MONARI: Kenya must advance nurses' rights, lessen their strain for improved care delivery

On International Nurses Day, the Nguvu Change Leader highlights the many challenges overworked nurses face

Deborah Monari, Nguvu Change Leader
Deborah Monari, Nguvu Change Leader

Under-equipped healthcare facilities, overworked personnel and inadequate infrastructure are some of the systemic issues that have consistently plagued Kenya's health sector.

The recent strike organised by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union also brought critical care services to a grinding halt in the country.

Kenyan nurses are overworked, due to routine short staffing, particularly in public hospitals.

This overwhelms us and leads to immense stress. Hospitals are, by nature, intense environments, and working under such tough conditions without a break can be excruciating.

We spend a large amount of time with patients and rarely have time to unwind. It takes a toll on our physical and mental health.

Though I prioritise teamwork to avoid burnout and also do my best to take personal breaks whenever possible, I also believe nurses deserve better work environments.

Feelings of stagnation often set in as a result of doing repetitive tasks. It even leads us to question our career choice.

To get around this, I enrolled in medical education courses to keep up with the most recent advancements in nursing research and technology. It keeps my job interesting and helps her to grow professionally.

However, this may not be possible for everyone.

A diversified strategy is required to address lingering issues on the whole and advance nurses' rights across the nation.

To lessen the strain on nurses and guarantee improved care delivery, efforts should be directed towards addressing understaffing in public hospitals.

This can be achieved by hiring additional nurses and integrating nursing assistants into the workforce.

I also believe government-funded scholarship programmes must be made easily available to assist nurses in pursuing advanced degrees in other specialisations.

In my opinion, this financial aid for postgraduate study and continuing short courses will enable nurses to increase their expertise, which will, in turn, improve the standard of service in healthcare systems across Kenya.

There should be more support systems in place, such as free counselling services and wellness initiatives, to contribute to the well-being of nurses.

To prevent overwork and other forms of workplace exploitation for nurses, advocacy for stronger labour laws and regulations is essential. The health of the nation's nursing workforce is important and will undoubtedly contribute to a more efficient healthcare system.

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