By Dr Masimba Mavaza| Nurses can only render quality services if their work environment provides conditions that support them and the patients. Positive work environments are important in achieving patient and employee safety, quality care and favourable patient outcomes.
Healthy work environments involve all practices implemented to attain the highest level of nurse health and well-being, quality patient care outcomes, high institutional performance and positive social outcomes. Work environments play an important role in securing employee health and safety and obtaining a desirable level of productivity from employees.
It is unfortunate that most people in Zimbabwe have condemned nurses from the comfort of their well-paying jobs or from absolute ignorance of fact.
Nurses are not on record striking for pay and allowances, they are not seeking to be paid as much as the doctors. Their complaint is very much pregnant with the love and passion of their work. They are requesting that the working environment be conducive and be humane enough for the good of the patient and the freedom of working. Providing health care needs to be powered by a healthy working station. The condition of service covers the equipment which includes gloves, needles and general smartness of the wards; beds for the patients places to rest neatness per sur. Occupying a crucial position in the development and advancement of health services, protection and improvement of individual, family and community health and provision of effective patient care and education, nursing is among the complex and risky professions in terms of working conditions, so the nurses are striking for the whole country. No one in Zimbabwe is exempt from being sick.
If only the government can ban treatment of any person outside the country if anyone gets sick a chopper is commanded to Parirenyatwa then we would see a different thinking the cry of the nurses. Nurses are exposed to risks because they spend time with patients and occupy themselves with the direct care of patients they know that most deaths are due to poor working environment.Aside from infections, nurses face stress and overwork .
Nurses work in a system of shifts and night duties, and they are subjected to excessive work load, long working periods without breaks, tiring and irregular working hours, role confusion, and lack of support from managers, low professional status and distressful work relationships. All they are asking for is that just make a hospital a better place to get your health. How can you enjoy your Sadza from a soiled plate?
All what nurses are crying for is an enabling environment an environment that allows for performance. Health is and must be a priority Unhealthy work environments negatively affect the performance of nurses, patient care outcomes and patient safety and cause nurses to become alienated/distracted from their profession; several of them even leave their profession, a situation that leads to a decrease in the nursing workforce. It is not proper to abuse nurses because the country is in a situation where employment is scarce.
Under-staffing of nurses resulting from a decrease in the nursing workforce negatively affects the quality, efficiency and prompt realisation/provision of appropriate patient care.
As one of the environments that involve busy work schedules, hospitals are complex and dynamic organisations that provide services 24 h a day and seven days a week; they operate with an open system and matrix structure.
Most hospitals have no pain killers, yet a hospital is a place to remove pain, some simple illness killing people are laughable. Firing nurses enemas is an emotional reaction which needs to be revisited. Questions that needs to be answered are Will the process of firing all nurses save lives in public hospitals? Does the government have enough personnel to replace the fired nurses, will the replacements get better working conditions or it’s just dipping the clean water in a dirty cup. Is anybody thinking of the future of our health sector?
We should realise that replacing all fired nurses is not an event but a process. The government must never adopt a big boss mentality. The nation is not a unit or a squad. Labour issues are internationally followed and our rushed big brother reaction is counterproductive and repugnant to natural justice. The government of the people must compromise learn to discuss and never be quick to squeaze a trigger.
For improved patient outcomes, quality care and contented employees, it is necessary to assess how nurses perceive their work environments and make necessary improvements.
It was far much better if the minister of Health was to deal with the matter than for him to push the bark to the VP.
Before we condemn the nurse we must remember the inherent risks of being a nurse, the noble job they do and the lives they serve.