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 we practice nursing let us be deliberate about being an example upcoming nurses can follow.

Next on my list is client-centered orientation/ interaction. It seems that over the years nursing and nurses have lost touch with our patients. We seem to have separated ourselves from the reality of the patients. We seem not to be able to feel, see, sense as the patient does. Nursing seems to be encumbered by the tasks and we have little time for the little things that matter most to our clients. Empathy seems to be lost in our practice. I found out that every time a colleague was admitted into the hospital; following discharge there’s usually a change of perspective. They care a little better because they have had a taste of what it is like to be a client.

The idea of this write up is not to just identify the challenges we have as a profession (most of us already know them anyway). The idea is to challenge us to take another look at the nursing profession and our current practice and be deliberate about the necessary changes we need to make. Changes that are not necessarily big but consistently effected. We need to ask ourselves serious questions, make tough decisions and take even tougher questions. What is expected of you and I is that we identify where we have fallen short and to begin to deliberately improve our practice.
Truth is change is not the easiest thing to do but we must if we would leave a positive footprint in the sand of this profession. Ask yourself what you want to be remembered for in this profession and its never too late to begin to take the appropriate actions. Whether it is enrolling for a course update, ….
Remember the journey of a thousand mile begins with a step

Kehinde Kolapo, Agnes Adelusi, Omosola Akintoroye, Steven Olusanya,
Obadiya, J. (2013). oteleola Abolade