The Ghanaian society aphorism towards Nursing in Ghana contradicts with the realism of the profession. Nursing is indeed a noble profession, and the deference given as such is unmatched. The Nursing profession is seen as the backbone of every health care system hence considered as an essential service.
The idea to be a Nurse which is adopted through enthusiasm and commitment is now tending to breed out perpetual disquieting. The apathetic situations some Nurses are in now is due to the subtlety of the profession. The acumen of the Nursing profession now seems devious with the most fundamental paradox as, “employment after training”.
The Mundus Operandi accepted for one to be qualified as a nurse begins with training. The genesis of becoming a nurse in Ghana now is unfathomable with the mantra of who you know or the huge amount of money you will pay as an allurement to gain admission.
The Journey of Nursing in Ghana
The system of Nursing Training in Ghana has in it, two separate semesters per year. To give you clear knowledge by expatiating to the gist “two separate semesters per year” means that, Trainees will have to pay a huge amount of school fees, purchase handouts, and many more each semester within the year. Trainees will have to offer not less than five (5) courses within each semester. The diploma nurses will have to complete six semesters within three (3) years with certificate programs four (4) semesters within two (2) years.
The cost involved in other curricular activities such as Care Study (Home visiting), Research work, Psychiatric affiliation, and others will baffle your logical sense of reasoning. Trainee Nurses and Midwives will have to attend clinical attachments after completing each semester for not less than four (4) weeks. With all the costs involved within one semester, a trainee will have to also bear the cost of attending clinical attachments irrespective of its unfeasibility.
The barometer of stress and anxiety one has to go through before completing Nursing Training in Ghana seems plaintive.
Another prerequisite for a Diploma Nurse to practice Nursing in Ghana is to complete a one-year mandatory National Service making it four years of training.
All other things being equal, a Diploma Nurse who is recruited permanently to be a Registered Nurse is put on a meager level as stipulated in the Single Spine Salary Structure, (SSSS).
“The value of a thing sometimes lies not in what one attains with it, but in what one pays for it. What it cost us.”
The Salary received after four years of training is anticlimactic so as the Certificate/Enrolled Nurses. A certificate/enrolled Nurse is put on a more meager level than Diploma Nurses as stipulated in the Single Spine Salary Structure, (SSSS) after two years of training. The main motive of Education is to acquire knowledge that will help you succeed in life. The question is, how easy will it be for a Nurse to succeed with such a salary per month? Even parsimony will find it difficult to do so.
In life, one has to make progress, and making progress should yield much better results but not Nursing in Ghana. It is rather the opposite. Trying to advance in the Nursing Profession in Ghana now is like pouring grains of corn into a bag full of holes.
A Diploma nurse after persuing first degree for two years making it six years is put on slightly more level as stipulated in the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS). We use to say there is always light at the end of the tunnel, but nursing in Ghana seems darkness throughout the tunnel. The only thing left for us is the Nobility and the Heart to save lives.
The next progress after a degree is to be a Principal Nursing Officer which will put you on quite an acceptable level as stipulated by the Single Spine Salary Structure and it comes with its own promenade. A Registered Nurse will have to work for fifteen (15) years rising through a series of offices before been promoted to be a Principal Nursing Officer in Ghana. This is the desirous Nursing Profession in Ghana.
The best you can get in Nursing now is to be a Chief Nursing Officer for you to be put on a very appreciable level I must say as stipulated in the Single Spine Salary Structure and Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives awards that.
One can only become a member of the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives if he or she has acquired a Diploma certificate in Nursing (3 years), followed with one-year mandatory National service (1 year) and had furthered to obtain his first degree (2 years) before he or she can be accepted as a member to spend additional three years, making it nine years. Nine years of constant study and practicing of Nursing will put you on that level which comparatively seems unfair, as stipulated in the Single Spine Salary Structure, and one saddest thing is that each Region in Ghana has only one Nursing Officer including Teaching Hospitals. This is how subtle the profession is.
The heights of civilization and refinement in this millennium world now clearly depicts how to embitter nursing is defined in Ghana. The Nursing profession in Ghana is seen as the best and noble profession, but underneath its glittering surface is a cauldron of dark emotions, anxiety, and disillusionment.
A Diploma Nurse after enduring the three years’ hardship of training coupled with a one-year mandatory service and Certificate Students two years, all that is left for is unemployed graduates looking up to politicians. The employment or recruitment by politicians also seems capricious. The fate and dogma of perusing Nursing in Ghana now hinge upon political expediency.
There is no clear cut resourceful policy for the Nursing Profession for over 50 years and this has bred the detraction, bitter speaking about the profession by other Health workers within the various Hospitals. This is the profession that is considered as the citadel of the health system in Ghana.
Nurses contribute over 65% of health care delivery in Ghana yet the reward received here on earth seems melancholy. Any wonder then, that most Nurses tend to wince for a different profession, some become eager to travel outside and work. Many people after entering into Nursing becomes odious but only left to brandish. The pretense in Nursing keeps to snowballed and many people are victims of the saying “Had I known”.
It has gotten to the pinnacle for our leaders and all other Health bodies to invest in the people who defend our health.
Let’s Support Nursing Now
There should be a sustainable policy to thwart the under-investment in the education and employment of health workers, together with the inability to ensure decent pay. The Profession deserves the best.
Nonetheless, to all Nurses and Midwives out there, let us cherish the Noble Profession and shouldn’t feel eccentric or shameful to be a Nurse with this subtle condition. To be in the Profession means you are destined for something more worthwhile.
The persistence and strength of character exhibited by the mother of Modern Nursing, Florence Nightingale, which earned her the title as the “lady of the lamp” should be our hallmark.
If not us who? if not now when? John F Kennedy. We still have a long way to go in this Profession. We should be motivated by helping people, if we don’t do this right now, I don’t think there may be another chance. It is the nursing that will make the difference, and our reward is with God.
This year has been designated by the WHO as the “International Year for The Nurse and Midwife and it’s our fervent prayer to see improvement within the health system before this year ends.
A very big thank you to all our heroes and heroine for your bravery, courage, and resolve in the COVID-19 Global response. You are our inspiration. God bless you all.