NursingNow: Quest for ‘Magnate’ recognition for Kenyan Nurses

NursingNow, Kenya campaign seeks to empower nurses to take their place at the heart of tackling 21st Century health challenges. I feel it also ought to be a quest for some form of ‘magnate’ recognition for Kenyan nurses. May be NursingNow and Magnate look like two mega issues, but they are go-zones for us in Kenya too. Therefore let’s try and bring out these possibilities.

The Magnet Recognition Program in the US was created for health care organizations who truly value nursing talent. The Nurses’ Association there birthed the idea with only five hospitals, in 1994.

The Magnate is now a prestigious credentialing accolade any hospital would aspire to exclusively granted by American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).  By 2000 it was receiving numerous requests with some from outside the US. Nurses in poorly sourced settings are eager to travel these paths by properly positioning themselves. However, they were conscious that there were unique contextual factors that were present in these settings that hindered them.

We too can raise the bar of quality in our own unique way! We can afford to celebrate the power of the individual (and corporate) acts, big and small, to make a difference in the lives of patients, families and the nurses. We can strive to enhance the patient’s or nurse’s experiences, improve quality, and cultivate a healing environment and patient-centered culture.

NursingNow Kenya could be seen as a force towards Magnetism. We can leapfrog here since we now have some attention, albeit borne from a crisis. We should never waste a crisis. “Never let a good crisis go to waste” was attributed to Sir Winston Churchill, the British Premier during World war II. As far-fetched the idea of magnetism might appear we must not stop dreaming, but more important we must act, change course if need be.

Sadly nurses in Kenya for many years are still under-minded and unrecognized for what they do and their roles. But complaining alone will not do, we now got NursingNow, it is on your marks…set Go! Were nurses set… and ready…to Go? Hopefully, we are not getting caught flat-footed this time. We must own the NursingNow and run with it. Nursing must change going forward.

As the health professionals closest to the public nurses should be empowered to use their knowledge, skills, and expertise. Maximize nurses’ contribution to health for all, involve nurses in decision making in health, nurses should be supported to drive health promotion, disease prevention, and treatment.

The nurses’ role in policy development and planning has been too small, despite the invaluable insights their unique position in the health system gives them.

Policy makers and leaders in Kenya should develop new models of care that maximize nursing’s contributions to achieving the Jubilee Government’s Big Four agenda ‘Universal Health Coverage’ and other health goals. More importantly, Kenyans themselves will do themselves lots of good if they endeavour to raise the profile and status of nursing in Kenya.

Americans and the rest of the world have done so, and maybe that was the reason why we continue to envy them while we look down on our own… to the detriment of our own health system. The world over nurses were leading the battlefront in terms of their institutions’ accreditation using learning models.


Magnate® and Planetree® models in the US offers some of the best prototypes of what nurses could learn and the difference it had made (ANCC Magnet Recognition Program, 2018). These encourage greater nursing authority Excellence in Nursing Services as guided by evidence-based practice. Planetree, on the other hand, recognizes as a standard of excellence: patient-/person-centered care based on evidence and standards.


‘Magnete Recognition means education and development for the nurse through every career stage, which leads to greater autonomy. To patients, it means the very best care, delivered by nurses who are supported to be the very best that they can be’


Kenyans can bank on nurses to negotiate better health care for them, and it is true that they have never disappointed. As we mark this memorable day there is a need for greater investment in the profession and the right change of attitude.


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