from nursing sprctrum:
pakistani rns face adversity
a lack of training, education, and social respect for nurses is adversely affecting patient care in pakistan, according to the country's physicians.
"we have been complaining about nurses' lack of education and skills for a long time, but all such complaints, it seems, have fallen on deaf ears," says muzaffar tareen, md, who works at the khyber teaching hospital in peshawar.
also, pakistan -- which is nestled between afghanistan on the west, india on the east, and china to the north -- doesn't have enough nurses. there are about 28,000 nurses to care for a population of 150 million people in this impoverished third world country.
the nursing profession in pakistan has not been recognized professionally or socially. the president of the north west frontier province (nwfp) nurses association, parveen raees, says 98% of the country's nurses enter the profession because their parents cannot afford to have their daughters admitted to colleges after passing the secondary school certificate (ssc) examination (equivalent to a high school diploma). the $100-per-month college fee for their daughters is too high, so they send them to nursing schools where they are paid less than $50 as a stipend per month. once in school, the education student nurses receive is less than adequate.
"we have no curriculum for student nurses," says raees. "we have no proper teaching staff. senior nurses act as tutors in more than 100 nursing schools in the country. for some subjects, we hire teachers on a day-to-day basis for which money is deducted from the students' stipend."
general surgeon zahid aman, md, says nurses do not learn how to operate high-tech equipment in icus, ccus, or ors.
"we need nurses to carry out our orders, but we have noticed that they lack training," he says. "half of the nurses at our hospital cannot pass an intravenous canula to the patients. this ultimately affects patient care."
lack of a curriculum and proper teaching have lessened the importance of nurses in pakistan, says omar ayub khan, md, president of the pakistan medical association (pma). "most of their duties are performed by the doctors themselves."
he says the pma, in collaboration with the government and the nurses association, would be willing to organize workshops and seminars to help change attitudes toward the nursing profession