“It is 5:00 am Monday morning as I turn off the alarm clock. I know that I need to get going and not be late for work. This will be my third 12 hour shift and I can’t wait until my day off. I sure hope my day today is better than yesterday.
One of my patients was going to surgery in 30 minutes and the consent form was not signed. I had to contact the physician to make sure the procedure was explained to the patient. Once the patient left for surgery I was behind administering medications. I rushed to catch up and some of the medications were not available. It was only 10:00 am and I was exhausted. I still had so much to do and nine more hours to work. I ran to the break room and had a quick cup of coffee to rejuvenate myself and then back to work. One of my patients slipped and fell, and a new patient was having increased pain and I needed to deal with both situations at the same time.
At 1:00 pm I finally had some time to eat lunch. No sooner do I sit down to eat had i received a phone call that the physician for the patient who fell was here and wanted me in the patient’s room right away. I went to meet the physician and discuss the patient’s condition. I had to deal with one case after another until the end of my shift. At 7:30 pm I gave my report to the oncoming nurse and went home. I was so exhausted that I only ate a bowl of porridge and went to bed. The next day may be busy again but I am a nurse and I know that i am supposed to expect the unexpected. I love being a nurse and I am glad to be going to work for another day,” this is one nurse’s account of a typical day in the life of a nurse.
Despite saving lives and working their hearts out to keep the nation healthy they have remained one of the most unappreciated professionals in the country. In order to advance and maintain their professional growth and integrity as well as promoting their own health and wellbeing, nurses in Botswana registered the Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) in 2012.Three years later, in partnership with Aviwe HealthCare Resource and Training Institute, and the Ministry of Health (MoH), BONU will host their inaugural Botswana International Nursing Conference (BINC) from 4-6 November, 2015.
“The conference objectives were formed around the nursing pillars of education, practice, regulation, and socio economic welfare,” said BONU President, Ruth Mokgethi.
She was speaking at a stakeholders briefing held at Pavilion Hall (Fairgrounds Holdings) on Tuesday, May 19. Mokgethi highlighted some of the challenges that impede nurses from efficiently delivering quality health services to the public. She mentioned among others; low wages, shortage of nurses, and lack of resources like transport and equipment. “We feel that a lot can be done before we can proudly deliver quality health services to Batswana,” Mokgethi said. She said there was no doubt that very little can be achieved in the health sector without the input of government as the main health care provider.
“We need more resources to be channelled towards training more nurses and offering competitive salaries to attract and retain talented nurses,” she said.
The president said there is need to encourage more research by health workers because such findings can inform the health sector of areas that need improvement.
“As a union we are key stakeholders in the health sector and we must reiterate our commitment to partnering and working together with government and the private sector to improve the country’s health sector,” Mokgethi said.
She said BINC will attract nurses, other health care workers, academics, research institutions and internationally acclaimed health organisations from across the world.
Assistant Minister of Health Alfred Madigele was the main speaker at the briefing.
He said nurses are the backbone of the country’s health system. “I will be first to admit that nurses have an immense responsibility and are at times forced to work under strenuous conditions,” Madigele said. Giving her closing remarks Aviwe’s Lesedi Kereeditswe said they were proud to have partnered with BONU and the government to help deliver effective, equitable, responsive, and high quality health care systems. “We want to help the government produce skilled and adequately trained health professionals,” Kereeditswe said. BINC 2015 will be held at Fairgrounds Holdings.