May 23, 2013 | 12:26 PM (BD Time)
23 May, 2013 Thursday
Enhancing the image of nursing profession in Bangladesh
Dr Maswoodur Rahman Prince:
For eight weeks in a row, Anthony had been trying to bring Malati to the Sunday morning mass at Michael's church. But he had achieved nothing but failure. Finally, a visibly disheartened Anthony asked the priest to help him out. He requested a prayer to Jesus, asking the Lord for a change in Malati's attitude.
The priest replied, "There is no need for Malati to come to the church as long as she keeps bringing a smile to at least one face daily.
The Lord is always kind to those who are kind to others."
Then Anthony realized that Malati was dose to the Lord. You see, his daughter Malati was close to the Lord.
You see, his daughter Malati was a nurse. She brought a smile to many a face in agony everyday.
Thus runs the sermonic story in the preface of the "Nurture" a magazine published by Johnson & Johnson Medical, A division of Johnson & Johnson Ltd, India.
The magazine will be a regular feature and will be published quarterly - with the 1st issue already published last year, 2009-on the occasion of International Nurses Day. In a bid to enhance knowledge and transform standard of care thus enhance the skill and image of nursing the publishers of 'Nurture' are dedicating the quarterly for and all about the nursing community.
They are also publishing and distributing the magazine among the professionals and institutions, nursing and related communities in a few more countries besides India.
Apart from being a noble profession, nursing is a specialist's job. On the one hand, it involves commitment, compassion and care of the highest level; on-the other hand it demands specialized skill sets, quality training and consultant up gradation of knowledge. The above scenario may seem a bit ambitious but is very necessary for enhancing the image of nursing profession.
It is necessary to know the brief history of the development in Europe, Indian sub-content and Bangladesh.
The historical background as described by Mr. Tanvir Rakib and his team in their study paper entitled "Current scenario of Nursing Profession in Bangladesh, problems and prospects," is reproduced hereunder:
Historical Development- The history of development of nursing profession in Bangladesh answers why people look down on the nursing profession.
The development of nursing profession in South Asia and Europe has contrasting background. In Europe, The Roman Catholic priest were doctors, Roman Catholic nuns were nurses, and the barbers, who were considered 'The third c1ass' or c1assless people, 'were the surgeons.' Priest were the c1ergy, 'the c1ass one' people, Nobles were considered 'the second c1ass' people and commoners were 'the third c1ass' people.
It shows that nursing was a very prestigious profession in Europe. At the time of 'Enlightenment', a lot of commoner having merit and financial background to study, came into medical profession which became highly dominated by commoners or 'the third c1ass' people. But the nursing profession remained in the hands of nuns who were 'the c1ass one' people. Therefore the nursing profession was respected profession in Europe.
Historical development of nursing profession in the Indian sub-continent
The development of nursing profession in the sub-continent has exactly the opposite historical background than that of Europe. The upper c1ass people of the Hindu society i.e., the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, were the doctors in the reigning period of the British Empire. In the very beginning, the converted Christians from the lower c1ass people, the Sudras, and also the outcaste people, who were the untouchables or the polluted labours, were the nurses. Later on, the non-elite Muslims' (Atraf class) began joining nursing profession.
In Europe and in the developed world, the earlier trend no longer exists and nursing profession is regarded as a highly professional and prestigious noble job. However, in the developing world particularly in South Asia, Enhancing the image of nursing profession the earlier trend no longer exists. Only the girls from the less affluent society and with relatively weaker educational qualification are coming to the nursing profession.
The discussion meeting in Dhaka entitled "Enhancing the image of nursing profession was addressed among others by Julia Foster AflN, a member of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGR) visiting team. Her report on the discussion meeting is reproduced here below:
On October 23, 2009, we were invited to speak at the Pubali Bank Auditorium on "Enhancing the Image of Nursing", The forum was moderated by Dr. Mizanur Rahman Shelley, Chairman, and Centre for Development Research, Bangladesh (CDRB) and editor of the Asian Affairs. Assisting in the moderation was Dr. Maswoodur Rahman Prince, Physician, member of Board of Directors, CDRB as well as the editor of Stethoscope, health and medicine journal of The Independent.
Both Dr. Shelley and Dr. Prince are well versed in oratory skills and respected among the community. There was considerable number of people who attended the conference including the Bangladeshi 'Paparazzi'. After our presentations, a discussion ensued.
Here below we report some important points addressed by the Dhaka audience:
1. To enhance nursing profession, we have to change the attitude of society. Nursing is currently not valued or appreciated as a noble profession in Bangladesh. One audience member even spoke of how family ostracized him after he fell in love with a nurse. The low value of nurses was echoed by at least four people.
2. It was also opined by the audience that there must be proper education and an enhanced level of education. "Qualified faculty is a must."
3. One audience member encouraged recruitment of nurses from the higher income c1asses because the perception was that the nurses come from lower socioeconomic c1asses.
4. Everyone agreed that nurses play a key role in the delivery of care and the enhanced quality of care.
5. One member suggested that in addition to improving social acceptance and nursing education, Bangladesh nursing leaders and hospital administration must improve the satisfaction of nurses by providing incentives and better salary.
6. The former Bangladesh Nursing Council chief asked our group to be role models for the nurses in Bangladesh and verbalized her support of our project.
7. The most touching comment, "We desperately need nurses everywhere in Bangladesh".
In the forum, CEO of American Higher Education Society Nagesh Singh revealed that he has created a programme for education and placement of nurses. The modules were developed by Jean Steele Ph. D. RN. This programme has been in existence in India. Currently licensed nurses take carefully designed modules consisting of English as well as specific nursing content. Thus this programme enhances the skill and career opportunities of its attendees, Mohammad Yunus, Managing Director of Cedera Healthcare Corporation gave an honest assessment of the image of nur:5ing among the Muslims of Bangladesh. He also gave his own recommendations:
Bangladesh and the Muslim culture is a male and family oriented society. Any Initiative to promote nursing or women must involve the men first.
There is reluctance to allow daughters to enter nursing because of necessity of touching men. He suggested that we always think about the value of the family for a girl to become a nurse.
Decisions are made collectively in a family. He also discussed the long history in Bangladesh of "outsiders coming into fix things." He believes that the culture expects someone else to fix things. He encouraged us to "train the trai
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