Why We Need More Men in Nursing By Nurse Ikechukwu Ogbu

Following the most recent manifestation of mental illness demonstrated by Dr. Ajibola of the A&E unit, Ondo State Trauma and Surgical centre who had poured wound irrigation fluid on a licensed and practising nurse, one could be tempted to question the fabrics on which the medical ethics in Nigerian healthcare industry is woven. This was not long after the hopeless idiot, Dr. Emmanuel Okolo of Awoyaya Hospital and Maternity centre, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos meted out a severe beating on a nurse assisting him. You see, there are many mad men on dangling stethoscopes. But the point is that a given specie is always their prey: the female nurses. This is what has beaten my emotion and reason below the belts!

There is no civil or moral justification to amend the act of laying an inimical hand, or even, a blazing tongue upon a fellow caregiver. The barbaric of this is that it often happens in the presence of patients/clients. However, this is obtainable in Nigeria where such school as Bishop Shanahan Hospital Nsukka (among others) would cast a heaving gap, an intimidating gap between the number of females and males to be admitted into General Nursing in the school. Imagine a school admitting only 3, 4 or at most, 5 men into their school among 45 females or more. This is happening in this current era.

Amidst the unscrupulous and jarring attitudes of some doctors on the ward, I have never heard of a male nurse receive such a brutal treatment from a doctor. Men, no doubt, have always gained more respect than their female colleagues. It is no way by male chauvinism, but by the dexterities of manhood; nay, courage, boldness and professionalism. Men question many things and cannot be controlled like a helpless she-goat that is been paraded for sale at Eke-Ozzi market. It’s just baffling that some private hospitals in Lagos, Abuja and other big cities do not recruit male nurses again. As some of them could be as a result of religious fanaticism, extremism and or, mere human stupidity, a good number of them are afraid of men who would come and change a status quo or make a paradigm shift, or even challenge them. Some doctors will not recruit them in their private hospital because they are afraid that such male nurses will gain more ground than they in their own hospital.

However, for the Nursing profession in Nigeria to gain an aggrandized standard, men who are ready to make exploits, both in the brains and in courageous character must be involved. Open wide doors for male aspirants in Nursing schools. Enough of all these girly and fragile manners of nurses. A staunch nurse tutor, Mr. Gold A. relates this fragility and exaggerated obedience of nurses to what he called “Early Childhood Experience” whereby they (student nurses) were treated like Secondary school kids: learning how to open doors for doctors and assisting them do their own duties. This is jaw-breaking! Bullshit!

We do not know who we are probably because we do not also know what we have evolved. We have been enjoying the legal status of “Profession” since 1981 that the Industrial Arbitration Panel awarded us that status. It means we are solely a standardized body and profession whose practice is not fully dependent on another profession, but rather, a complement to other professions which ought to be reciprocated by compliments too. Nursing is never an adjunct of medicine, neither is it an auxiliary. The two professions are parallel; they do not meet. They only rub minds (not shoulders) when the attainment of a therapeutic stardom is inevitable.

I think, in a way, women contribute to a greater percent of our problems. Women, especially these menopausal matrons lazing around with big hips and ancient brains. They should not be made to head units. Clinical expertise is not by age, experience nor political influences and affluence. It is simply by skills and proficiency which is not always gotten by many years of experience. Look at these two categories of mentality now. The White ask: “What can you offer?” The Black ask: “How many years of work experience do you have?”

This is a clarion call. We must wake up. The best way is not by seeking to travel abroad and develop the already developed countries. The best way is standing up and standing out, and eventually standing tall in the very vocation where we are called to serve humanity.

Culled, with minimal edition from: Ogbu, I (2018): A Dangling Stethoscope. Enugu: Timex Enterprises.

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