Nursing as a profession has come a long way from what it used to be to what we have at present. Nursing profession although highly ranked in developed countries continues to struggle for definition in developing countries.

In the words of Obadiya (2013), the greatest challenge to nursing practice is the nurse. Obadiya opined that most nurses are resistant to change, professional development and advancement. Some he added hold on to previous knowledge and skills yet do not improve or acquire current skills/ knowledge. For most the usual qualities of a nurse such as punctuality, selfless service, empathy and zeal to practice are just not there.

I took some time to interact with a couple of professional colleagues and we discovered that even in 2021 the challenges identified by Obadiya are still very much with us. Between us we had a discouragingly long list but I decided to summarise them to a manageable list.

Top on my list is the nursing leadership (this is a strong table to shake but we will anyway). Respect to all the nursing leaders out there, we may not be where we want to be but your sacrifices is why we are where we are at present. I have discovered the upcoming crop of nurses need senior colleagues they can look up to as they ascend in this profession.

The situation we have is the upcoming have limited choices of whom to pick as role models/ mentors. The choices are just far and in between! We need senior colleagues that are academically, professionally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and politically sound. Not a few but everywhere and across board. We need senior colleagues who we can follow their footsteps, who can hold our hands as we take baby steps in this profession, elders upon whose shoulders we can stand.

We need our senior colleagues to understand that we look up to them; hence we need them to set the pace so we can follow. There’s no need to resent the upcoming generation (most parents pray that their children would be better than they are anyway), all we want is that you step up your play. Raise the significant bars higher and we would rise to the challenge.

As I pause on the issue of nursing leadership I challenge us as we practice nursing to be deliberate about being good examples upcoming nurses can follow. Nurses, keep raising the bars. In subsequent articles I would be focusing on other issues on our list. Stay with me!

Omoteleola Abolade
For Fellow Nurses Africa