BSNs must emancipate themselves from benevolence slavery

BSNs in Kenya must emancipate themselves from benevolence slavery. These re the popularly referred to as degree nurses, or nurses with Bachelors of Science in Nursing abbreviated as BSN or BScN if you like. This viewpoint is motivated by various advertisements for positions in the public service which did not feature BSNs. The adverts show that unlike most other professions, nursing was still a going concern. The out-migration recruiters have never had such a season. Nurses are needed everywhere across the world. Covid-19 has only shaken the health system out of sleep worldwide. Indeed 2020 is the Year of The Nurse.

The complexes in nursing in Kenya are a thousand and one and one must learn to navigate them or be cognizant of them  especially if they were to engage with members of the fourth estate. Know what to leave out and what would drive the agenda better with the interests of nurses and Kenyans at heart.

This may be as true as it is but I will say again BSNs need to emancipate themselves from benevolence slavery. We went ahead and did an advocacy clarion call dubbed Employ Bscn nurses. Why do you train them?  This was a great effort and deserves praise.  I decided to look through the comments and also listen through the various media houses that aired the matter.

I was impressed that there was some selfless leadership shown and the issues were articulated to some extent. However the tactic appeared the same: seeking for benevolence, blaming others, fretting and whining. Or rather what Swahili would call Kutaka kuonewa huruma, kulaumu wengine.

Some of the big letdown posts apart from the distasteful theme ‘Employ Bscn nurses. Why do you train them?’ which was complete with a poster.  Unlike campus politics which is usually blunt and brazen,  industrial action has lots of give and take.  Its is unfortunate that a section of nursing union leadership had not left campus-like agitation to adopt the more accommodating industrial approach.  Perhaps BSNs were learning from the wrong mentors.

Coming back to the discussion there were posts like the following: ‘I feel KNUN n NNAK have failed us big time”…why milk their money and later dump them.. I blame Nursing council…’, ‘Someone tag KNUN, DNS & NCK Please read the comments and give feedback’.

These are the institutions and bodies that we need them to fight along with us, so attacking them only puts them off.  It was not as if they were not aware of the plight of BSNs and that day we guys were trying to wake them from slumber.  Were it not for the fact that most of the people on the street that day were the newbies, which means they could somehow get away with some slip of the tongue.  Nothing could be worse for BSNs than being ignored by those same bodies.

My problem is we cannot continue to dwell on that approach. We must move on and like one of you said ‘Re-focus, Re-think,Re-look Re-strategise,Re-look’.

You had all the answers in there if cared to listen in: One was – ‘What we should be championing for. All levels should be inclusive…’

That ought to be the approach. It is unlikely and we know that the diploma nurses did not ask to be given priority and leave out the degree nurses. These were decisions made inspite of them by nursing leaders or someone up there  who had their knee on the neck, and they could hardly breathe.

If we dwell on stuff of them versus us we will never progress. We must drop the following tag lines especially during advocacy campaigns;

Where trained/ educated

Some nurses will claim to have been trained while others are educated.  The KMTC vis-a-vis University; Mission trained vis a vis KMTC proper; The post grads, the undergrads; The straight JAB/KUCCPS vis a vis parallel, private universities trained; The Baratonians vs-a-vis Moi, The UoN guys vis-a-vis everyone else; The trained outside Kenya (ToK) vis a vis local.

At entry level

At entry level into the profession we have: Enrolled Nurses (EN) vis-a-vis Enrolled Community Health Nurses (ECNs); ENs and ECNs the whole lot vis-a-vis the rest of the nurses; Diploma RNs (plain) vis-a-vis Kenyan Registered Community Health Nurse (KRCHN); Straight BScNs vis a vis BScNs straight from high school vis a vis RN-BSNs.  Some will float an academic argument concerning who is a BSN or BScN and who is not. Some bit of the entry level behaviours from a nurse educators point of view elsewhere on this wall, follow link.

At deployment

The nurse managers vs the operational level nurses, , the nurse educators vs clinical nurses, the private nurses vis a vis the public, ICU nurses vis a vis ER nurses.

Generation and gender

the old generation vs the younger nurses; the male vs the female nurses etc etc.

There are lots of undeniable facts, realities that we know concerning our differences that if we started unearthing would take like a whole bitter month and vitriol on social media plus.

In Nigeria they have a big time war with auxiliary nurses, a worthwhile battle if you ask me. They fight on social media, on the floor and any other places and its like they are not getting very far with it.

Here in Kenya we have lots of things against us, so we cannot afford to have inter-cadre wars. Infact the less we dwell on these retrogressive, complicated aspects of nursing in Kenya the better for everyone.  Whenever we advocate for the welfare, positions and vacancies etc.  Let it be for all nurses in Kenya.

Caption courtesy of Murey Waithanje

No one owes us a living so a clarion call like the one we last time Employ Bscn nurses. Why do you train them? was not in good taste. I might be wrong but… Does Kenya Owe Her Nurses a Job?

Do we even need advanced practice nurses, is Kenya ready?

In any case:

If you are interested in out-migration opportunities visit Compleat Nurse Page on Face book and Like it.  We also run a Whatsapp group Compleat Nurse Linkages. Take due diligence to explore those positions as posted, compleat nurse disclaimer: Compleat Nurse does not recruit nor represent any agencies so far. Information is shared freely for networking purpose.

You can also see:

My take concerning the different entry points into nursing in Kenya



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