28th June, 2011
A hospital is supposed to be a place of succour; a place where the sick and the wounded expect to be treated with care and love so that they can overcome their medical conditions. It is supposed to be a sanctuary to the sick.
But when hospitals are now turned into prisons where the sick are afraid to go for succour, then something is wrong and those in charge should do something about it quickly.
This is why we think it is time the authorities paid attention to the indifference and uncaring attitude of nurses in public hospitals toward their patients. Any patient who had passed the night while being treated for one ailment or the other in a public hospital or had cause to be hospitalised for some days will testify to the unsavoury attitude of nurses to patients in their care. Many of the nurses in the hospitals are so hostile to patients that rather than assist them to recover from their ailment, add to their troubles. In some cases, the hostility of nurses to their patients has contributed in no small measure to aggravating their illnesses and, in some instances, send them to their untimely graves.
Investigations conducted in many public hospitals, including the Lagos Island General Hospital, Gbagada General Hospital, Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital, Ikeja General Hospital, Isolo General Hospital, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi Araba, Somolu General Hospital and other public hospitals across the state, show that nurses in these hospitals have turned themselves into terror and are making life difficult for patients.
Apart from shouting at patients, these nurses are also notorious for their unbriddled hostility towards patients. Any complaint from patients under their care is treated as an affront and met with barking and scolding. God saves any patient who dares to complain about not receiving adequate care. He or she is abandoned to his fate or discharged immediately even though he or she is yet to be healed.
Visitors and relations of patients also receive harsh treatment from nurses in public hospitals. The nurses address them rudely and sometimes force them to sleep with their patients so that they can take care of them.
The experience of an accident victim who was recently discharged from the Lagos Island General Hospital will suffice here. After what seemed like an eternity, he was admitted to Ward B1 where the orthopaedic patients are kept. He said the place was like a detention camp. The female nurses ruled with iron fists. They administered drugs with hostility, changed beddings nagging and helped with mosquito nets grumbling. He said one of them kept saying â€œnurses are no slaves. None of us here is a drop out.â€
Pray, who said nurses are dropouts or slaves? Why should these disgruntled nurses visit their frustrations on hapless patients whose need at that material time is love and care?
The authorities will do well to investigate what is behind this callous attitude and behaviour of nurses in public hospitals towards their patients. What is the cause of the open hostility displayed by nurses to their patients in public hospitals? Are they overstreched or working under stress? Are they satisfied with their working conditions or what is actually responsible for this untoward behaviour?
It is, however, necessary to stress here that it is not all the nurses in public hospitals that are guilty of this. There are some caring and dutiful ones who will do everything to ensure that patients under their care receive care and attention. These ones should be commended.
Nurses by their profession should be caregivers but when patients now become so much afraid of them that they can no longer confide in them or express their pains, then something is wrong.
It is time our health providers had a change of heart. Nurses, in particular, must show love and understanding to their patients.