Union blames council for ‘falling’ nursing standards

Friday, November 29th, 2019 00:00 | By
Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary General Seth Panyako
Seth Panyako. PHOTO/Ndegwa Gathungu

Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) has accused the Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK) of allegedly sleeping on its mandate to regulate training of nurses.

The union says the council is to blame for the dwindling quality of trainees being churned out of nursing institutions.

Knun secretary general Seth Panyako said failure by the council to discharge its mandate effectively is to blame for half-baked nurses flooding the profession thereby exposing lives of patients who land in the hands of such nurses in danger.

Speaking on the sidelines of the First East Africa Labour and Health Workforce Scientific Conference in Mombasa, Panyako expressed dismay that there are cases of nurses who purportedly complete the nursing course “without having acquired even the most basic skills of using needle and syringe to treat a patient.”

He further pointed out that withdrawal of clinical instructors meant to guide nursing interns in hospitals has further worsened the situation and exposed patients to more dangers.

“When shortage of staff in hospitals crept in, the government withdrew the clinical instructors who are supposed to train the students in hospitals.

At the same time we have colleges offering nursing courses being opened left right and centre without keeping in mind the facilities and personnel available to offer the needed quality job training for the students. 

“For instance, now if you go to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) you will find one patient being handled by close to 10 trainee nurses from different institutions without a single clinical instructor. The trainees learn by themselves,” the secretary said.

 “This is why dangers of patients getting exposed to serious mistakes are on the raise. And whenever such cases happened, nurses are forced to cover up the trainees to shield them from spoiling their career,” he added.

To uphold quality in the nursing profession, Panyako insisted there was need for the council to eliminate certificate training for nurses and stick to diploma as the least qualifications for the profession.

He claimed corrupt individuals within the government insist certificate training continue “as their way of seeking cheap labour.”

“In all professions including teaching and human resource are sticking to diploma as the lowest level of qualification, why then are they insisting on training certificates for nursing profession, because of cheap labour?  We will not allow our profession to be defiled by individuals with selfish interest,” the Knun chief said

Kenya Progressive Nurses Association (KPNA) chairman Michael Nyongesa said nurses had proposed to terminate training of certificate courses in 2017.

“However, the World Bank has given out some funds to support training of nurses in the country and surprisingly they are saying they want to train certificate nurses to serve in the hardship areas like North Eastern, Tana River, Lamu and some parts of the rift… however we are saying everybody needs quality. It doesn’t matter where you come from. This is why we are insisting on elimination of certificates,”  he said.

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