The National Chairperson of Botswana Retired Nurses Society (BORNUS), Joyce Tamocha is worried that government is not taking advantage by utilizing skills of retired nurses despite the fact that there is shortage of manpower.
Speaking during the Botswana Nurses Day Celebrations recently in Letlhakane, Tamocha said instead of using this experienced retired nurses, the Ministry of Health seems to be revolting against them. Tamocha is also concerned that they are not getting the respect they deserve from their young counterparts.
“I kindly ask you to make use of them and learn from them. Remember your age is going up at one point you will be a retiree so prepare yourselves for the time when you will be retirees. Just to give you an example as the Nurses Association of Botswana we advocated that retired nurses must be employed where they stay because we used to see them posted in faraway places from their homes so we used to feel for them. What you are doing now is going to come back and haunt you,” she warned the young nurses.
Among other important issues, Tamocha said it is sad to note that nurses function only in public health facilities and are not given an opportunity to pursue private practice.
She said that it is high time that government allows nurses to run their own private clinics more so that there are different specialties in the nursing fraternity.
“They should be allowed to practice independently or in a group under one roof and identify a competent Medical Practitioner to refer patients to. For example under one roof having a family nurse practitioner, a midwife, a psychiatric nurse, a general nurse and eye nurse for easy referral,” she added.
She said that research has since proved that nurse led clinics improve health systems. She expressed worry that the independent nursing profession exists in SADC region except in Botswana where nurses are denied the same opportunity. Tamocha said that they want to see themselves as employers not only as employees. She further appealed to the minister to revisit the Botswana Nursing Profession and try to align it with the international standards.
“During the time of the Nurses Association of Botswana, our intention was to transform the association into a Union of which we managed and we had the wish to request the government of Botswana to ratify ILO Convention 149,” said Tamocha.
“This convention addresses nursing profession issues. Nursing is the only profession having a Convention and this to show the world the value of nurses and the nursing profession,” she added
BORNU is an organization formed and managed by retired nurses. The organization currently has nine branches across the country and has close to 300 members.