Nursing Apologetic: A Discussion By The Bedside | Part 1
“You were not discouraged from studying nursing?”
Was the question a patient of mine asked me, while I was connecting her to the cardiac monitor. We started discussing, I told her about my decision to study nursing – how my mum, who is a Senior Orthopedic Nurse Specialist encouraged me to choose nursing as a profession [It’s a very long story, which I will write about soon]. She did not stop there, she went ahead to ask me:
“How many guys were there in your set?”
Well, gentle me, I went ahead replying:
“We were eight men and about forty-something ladies.”
I did not go into further details, we just laughed over it [over what?] and I continued taking care of her. Oh, and that patient was a medical doctor.
I wanted to prod her with my questions, to search her mind and understand her train of thoughts, but I gave up on that adventure, I had many things that I was thinking about at that moment. I wish I can see her once more, and have a good discussion with her.
My motivation for studying nursing was entirely external. I was studying Biochemistry in the University, before “somethings” happened and I decided to switch professions. My first choice was to do Computer Science or Computer Engineering. I have been a big follower of the digital world right from the womb, so I wanted to follow my dreams. But my mother advised me to enter into the world of nursing, and I obeyed I, I did study nursing, and I have got no regrets.
What about my dream of studying Computer Science? Did it die? No, it never died. I kept that dream within me as I studied, and I began to understand that it is possible to merge my interest in Computer Science with my profession. So, I took off, on a solo quest, to discover how to integrate my love for the digital world with nursing, and I found Digital Health. And now, I am an ambassador of Digital Health. I write about it, I talk about it, I read about it, I am building a community right now around the future concepts surrounding digital health. I am living an adventure; discovering, learning, and building.
You may have encountered such fellows in your course of practice as a registered nurse, especially here in Africa, where culture and tradition have quietly infiltrated even the intellectual world. And for us men, who have found ourselves in the supposed “World of Women,” we have become, the target of many curious bullets; coming from the public, our family members, fellow healthcare professionals, and this category top the list – patients/clients.
Right through my days in school of nursing, I have wrestled in the ring of such dialogues, defeating questions after questions, like it were wrestle-mania. People are just so surprised to see a male nurse [Here, I am not sure about how they react in other developed climes]. We look like some exotic species of whatever. I have learned to understand their perspective and I always put their point of view into scale. It’s not their fault, the culture has a great effect on how they perceive a lot of things.
As I journey through this fertile land of nursing practice, I am learning a whole lot about nursing. I sometimes refer to this profession as a kind of Cinderella, one that people do not give much attention to because they feel ‘she’ is not important, meanwhile ‘she’ is the most important aspect of the whole structure – the one the Prince finally falls in love with.
Medicine is an awesome profession, I mean the prestige and status, is amazing, but nursing is super fantastic. You will never know the beauties when you stand afar and view from your limited purview. The glory is only revealed when you come closer. Like the star we behold from a million miles away, we never know how bright it shines, until we take curious steps closer to see for ourselves the beauty and the awesomeness.
In my country Nigeria, nurses are not respected. They are overworked and underpaid. Academic progress is annoying and it is not motivating at all. I mean, why spend four or five years extra to get a nursing degree after spending three years in a nursing school? Our post-basic programs are still quantified as diplomas, instead of masters or advanced degrees. Young nurses are looking for ways of leaving the country, in search of better opportunities, and nobody is doing anything about it.
Meanwhile, in developed countries, the profession flourishes on all fronts; from the academic facet to the welfare of nurses, all the way up to remuneration and professional recognition.
There is still a lot of things to discover in the practice of nursing. Our evolving culture as a species silently tampers with the way care is rendered. Technological advancements have started to shape the way we view healthcare practice. And these new developments have widened the horizons; broadened our perspectives; opened new and fresh vistas to us.
We are compelled to view the future through the exciting and challenging lens of innovation and creativity. Tasked with the duty to beautify the nursing profession with our ideas; we do nothing daily but think. Think of how to bring in new concepts or work on older ones to fit into the new systems that we have today.
If you have found yourself in the nursing profession, either by choice or chance, I must let you know that you are in the right place. You are in the middle of the action. Where it’s all happening. This is the epicentre, the vibrations are better felt right here.
In the next part of this article, I will tell you more about the recent developments in nursing practice. We will talk about the advanced degrees that have now entered the academic domain of nursing practice; amongst other very pertinent professional issues.