Nursing Now is a campaign, which aims to raise the status and profile of nursing so as to improve health and enable nurses to maximize their contribution in achieving universal health coverage.
Traditionally it is believed that nurse’s roles is just confined to bedside or being the Physician’s assistant, a notion that has stereotyped the nursing profession for some time. Other than playing a pivot role in treatment, prevention and health promotion nurses have been in the forefront in health planning, development of global health policy, education and research but the credit has often been imputed to the Physician. Nurses therefore need to come out and strongly claim their undisputed position in the road to achieving Universal health care through evidenced based practice, policy and decision making in health care setting.
In its quest to improve health for all the community, County and the National government must start recognizing the important role the Nurses and Midwives play in health care since they form the largest group of health care professionals. Furthermore, they are member of health professionals’ teams that plays a crucial role in Primary health care. According to Alma Ata conference of PHC, 1978, a health system with a strong primary care delivers better health outcomes, efficiency and improved quality of care to all compared to other models, an area nurses are at the centre of its implementation. In order to achieve these tenets nurses needs to be equipped with adequate resources, knowledge, skills and competencies necessary in order to enhance effective change in the health sector. While the government should also support these professionals by offering specialized training just like it has done to Medical doctors trough sponsorships and scholarships within and outside the country, like the recent exchange programme with the Cuban Government. To reduce the brain drain and high turnover for nurses and Midwives moving outside the country they need to be well remunerated and provided with equipment and a working environment that is conducive.
It is unfortunate that few nurses are involved in the country’s health decision making yet currently there are many of them with Masters and doctorate degrees who are highly qualified to hold those positions, coupled with wide experiences Nurses should be incorporated in leadership and policy development, particularly in delivering universal health coverage and addressing current and emerging health problems.
According to WHO, it is the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health, the same has not been forthcoming often due to a combination of under investment, lack of political will and misconceptions about the role and benefits of nurses in healthcare management. Therefore, today as we mark this memorable day there is need for greater investment in the profession and the right change of attitude in the field. It is never too late to turn around. Nursing now.