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NURSING AND POLITICS: A SYNERGISTIC APPROACH TO LIBERATION BY PRINCE ALEGE OLUSEGUN EDMUND

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NURSING AND POLITICS: A SYNERGISTIC APPROACH TO LIBERATION BY PRINCE ALEGE OLUSEGUN EDMUND 

PREAMBLE
Nurses are increasingly being urged to become more politically aware and active. The relationships between political awareness, political activity and professionalism are explored, and it is argued that until nurses recognise and utilise the power engendered by their special and unique expertise they will not achieve professional development. It is particularly crucial that this fact is recognised by nurses and that political awareness is accepted as a legitimate curricular goal of nurse training.

DEFINITION OF TERMS:
NURSING:  A classical definition of nursing by Virginia Henderson, a distinguished American Nursing Educator and writer readily comes in here. She defined nursing as: “The art and science of caring, aiming at assisting the individual sick or well in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he has the strength, will or knowledge. And to do this, in such a way as to help him gain independence rapidly as possible.

POLITICS: The art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy {Merriam-Webster Dic}.

SYNERGY: It is the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple of its sum. It is an Attic Greek word from synergos meaning working together.

APPROACH: Simply mean coming nearer to something that has been in far from reach
LIBERATION: The action or process of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, oppression or being released.

INTRODUCTION
Your liberty will not be freely given to you. You must be bold to liberate yourself. Lailah Gifty Akita
Politics is a stronghold worldwide as it affects every facet of our lives. Hardly can any serious policies would be enacted to make or mar people without politicking.
Human are also seen as political animal as we practice politics overly or covertly in our daily lives. No one can boldly say they don’t get involve in home, work, religious or secular politics.
It is however disheartening to note that politics practiced in Nursing is more of intuition. It has no basis for researches. We only hand over mediocrity to new generation. All we teach is ethics which is even taught out of context.
Politics is a multifaceted word.
What is the purpose of politics: it is to enable the members of a society to collectively achieve important human goals they cannot otherwise achieve individually. This is done through negotiation, debate, legislation and other political structures.
Those who had the stronghold of politics achieves better summatively than those who rant and whales for their rights.

We are all living witnesses to what happened during the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (our former President) when a bill was signed on a weekend to foster better living condition for the doctors in Nigeria. That is the essence of politics

WHY DO WE NEED POLITICS IN NURSING
To be part of law makers.
Decision makers
To dwell in the corridor of power.
To defend professional integrity.
To improve the welfare of members.
Improve and enforce international standard of practice.

I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! Patrick Henry

WHAT ARE THE STRATEGY FOR POLITICS IN NURSING
Mentorship
Curriculum development
Reorientation of members
Acting as advocates to subordinates.

Leaders are born but those that learn it must grow with a mentor.

The most important strategy is MENTORSHIP
The most painful question in nursing is “do we have mentors?”
Can we generate a critical mass of Nigerians in each academic discipline, who are imbued with the ideals and skills of mentorship, especially professionalism and altruism?

Are there differences between mentors, coach or rulers?

Which one exist in Nursing?
A distillate from the literature reviewed and the crucible of my experience:
A mentor is a skillful and impactful teacher, with updated knowledge in his/her field, and with a caring temperament, who is engaged in hands-on transfer of skills and professional guidance to a keen and resourceful student in a long-term altruistic professional relationship.

HOW MANY OF OUR LEADERS HAS UPDATED KNOWLEDGE
COACHING on the other hand is a related, but different, the term is “coaching”, also called “micromentoring”, which is a more focused experience to solve a defined problem (e.g., to pass an examination), within a limited time, and could involve payment of professional fees/
RULERS is a domineering power that most times do not add to people but enforces laws.

Prince Alege Olusegun

WHICH ONE DO WE PRACTICE IN NURSING?

Everything can be taken from a man but… the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Victor Frankl

HOW CAN YOU BECOME A PERFECT MENTOR
Consider these seven key qualities that I copied from Wikipedia that are said can help one to become an effective mentor.
Ability and willingness to communicate what you know. …
Preparedness. …
Approachability, availability, and the ability to listen. …
Honesty with diplomacy. …
Inquisitiveness. …
Objectivity and fairness. …
Compassion and genuineness

These personality attributes are important in the generic sense.
My experience is that, even with an abundance of the above qualities, if you do not have the professional specialist skills and knowledge, you would not be in a position to effectively mentor anyone in your particular discipline.
From the perspective of an academic or professional discipline, a mentor is primarily a more senior and experienced person, who has updated knowledge and skills, and is willing to impart them, freely, as a teacher, to a keen student; not a moralizing, nice, bland, easy- to- get-on –with senior who is ready to joke with you at any time.
According to Penny Loreto, “a good mentor is hard to find and most people don’t have mentors”
 In my experience, being a mentor is not something that an individual can boast about or demand to be called; rather, it is an honor bestowed by those who feel that you have been impactful in their professional lives.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS
Requirements for the mentor: a threshold level of professional competence, expertise and practical experience.
Then inculcate the ideals of emotional and social intelligence, a collegial attitude, ethical concerns and altruism
Let us examine the usefulness and characteristics of a mentor, from the perspectives of famous people who have been mentored:

PERSPECTIVE MENTORS HAS THE FOLLOWING QUOTES
1. “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey
2. “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” — John C. Maxwell
3. “Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
4. “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” — John Crosby
6. “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg
7. “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill
8.“You know, you do need mentors, but in the end, you really just need to believe in yourself.” — Diana Ross
9. “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” — Benjamin Disraeli
10. “What I think the mentor gets is the great satisfaction of helping somebody along, helping somebody take advantage of an opportunity that maybe he or she did not have.” — Clint Eastwood
11. “We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” — Whoopi Goldberg
12. “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” — Isaac Newton
13. “In order to be a mentor OLUWATOSIN:
, and an effective one, one must care. You must care. You don’t have to know how many square miles are in Idaho, you don’t need to know what is the chemical makeup of chemistry, or of blood or water. Know what you know and care about the person, care about what you know and care about the person you’re sharing with.” — Maya Angelou

14. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” — The Bible
15. “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington
In addition to the above quotes, I’ll add mine as:
Without a mentor, you risk living in a blinkered world, i.e., with a narrow or limited outlook, Knowing only your own things, locked into your set attitudes, A local champion, intolerant and autocratic.

A 1995 study of mentoring techniques most commonly used in business (Aubrey & Cohen,1995) found that the five most commonly used techniques among mentors were:
Accompanying: making a commitment in a caring way, which involves taking part in the learning process side-by-side with the learner.
Sowing: mentors are often confronted with the difficulty of preparing the learner before he or she is ready to change. Sowing is necessary when you know that what you say may not be understood or even acceptable to learners at first but will make sense and have value to the mentee when the situation requires it.
Catalyzing: when change reaches a critical level of pressure, learning can escalate. Here the mentor chooses to plunge the learner right into change, provoking a different way of thinking, a change in identity or a re-ordering of values.
Showing: this is making something understandable, or using your own example to demonstrate a skill or activity. You show what you are talking about, you show by your own behavior.
Harvesting: here the mentor focuses on “picking the ripe fruit”: it is usually used to create awareness of what was learned by experience and to draw conclusions. The key questions here are: “What have you learned?”, “How useful is it?”.
MY TAKE ABOUT MENTORSHIP TOWARDS ACHIEVING POLITICAL STABILITY ARE
These values, the search for truth, the rigor in their questions and in the demonstrations and disrespect for dogmas and for authority for the sake of authority,
Will contribute to make our citizens and our societies freer, more progressive, more capable of solving their problems.
Scientific rigor is a value that should penetrate our daily thoughts, our media, the discourse of our politicians, and our complete culture.
Hence, it is an instrument for changing minds in a way that fosters national development

HOW DO WE NOW MARRY THIS TOWARDS IMPROVING NURSING IN NIGERIA?
We must follow the path to political activism

Political activism is a critical skill nurses must learn to protect their practice and the nursing profession.
Individual can grow themselves in stages
Let me introduce us to this 5 stages of growth as it affect the politics

1.  Apathy. The apathetic nurse doesn’t belong to professional organizations, takes little or no interest in legislative politics as they relate to nursing and health care, and may not be a registered voter. Hence, get a voters card
If you have your PVC (permanent voters card) kindly raise up your hands

2. Buy-in. The nurse starts to recognize the importance of activism within professional nursing organizations but hasn’t taken an active role in these organizations. He or she starts to become interested in legislative politics related to critical nursing issues, but takes little or no political action. Nurses at this stage are likely to be registered voters.

3.  Self-interest. The nurse seeks involvement in professional organizations to further his or her career and seeks to develop and use political expertise to promote professional self-interest.
How many of us participated in the last unit NANNM election?

4.  Political sophistication. The nurse is active at the professional organizational level and may hold an organizational office at the local or state level. He or she has moved beyond self-interest and recognizes the need for activism on behalf of the public.
Who amongst us belong to any political party? I mean card carrying member?

5.  Leading the way. This is the final stage when a nurse serves in an elected or appointed position at the state or national level of a professional organization. To provide true leadership on broad healthcare interests within legislative politics, he or she may seek appointment to policymaking bodies. Some nurse-leaders seek election to political office.
First, shake off your apathy. Recognize the importance of political activism for nurses. Take an interest in politics—especially on issues related to nursing.
This statement is very important “Political activism skills are learned and exercised most effectively through the organized efforts of nurses working together through professional organizations.”
Can Nurses work together?

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT
The Nursing and Midwifery must as a matter of urgency develop a curriculum in line with teaching of leadership skills, mentoring and politics in schools of nursing.
The generic students benefits from these because it is a borrowed course for university education.

During Principals conference, the Nursing and midwifery council must ensure the teaching of leadership, mentoring and political relevance is part of what is thought.
Finally, we should learn to act as advocate to our younger Nurses.
We should be responsible for our roles and responsibility.

I will like to leave us with some quotes that will place us in the right state of mind to know we really needed liberation
Paulo Freire “leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people – they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress”.

Prince Alege Olusegun Edmund

07030121467
eddybol2000@yahoo.com or eddybol2000@gmail.com

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