Mrs Christiana Fianko, retired Deputy Director of Nursing Services (Education), on Tuesday called for a more practical approach to nursing education in Ghana to make quality health care a reality.
She said currently, nursing education was too theoretical with little attention for practical training which was mostly needed for effective service delivery.
Mrs Fianko, who was also the former Principal of Sekondi Nursing and Midwifery Training School, was addressing participants at a three-day Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Nurses Educators Group (NEG) in Accra.
The meeting under the theme:” Quality Nursing Education a Tool for Effective Patient Care - The Role of the Nurse Educator,” seeks to identify ways of improving the image of the Ghanaian nurse and midwife.
Mrs Fianko called for regular review of the curriculum for nursing and midwifery training in the country to reflect modern methods and inculcate in the trainees the art of customer care.
She suggested that recruitment into nursing training institutions be undertaken without any external interference and urged heads of these institutions to be firm in their duties to resist all forms of mechanisms that would undermine the supervision and discipline in the institutions.
“Large intake of trainees often affect the programmes, plans and implementation processes of the institutions and therefore need to reduce such high intake for effective teaching and learning,” she said
She emphasised the need for improved standards in infrastructure, teaching and learning materials as well as review the working conditions of the staff of these institutions.
Mrs Fianko mentioned poor remuneration of tutors of health training institutions as a major cause of the exodus of skilled professionals which resulted in ineffective staffing.
She noted that quality nursing would be impossible without enhanced support from government and stakeholders.
She suggested that licensing examinations conducted by the Ghana Registered Nurses Association for the graduate nurse should be based on practical assessment rather than theory as currently practiced.
Mrs Fianko explained that since the graduate nurse had already passed through the normal training and had been assessed, the important thing was to confirm that the nurse could really excel on the field of work.
She called for an improvement in the attitudes of trainee nurses before their graduation from the various nursing training institutions
Dr. George Sipa-Adja Yankey, Minister for Health, commended nurse
educators for their efforts and selfless commitment towards the training of nurses in Ghana.
He said although their commitments might not be reflected in their remunerations over the past years, government would their give the maximum attention.
Dr Sipa-Adja Yankey noted that the vision of achieving excellence in medical care and attention to make Ghana the medical hub and a medical tourist centre for West Africa depended largely on the role that nurse educators play in the construction of the profession’s image.
He called for maximum support and cooperation of the various principals of the 57 health training institutions nationwide because such fora offered a perfect chance for them to make their challenges known and seek for strategies to resolve them.
However, out of the 57 health training institutions nationwide only four principals attended the meeting.
Dr Sipa-Adja Yankey encouraged young nurses to demonstrate their commitments to their profession by accepting postings to deprived communities as challenges and opportunities to learn new things outside their familiar childhood environments, rather than seeing such postings as punishment.
He said the Ministry would provide incentives for health workers in deprived communities and increase allocation of its welfare system of vehicle hire purchase to members of the group.
Dr Sipa-Adja Yankey urged the training institutions to make use of technology to enhance the performances of nurses and enable them provide quality nursing as expected by Ghanaians.
Mr Samuel MacCarthy, Chairman of NEG, noted that nurses and midwives formed the bedrock of the nation’s health delivery system therefore problems of nurse educators should be solved without delay.
He called for an open discussion of the real problems that caused exodus of tutors from health training institutions and urged the Ministry to create opportunities for career progression in areas of specialisation, which was crucial in the recruitment and retention of nurse educators in Ghana.
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