A young lady was refused medical assistance because she entered the consulting doctors office wearing headphones. Another was ignored because the doctors and nurse were so hellbent on proving that she is pregnant that they treated her with disdain because she was directed to take a pregnancy test and missed an important detail that would have made her recovery process faster.
Do not get us wrong, we are all for the fact that necessary tests need to be done and that it is an effective way of ruling out some sicknesses but do we really have the right to judge patients about the choices they make? Should it go to the extent of them being ignored or laughed at or pointed at?
Let’s take a look at the problem and how we can solve it:
The Issue at Hand
The most pertinent issue is respect. There is not much esteem held for nurses by patients. In the mind of the ordinary Ghanaian, nursing is the course you do either when you do not get into medical school, you desire a career with security or the allowance you receive from going to a nursing college will help subsidize the fees paid. If a survey is conducted, we will find a few people who actually love the job they are doing or at least have the passion to take care of people. That is where the issue stems from. Most if not all of the respect for the healthcare industry goes to the doctors.
On the other hand, over working seems to be one of the main reason why efficient healthcare is a problem in the country. Patient to health worker ratio is something that has continued to cause deaths and illnesses that could have been prevented. Health workers are taking care of so many patients that they rush through consultation just to get you out so someone else can be attended to. This leads to many misdiagnosis as well as wrong prescriptions that could be as deadly as they come.
How can we help?
Give to Caesar what Caesar is due. In this case, we must give nurses and healthcare personnel what they are due. In terms of respect, benefits and proper training. We can start by giving the workers of the industry the respect they duly deserve for the needed services they provide. It will go along way to help in improving the image of nurses and healthcare workers implanted in the minds of Ghana.
Still on the topic of giving the healthcare workers what they are due, it will be helpful if healthcare workers are remunerated better than they are now. Small remuneration does not provide a push strong enough to properly motivate them to work. for those that genuinely have the passion to care for people, the salary might not matter much but for the ones doing it for their family and for security in life, (which is not a problem) what else will motivate them to stay and do better? It would also be very helpful to measure the patient to health worker ratio to ensure that workers are not overexploited and depleted.
The most essential thing needed to help healthcare workers provide efficient services to patient is the provision of a system in which patients can complain about and commend the services they receive from healthcare workers. If there is no complaint or feedback system to properly evaluate services rendered, it will be very hard to notice the ones providing subpar services.
It only takes a steep in the right direction for change to be made. The question we must always ask is how can we all help, whether we are patients, healthcare workers or even passersby. In the end, the better we treat each other, the better our lives become.