Issues for Curbing the Persistent Problems Militating Against Effective Teaching of Nurse Education in a Covid-19 Prone Society

By Okonkwo Chinenye Maryrose, Okonkwo Ifeoma Jacinta, Azuka Ugoanefo Udoka
Multidisciplinary Journal of Education, Research and Development Vol.4 No. 1 January 2022 ISSN: 1118-0307
Published by the School of Education, Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze

Abstract

The role of Nurse and Nursing profession is paramount in order to enhance health promotion in the nation. So students, both in the schools of nursing and in higher institutions are expected to benefit from nurse education, maximally through moulding and promoting their arousing health consciousness, health requirements, attitudes and practice. The roles played by schools of nursing as a prerequisite for health promotion, the meaning and essence of schools of nursing education in promoting good health, health habit, national health promotion and persistent problems militating against effective teaching of nursing education in a covid-19 prone society were discussed.

Keywords: Nursing education, Covid-19.

Introduction

Nursing education program is to support the educational process through maintenance and improvement of the physical and mental health status of various communities. It places emphasis on prevention, case finding, early intervention, and remediation of health problems, counselling, and safe environment. Schools of Nursing have long been viewed as important settings for promoting the health and social development of primary health care and secondary health matters. It also helps parents, school, health team, staff and others who have concern about health and healthy living activities.

Okonkwo (2020) opined that the issue of registration of licencesure for nurses has been resolved in most part of the world, including Nigeria. Educational programs that provincial board of nursing Boards approve entry-level programs to ensure that the prepare graduates to write a licensing examination must be approved by a state of safe practice of nursing, by setting minimum educational requirements and guaranteeing that the graduate of the program is an eligible candidate to write a licensing examination. In Nigeria, candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination in order to be graded as a professional nurse.

Meaning of Nursing Education

Ajala, (2015) and WHO (2012) referred to nurse education as the sum total of all activities directed towards helping the society to ensure healthy living through prevention and promotive measures at public places. The inculcation of better, sound and healthier lifestyles which may produce optimum health characteristics of high level wellness among the nation and its citizens is enhanced through nurse education at different levels, Allensworth & Kolibe, (2015) stated that no matter the angle one sees nurse education; the basic fact, is that it must be seen as bridging the gap between the existing scientific knowhow and how the knowledge can be effectively utilized to promote health.

Nurse education is thus considered an essential tool for national health promotion because of the following roles it plays:

  1. Teaches how to take care of personal and community health
  2. Changes undesirable behaviours to desirable ones.
  3. Teaches how to take care of personal and community health.
  4. Encourages the use of available health services.
  5. Instils the need for healthy life, quality living which will ensure better productivity both in schools, community and at national level.
  6. Encourages local ways of life that promote health.
  7. Promotes good family planning.
  8. Enhances realization of preventing the occurrence of disease such as Corona Virus, Ebola, HIV, etc. rather than spending money and time for treatment.

Health education in our country, Nigeria, will therefore reduce morbidity and mortality rates, enable the children, the parents and other community members to know the causes of ill health, accidents and injuries at schools and homes and employ measures to prevent their occurrence. Ewuzie (2011) revealed that, in Nigeria today, the level of understanding of basic health knowledge, particularly as it affects communicable and non-communicable diseases is very low, such as the causative agents, mode of transmission and signs and symptoms, lack of knowledge of causes, brings about why most Nigerians still embrace beliefs in superstition and spiritual attacks such as maintained commonly in the north, south, west and eastern parts of the country where diseases are believed to be spiritually inflicted. Teaching of nurse education will help erase these misconceptional errors associated to disease causation.

Udoh (1999) perceived health education as a process, as well as program concerned with human values and behavior that are openly subtly associated with items like ecology and environmental well-being, Consumer health growth, nutrition, mood modifying substances, sexuality and comprehensive treatment of major health problems of children, adolescent and adults. Nurse education and National health promotion are investments in our future as they seek to improve personal and communal health through well laid out programs. They both believe in empowerment of the client and see them as part of the solution to their problems. Various learning theories and models are useful and used in the promotion of nursing promotion.

Moronkola (2003) advanced reasons and importance of nurse education as a profession, as follows:

  1. Teachers are more current on health issues than parents and so teachers can make students to keep pace with current health facts which will help them.
  2. Early empowerment of today’s young people who are tomorrow’s leaders with necessary healthy attitude and practices as change agents is very vital.
  3. Nurse education in schools is more likely to improve directly or indirectly community and urban health centres, as belter health enables one to perform better in academies than when one is poor in a state of health.

Behaviours and attitudes about health which are learned and initiated during childhood at homes within the family, while playing with peers, and in school are responsible for most of the leading causes of mobility disability and even to death in Nigeria. This then calls for the need to address and enhance our health care facilities.

Nursing education as a profession is an essential tool and cannot be overemphasized but a comprehensive health education program represent one effective way to providing students with the knowledge and skills to prevent health impairing behaviour, it includes combination of educational organization, promoting healthy lifestyles for students, staff and the community (lbikunle, 1993), in Ewuzie2010). According to Sofoluwe and Bennett (2015), the education of students in the study of nursing involves teaching individuals, families and communities on what to do to be healthy and avoid illness; it also involves teaching good health habits to promote healthy state of mind and body.

Allensworth and Kolibe (2018) traced the history of school of nursing program in Nigeria which traditionally has three components; Health Education, Healthful School Environment and Health Services. It is believed that these three components make nursing student healthy, stay a safe, enjoy, achieve through learning and make positive contribution to the society.

The three components (Health Education, Healthful School Environment and Health Services) performed well at health institutions and homes as demonstrated changed behaviour and lifestyle of the society. It then led to the expansion of the three programs to eight in 1978. The eight components are as follows.

  1. Comprehensive school health education
  2. Safe and healthy environment
  3. School health services
  4. Physical activities
  5. Emotional and mental wellness
  6. Nutrition education and practical aspects.
  7. Employee wellness, and
  8. Family, school and community Partnership

By implementing the planned, on-going success of schools of pursuing health programs, school will have the ability to improve both education and the health of student, school staff and the community School health program, according to Moronkola (2003) explained that the right components of these health program added essential elements in health promotion, they perform preventive and curative functions, they promote wellness of ställ in performing duties, promote and the wellness di students and the communities.

The components of school of nursing program as a whole as the important as developing healthy practices, acquiring recent health knowledge and developing positive attitude and appreciation towards healthy living, According to Allenworth and Kolibe (2018), comprehensive nursing education, is an organized set of policies, procedures, and activities designed to protect and promote the health and well-being of students and staff. School health program traditionally had only three components: Health Education, Healthful School Environment and Health Services

As part of measures to ensure optimal level of health services, it helps the staff nurse to diagnose minor ailments, give first line of treatments, and makes referral to specialist hospitals. Other benefits are immunization, screening for vision, hearing and head lice. People with various physical deformities are identified, treated and referred to specialist hospital, for better investigations and treatments.

Nurse education aims not merely to inform, but to promote a qualitative change in the society. If properly placed in its rightful place it will have a scientific basis, with roots in discipline such as epidemiology, ecology, psychology and social sciences. Nurse education should make use of all inter-sectoral agencies like agriculture, finance, education, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Policy makers and so on to give it full support. Health programs are said to be one of the most important strategies that Nigeria as a nation might use to promote health of its citizens to prevent major health social problems. Next to the family institution, schools are the major institutions for providing the instruction and experience that prepare the learners for their roles as healthy and productive adults. Nurse education invariably plays powerful role in influencing students, staff and the community members in health-related behaviours. Nursing profession as a highly rated occupation in Nigeria has a lot of concomitant challenges that can be a clog in the wheel of the profession.

Persistent Problems Militating Against Nurse Education

Okonkwo (2020) identified some persistent problems, that if not intrinsically nipped in the bud, would affect the integrity of nursing profession in Nigeria.

1. Shortage of nurses

The shortage of nurses is a global/national issue discussed on an almost daily basis in reports from across the world. Throughout the past century, the recruitment retention of nurses have not kept up with the ever-increasing demands placed health care, the growing need for specialized services; as well as population growth, including the aging population leading to more patients with chronic diseases. Added to these factors have been the persistent economic challenges in the healthcare industry and the growing number of other career opportunities for women.

2. Inadequate conditions of service for nurses

Recruitment and retention in the nursing profession have always been linked nurses’ working conditions long hours, heavy workloads, low salaries compared to other professions and a lack of recognition of their essential contribution. While hours of work have been standardized to a large extent, nurses are increasingly called on to work mandatory overtime due to staff shortages and economic restrains Nurses across the world, especially in Nigeria are also still struggling for salaries which match their qualifications, skills, and contributions to health services.

3. The role of nurses verses doctors

Today, nurses are mostly recognized as professional practitioners with their unique role within the health care team. However, opposition to regulatory advances, such as those for extended roles of nurses and their right to prescribe within the scope of their advanced training still comes mainly from groups within the medical profession. Whereas nurses were campaigning for state registration in the early 1900’s resistance also came primarily from the medical profession.

4. How and where nurses should be educated

Only over the last few decades has professional nursing education been firmly placed within the system of higher education in most countries in the world. On the basis of solid research, demonstrating the value of highly qualified nurses in reducing patient complications and deaths, government authorities are accepting that courses for professional nurses; should be at least four years, preferably at the baccalaureate level. However, there is still some resistance to this development mainly from hospital authorities, and in some countries, there has been a proliferation in training lower categories of nurses.

Nurse leaders have advocated for a highly educated nursing workforce starting from the time that formal training for nurses were established Florence Nightingale believed that nursing education should be separated from service and the nursing school she established was based on this principle. However, as more hospital schools opened and the students became a cheap workforce, the nature and quality of nurse training deteriorated rapidly into a type of apprenticeship Training with the attention given to actual education. This pattern became established throughout the world.

5. Professional recognition through licensure and registration

The issue of state registration or licensure for nurses has been resolved in most parts of the world although there are still countries where the international Council of Nurses (ICN) are assisting local nursing organizations and governments to establish an effective regulation of the profession. This body also has a formal regulatory network which monitors and advises on nursing management globally. The purpose of registration has always been to protect the public from those who were untrained or had minimal training, as well as to provide nurses who had proper formal training with a form of recognition.

Both schools of Nursing and Federal Ministry of Health (2012) examined and considered these strategies important and necessary for the promotion of the health of the nation, hence the inclusion in the curriculum for nurse education program. Promoting the national health status through health education in schools has been recognized by the Federal Ministry of Health (2006). The positive roles and immense contributions of different sectors of the community such as Governmental, Nongovernmental Organization (NGOs), international organizations, donor agencies in the nations drive towards health promotion to all Nigerian citizens including school children. Various ministries such as Ministry of education, agriculture, information, environment, water resources, finance, local government, housing and women affairs all play vital roles through school health program in health promotion of learners and staff. Parastatals such as National agency for food and drug control, national program on immunization, national primary health care development agency, private health sectors and professional bodies, promote the health of the nation through school health education in various ways.

Recommendation

  1. Comprehensive health programs for promoting the health of the nation through nurse education should be constantly maintained at all levels of education.
  2. The government, ministry of health, ministry of education should consider it important to be involved in promoting the national health status through health education. The government in line with this should fund the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, National Agency for Food and Drug Control, National Program on Immunization and Professional Bodies to enhance health promotion in the society, state and the country.
  3. Formation of organization of health awareness campaign teams through health education to educate people on how to promote good family planning, reduce morbidity and mortality rate, enable children, the parents and community members to know the causes of ill health, accidents and injuries at school, homes and measures to employ for prevention.
  4. Qualified and skilful teachers/educationist to educate the students in school of nursing and other health institutions on promoting healthy life styles, physical social mental and emotional health, healthful environment and development of positive attitude and appreciation towards healthy living.
  5. The establishment of Electronic learning was intensified during the period of Covid 19, and it has been of immense benefit to the Teaching and Learning in all fields of study in the health institutions and organizations. So, concerning the nurse education is essential to at the time that they are directly fighting this disease. Due to the job prospects of many nursing students depend on the The ignoring of nurses needs could create a pessimistic vision for the nursing students, followed by a lack of interest in education, academic decline, dropping out of school, changing the field, etc. It is also essential to consider new approaches to teach clinical skills. Due to the clinic’s distance, hospital, and eye to eye contact with patients, nursing internship, students have practical skill gaps. Therefore, encouraging nursing students to use educational multimedia, clinical databases may be effective (Sahu, 2020). Finally, we suggest that nurse education managers need to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of nurse education and consider and monitor the quality of virtual education for students.

Conclusion

Ewuzie (2010) stated that Nursing as a profession will encourage students, staff and community members to adopt and sustain healthful life patterns, use judiciously and wisely health care services, improve their health status through adhering to treatment regime. From the above assertion, it could therefore be inferred that the schools help to promote on one hand, an individual health, prevent diseases, and on the other hand maintenance of measures which will lead to sense of high level of wellness. It encourages and promotes community participation, solidarity and responsibility, prevent unwanted health related behaviour and attitude initiated during childhood. Disabilities are addressed, screening of various ailments are done from time to time in order to promote the health of children and is a cornerstone of health promotion.

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Okonkwo Chinenye Maryrose RN,RM,RNAS,PDE,TRCN

Directress/ Proprietress, Nneoma Maternity inc. and Member, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives and Association of General Private Nursing Practitioners.