AS the Zimbabwe nursing fraternity is mourning the death of nursing legend Bernard Samakomva who died last week after a long battle with cancer, this may be time to reflect on the value and importance of a nurse in our country.
The nurse has served the country for decades and has also earned the country forex as she is one of the major exports from the country as far as labour is concerned.
As a result, all qualified nurses (employed or not) must be respected and treasured not just for solving the health delivery system problems in the country but for the value they give to our country.
In Zimbabwe, the public health system is the largest provider of health-care services and – with a ready nursing workforce there will be some major improvements in our health sector.
The economic decline that affected the country and saw a lot of nurses flee the country in a brain drain that is still affecting the country has now stabilized and things are pointing in the right direction economically.
Workload in the health sector has significantly increased due to pandemics such as Covid-19, HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and cancers, among others. And if there are outbreaks of communicable diseases like cholera and typhoid, nurses carry the biggest burden.
A shortage of nurses has far too many consequences on the health sector to even be considered that is why they have to be taken good care of especially in this pandemic.
Nurses need to work in stable environments where they have ample time to be patiently dealing with patients and to give them the care they need.
This way they avoid making mistakes due to pressure of work.
Nursing can be a risky job as it involves handling sensitive and potentially harmful things like drugs and blood. One mistake can leave a patient or the nurse infected by diseases or losing their lives if they work under pressure.
There have also been reports of unfair treatment of patients especially in public hospitals and this can also be due to the pressure that nurses have to work under. However, nurses should not take that as an excuse to ill-treat patients as they must be after the good health of patients no matter the circumstances.
They must not go on strike and they must always care for the sick, no matter their remuneration or lack thereof.
The nurses who are privileged to have jobs must treasure their jobs and regard the well-being of patients as key. They must love their profession and be ready to care for the sick even with zero recognition.