Save for the background music which perhaps, was soul-refreshing, the reception hall was as silent as a graveyard. The patients were calm; some were glued to books that were displayed on the table even as some dwelt their eyes on murals of historic times in Nigeria. It was Thursday morning and a good number of them were actually waiting for the MD whose consultation days were Monday and Thursday.
Not too long, a man on a winsome attire walked into the reception hall. He was full of life and cheers. He waved, while a handful hand returned the gesture with smiles. A patient whispered,
“This doctor is gentle.”
Unaware of the compliments, he walked briskly into the nurses’ station and descended on the nurse on duty with the colour of a chameleon. His annoyance was one thing: The patients that were to see him ought to have been waiting for him in his office not in the reception hall, and it was the duty of the nurse to instruct the patients well. If the human voice were visible, his voice would have been seen moving in sporadic motion to and fro in different ends of the cubicle which had been carved out as the office of the nurse on duty. The nurse was calm, however. The last thing she heard was the sound of the door close noisily before her.
She came out, went into the hall and like a tigress who had contracted a trait of violence and aggression from her master, mounted on the innocent patients, roaring with unprocessed grammatical constructions. A patient whispered again,
“This nurse is ungentle.”
Very dear colleagues,
It is understandable that in some hospitals, especially private, some doctors or the MD are extravagant in manners when they are relating with their nurses and yet, they go home winning the admiration of the patients who do not know the actions behind the scene. Uninformed nurses who work like donkeys round the clock go home with a bad name, winning the condemnation of the patients.
As patients’ advocates, our priority is to ensure their comfort, peace and serenity even when we had received doses of embarrassment on their behalf. Instead of transferring the aggression on them, we can suppress it while we deal with our bitterness with the direct source privately. Even when we are confronted by patients with undomesticated manners, we must learn the gentility of using wise and professional words which can prevent the risk of acute psychiatric emergency. Remember: you cannot chase a mad man naked, lest, both of you are seen as mad.
The primary reason why the public have misconceptions about nurses is because many of us have not learnt the custody of human relationships. Emotional intelligence calls to mind the ability to absorb insults or others’ flaws for the greater value of not hurting the feelings of an innocent mind who could make an immediate definition of a nurse. A good number of Nigerians see Nigerian nurses as hostile and ill-mannered. However, behind the façade is a lowly nurse who was not made hostile by her profession, but by her inability to master the art of relationship.
If we could conquer ourselves, garner the requisite knowledge and skills to confront an epileptic authority at the right time, we would definitely succeed in erecting an edifice of good name for ourselves and the profession in general.
For Fellow Nurses Africa