Faced with a shortage of nurses, Nigerian hospitals are recruiting retired nurses on contract to bolster their work-force. 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 said. “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.