The desire to be a nurse is not all that matters, it is also important to have a working knowledge of what the duties of a nurse are. This is important because, in understanding what their functions are, it will help patients in their relationship with them. Apart from this, people will also be adequately informed as to when to call on nurses and what to call them for. It is based on this that this article is written. It aims at analysing the basic duties of nurses in Ghana. Apart from that, we also take a look at what it really means to be a nurse and different categories of nurses that we have in Ghana.
Nurses have the privilege of working in hospitals and other outpatient facilities where they are expected to give patients quality care. As part of the basic duties which they are expected to carry out are the administration of medications to the patients. They are also there to observe and monitor them to ensure that they follow the precepts. Therefore, in the remaining part of this article we consider the attributes of a great nurse and those qualities that will help them to discharge their duties better.
Who is a nurse?
A nurse is anyone who has been specially trained to render care or assistance to people who are physically incapacitated as a result of sickness or an injury. Basically, nurses work alongside doctors and other health officials to ensure the wellness, fitness and healthy living of patients. One thing attributed to committed nurses is that they make sure that patients enjoy quality and maximum health care services.
Essentially, before anyone could be classified as a nurse in Ghana, such a person is expected to have completed three years of professional training in general nursing. This is expected to be from an accredited College, and after which, such a person must have a diploma award from the College. There are different options available to anyone who wishes to become a general nurse. One is through the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program and another option is through the Registered Nurse (RN) program.
Types of nurses in Ghana
Nursing in Ghana is classified into different categories. Some of these categories include the following:
- Psychiatric nurses;
- General nurses;
- Community nurses;
- Enrolled nurses.
However, apart from the mentioned categories, the other way through which these nurses can be classified is through the education. Based on this, we have the following:
- Otorhinolaryngology nurses (EN&T nurses);
- Nurse anaesthetists;
- Ophthalmic nurses;
- Nurse prescribers;
- Physician assistants;
- Public health nurses.
Duties of a nurse
Differentiating between a true nurse and others is usually not burdensome. This is because those who have truly taken the profession as a calling have a special approach when it comes to the discharge of their responsibilities. They have a genuine heart and they are selfless in their approach. Taking about the duties of a nurse, the following form some of the roles that they play:
1. Meet the health needs of patients
They make sure that the total health needs of any patient is met using a professional approach. Note that the patients also include families as well as communities as the case may be.
2. Assess health problems and cater for them
A nurse is expected to be capable of assessing the health problems and the needs of a patient. They should then be able to come up with an implementable plan to cater to them. As part of meeting the needs of the patient, depending on the situation at hand, they must make sure that they manage situations well. They should also be able to refer patients to the appropriate quarters as the case may be.
3. Render health advice to patients
As part of their duties, a nurse should be capable of advising patients on how to maintain their health and prevent diseases. They should be able to enlighten the patients on how to avoid some of the health challenges they are faced with and even possible first-aid treatment they can access depending on the nature of their health issue.
4. Administration of nursing care to patients
Nurses are there for the administration of nursing care to patients who are ill, disabled or with injuries. They are meant to help the patients out, especially while they are undergoing a treatment or medication. They are to make sure that the patients get the necessary attention that they need as well as extend the hand of love and care to them also.
5. Promotion of primary health services in communities
Apart from the fact that nurses are there to attend to the needs of patients and assist doctors, whichever community where they serve, they are also expected to contribute their quota to the total primary health services of the place. They are meant to educate the public on how to manage diseases and how to come up with a diet plan for healthy living sake. More so, they serve to educate patients on how to care for themselves at home after treatment among other things.
6. Record maintenance
It is imperative for nurses to be able to administer medications to patients and also monitor their response to the treatment. When these are done, they are expected to take note of the signs and communicate them to the doctors in charge. Moreover, they need to update the records of the patients so that doctors are adequately informed and know the next line of action while working on a file.
7. Supervisory activities
Nurses are expected to develop their skills and abilities so as to be able to impart knowledge and the principles associated with health to patients and student-nurses or nurse aides who may be working under them. They are meant to give reliable directions that will advance, generally, health services.
Qualities of a nurse
Apart from the fact that a nurse need to be certified or registered, there are certain attributes that are expected to be displayed by them. These attributes are what characterise them from other people. They also help them in the professional discharge of their assignment. These qualities include the following:
1. Show respect
It is not enough to just discharge duties, it must be carried out with some form of respect. This respect should cover, not just the rules that govern the healthcare institution but also their colleagues and other people as well. The requirement of their profession which entails the ability to keep confidential matters must also be respected among other things.
2. Keen attention to details
Nursing duty is one that comes with a high level of concentration. This is why a nurse is expected to be good at paying attention to details. The reason is that whatever step they take can have a lasting impact on their patients. Their actions can make or even affect the health of any patient negatively. So, being able to pay a maximum attention to whatever detail that is given to them is vital. This will help them to avoid making errors or other costly mistakes.
3. Excellent communication skills
It is good that a nurse should be able to relate well with patients. However, this should be based on the understanding of the fact that the patients are people with different cultural and educational background. They should be able to communicate well. Their target should not only to understand their patients but also for them to be understood. They should be able to make the patients see the need to go for a particular medication or treatment as the case may be.
The truth is that a nurse who is not compassionate enough may not succeed in the profession. Compassion will make you go out of your way to meet the needs of a patient. It will make the nurse to also give the required attention and care to whosoever the patient under their care is. While a nurse does not need to have necessarily gone through the situation of the patient, at least, he or she should know the best way to comfort them at any time.
5. Good sense of humour
Even though there are some times when a nurse is expected to show a sign of seriousness depending on the situation at hand, he or she is also expected to create some moments for humour. You should be able to enliven the atmosphere when there is the need for it. When you know when to be serious and when to be humorous, it makes you a great nurse.
6. Proactive and good problem-solving skills
Anyone who would succeed or stand out as a great nurse must be able to think on his or her feet at the speed of light. Being able to think quickly and come up with the best possible solution to any problem is very important. This is because there will always be emergency cases where the proactive skill of the nurse would be put to test. Therefore, having a good working knowledge of the profession and personal development are very important to any nurse.
Nursing is not just a profession but also a call that cannot be answered by everyone. The reason is due to the fact that it takes a person with a humane heart to succeed as a nurse. From the duties of a nurse that have been discussed so far, it is evident that anyone who would pick up the profession should be someone who has a burning desire to be of help to people. Such a person must also be willing to care and show compassion to those in need. Once a person is able to see others' problems as his or her problem, it will position such a person to qualify for studying more about the profession.