LARA ADEJORO writes
Mrs Turaki has always loved a career in nursing but her passion for the profession is now under strain. The burdens are heavy and many: a shortage of staff, poor working conditions, inadequate equipment and a heavy workload. Most of these are the spin-offs from the massive emigration of medical workers to foreign countries.
In the 15 years, Turaki, who declined to give her first name, has been a nurse, short-staffing has only gotten worse at the tertiary hospital where she works in Bauchi State. Seven of her nursing friends at the hospital have left the shores of the country for greener pastures.
“I’m not enjoying the job again,” she told The PUNCH. “This was not what I thought before joining the profession. I thought it’s meant to get better but things are getting worse; no equipment, no good remuneration.”
Turaki now runs longer shifts and attends to more patients. Normally, she is meant to care for four patients, or at most 10. When she arrives at work, she has to decide which of the 50 patients on the queue needs urgent care or minor surgeries.
“In a day, I attend to at least 20 patients and if I’m on the triaging table, I must attend to about 50 patients daily. I will triage them one after the other to know the department to refer them to. I have to go through their folders and check if they are new cases or they are emergency cases,” she added.
For minor surgeries, between 10 and 15 patients, she has to attend to them one after the other, working hand in hand with the doctors.
“In my clinic, we work from 8 am to 4 pm but if you’re on call, once you close by 4 pm, you remain on duty from that 4 pm till 8 am the next day,” she said.
As a result of the gruelling workload and lack of working tools, Turaki thinks the world is on her shoulders. Her emotions run high, especially when the human cost of the poor state of healthcare delivery adds up. Many times, she breaks down in tears.
“There was a patient who required an emergency tracheotomy but the equipment was not available. We referred the patient to another hospital in Jos, which was the closest but before getting there, he died. The patient’s relatives called to say he died,” Turaki said.