Minister Akbar Prescribes A Cure For Nurses

Wise words from Rosy Akbar over the weekend. The Health and Medical Services Minister’s advice should be heeded by all our nurses. The health system in any country is a
24 Apr 2017 12:33
Minister Akbar Prescribes  A Cure For Nurses
Minister for Health and Medical Services, Rosy Akbar (second from left), while visiting the Nausori Health Centre on April 4, 2017. Photo: DEPTFO News

Wise words from Rosy Akbar over the weekend. The Health and Medical Services Minister’s advice should be heeded by all our nurses.

The health system in any country is a sensitive topic. Ours is no different. At the moment, our health system is a highly discussed topic on Facebook. This includes questioning the role and behaviour of nurses.

This has led to Ms Akbar urging all nurses to always be aware of how their behaviour would be seen by others. How one nurse’s unprofessional attitude can change the public’s view on the rest of our Fijian nurses.

Nurses have been asked not to ‘fight fire with fire’. They have been reminded not to engage in debate or discussion on ministry issues via social media.

It doesn’t matter if the public posts are rude or insulting, as many undoubtedly are. Nurses have been asked to remain silent. And let their good deeds speak for them instead.

The Minister herself says she has seen nurses behaving poorly towards each other. She has heard senior nurses being rude or abrupt in their dealings with junior colleagues. This can spread throughout the workplace.

However, let us not view and unfairly stereotype and criticise all nurses. Not all nurses are rude. Far from it. Not all medical staff are rude. Far from it. Not all of them are the same. Far from it.

As we have featured in our news pages, there are good nurses doing outstanding work daily. Often under stress or in difficult conditions.

But that having been said it must be acknowledged that people have come across nurses who have been rude. For example, there are some nurses who judge their patients, especially teenage mothers in the maternity wards.

Nurses need to be aware that times have changed In this age of proliferating social media. They can no longer hide their bad behaviour or service.

Videos and pictures quickly circulate on social media. They can be said to have pictured only one side of the story. But they also illustrate why family and friends could be upset.

Efforts to ban cameras from inside the wards and emergency rooms cite the importance of patient confidentiality. Fair enough. But the reality is there is no hiding when people with phones and access to social media are around.

This has been shown around the world. Look at how the recent shocking treatment of a customer on a United Airlines flight in American quickly went global, with dire consequences for United.

Nurses here are not immune from this with that proliferation of smartphones in all areas of our society.

What can be done to help nurses working under stress with difficult and emotional people? Maybe the heads of our two schools of nursing should introduce a class that will have nurses understanding the importance of customer service/ patient service.

Where they will have the ability to work under pressure, sometimes great stress, sometimes with very emotional people, and continue to serve the people professionally.

This much is clear. Ms Akbar is right in her call for nurses to focus on service. Always. The reality is there are a lot less hiding places in today’s world of smartphones and people using social media.

Rise up nurses of Fiji. Bring back the Florence Nightingale service with a smile. All the time. Be the nurses people look up to. Be the nurses who shine on social media. Listen to the wise words from your minister.

Losirene Lacanivalu


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