

All nurses must be leaders in the design, implementation, and evaluation of, as well as advocacy for, the ongoing reforms to the system that will be needed.

Nurses also should serve actively on advisory committees, commissions, and boards where policy decisions are made to advance health systems to improve patient care.
 Nurses must build new partnerships with other clinicians, business owners, philanthropists, elected officials, and the public to help realize these improvements.

Career paths in nursing
Two major errors have aided the ongoing anomalies in the Nigerian Nursing Community.

• one is lack of career progression/career path

• The other one is, poor structure of nursing education
But this evening our attention is on career paths in nursing.

It is important we understand the meaning of career path before we delve into various career paths in nursing.
• career path, career progression, career ladder and career lattice are different terms used to describe how an individual makes progress in his job or career.
Sadly, the Nursing community in Nigeria lacked the beautiful career structure and thereby fell out of group of elite profession like medicine, Law , etc.

In the developed countries, every class of nurses has a defined scope within which he is expected to function efficiently.

There, a movement from one scope to a higher position of responsibility and reward depends strictly on advancement of knowledge and not the number of years you have been sitting down.
For instance, specialty programs like nurse anaesthetic, obstetric and gynaecology nursing etc are only practice at MSN level.

Masters program have taken over specialty course as opposed to the outdated post basic programs which has remain the available specialty program in Nigeria.
Kudos must be given to Lautech department of nursing for planning her PG program in this direction to showcase the through masters program for nursing.
The structure in developed countries which Nigerian nurses must emulate works to ensure that professionals are not trapped in intellectual decadent and gives room for an increase in knowledge, sophisticated experience as you move up the ladder.

Nurses in Nigeria who have distinguished themselves in the profession achieved it through personal motivation, as opposed to structural mechanism that drives members of a professional group to a compulsory personal advancement.
Whereas personal efforts should have just served to separate the good, the better and the very best.

Let me quickly point it out to us that movement from one grade level or conhess to another does not correspond to a proper professional career progression and no wonder nobody will respect Nursing profession in Nigeria as it is the case for medicine.
For example in medicine, if you don't have what it takes to pursue a career in professional residency program, you simply resigned your fate to being a general practitioner.
Nursing should design her professional career in this direction in order to tame down the era of redundancy among Nigeria nurses.

How career path should be for Nigeria nursing profession
As a scientific profession, career path should have been designed to reflect academic advancement

Two types of advancement should be recognized:

•civil service advancement which should give a nurse monetary increment as his years of service increases.

• professional career progression which should give a nurse increased clinical role and leadership promotion with associated allowances as her knowledge and exposure advances from basic Rn or any Rs (NOII), BNSC (NOI), Masters in Nursing (nurse practitioner) and Doctorate in Nursing(nurse consultant).

Conclusively, what do we stand to benefit from this forms of career paths
• it will provoke healthy intellectual competitiveness

• it will give birth to several nurse theorists, clinicians, reputable leaders and innovators whose work will develop the body of knowledge in nursing practice

• we will have the opportunity to carve a niche worthy of emulation for ourselves in the healthcare industry.

• we will be heading towards becoming a profession of international repute.

•it will give room for only those who are exceptional to reach the peak of their profession, thereby embracing transformational leadership style.

• no more will any heads in nursing sells their subordinates to the hospital management because to clinch that headship position would have been by intellectual merit.

Finally as I am ending this presentation, career progression/path is Germaine to the future of this profession, hence, stakeholders most especially the regulatory body of Nigeria nursing profession and the various unions and pressure groups should rise to the occasion of giving Nigerian nurses the best in order to reduce the incessant migration of nurses to the fertile lands.


While we await this radical change, all of us must continue reading and think of how you will advance your academic prowess in nursing.

As nurses, wherever we find ourselves our dream should be to take the lead in a radical restructuring that nursing in Nigeria will soon witness and the only instrument to do that is to position ourselves well academically with sound professional culture.
Though it may not be a bread and butter thing but we must all be determined to path of the excellent transformation.
I will strive to be part of the changing process. What about you?


NURSE ZACCHEUS OPEYEMI OYEWUMI(M.P.H, PGDE, BNSC, RNE, RPHN, RM, RN)
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