Ms Veronica Darko, Registrar and Chief Executive of the Nurses and Midwives' Council (NMC), has called on stakeholders in the nursing and midwifery to approach issues affecting the profession with absolute objectivity to ensure quality healthcare delivery.
Speaking at a day's conference of Principals of Nursing and Midwifery Training Schools in the country in Accra yesterday, Ms Darko urged professionals not to allow their personal feelings to cloud their judgement in this regard.
The conference on the theme: "Improving the Quality of Nursing and Midwifery Education and Training in Ghana - the Role of the Nurses and Midwives Council" would offer the Council the opportunity to interact with the Principals in addressing pertinent issues affecting the profession in terms of standard of training; licensing examination; accreditation and affiliation of their training institutions.
Ms Darko expressed concern about what she called the gradual erosion of the quality of care that patient and clients received from nurses and midwives. "Coincidentally, the same can be said of the performance of candidates in the licensing examination over the last few years", she said.
Ms Darko explained that to ensure quality nursing and midwifery practices in Ghana, the introduction of the Licensing Examination (LE) by the Council, as a requisite for all professionals was very important.
She said contrary to opinions held by others, the LE, was distinctly different from the academic examination that nursing and midwifery trainees went through during their training, since it emphasised on practical assessment.
"The Licensing Examination affords the Council an opportunity to access the competence of individuals, who would be receiving its licence to take professional care of the lives of you and me;" Ms Darko stressed.
Touching on successes chalked towards the accreditation of the various training institutions nation-wide, the Registrar said the National Accreditation Board (NAB) had granted authorisation to Nursing Training Colleges (NTC) to operate tertiary programmes after inspection of their facilities.
She traced the introduction of the current Diploma in Nursing - Registered General Nursing (RGN) and the Registered Mental Nursing (RMN) Programmes - back to 1999 and explained that it was in furtherance of the proposed reforms in tertiary education at the time. She said since then two more tertiary programmes in nursing; the Direct Midwifery and Registered Community Health Nursing Diploma Programmes had been introduced.
Ms Darko also stated that the Academic Board of the University of Ghana had also accepted to affiliate with these institutions for a probationary period of three years. "This means the issue of academic certification of about 2,500 products of the Diploma Programme would be addressed," she said.
Ms Kathlyn P.P Ababio, Chairman of the Governing Council, NMC, said it was important for every profession to have a regulatory body to help to instil discipline and also ensure that the rights of its members were protected.
She said while conceding the need to review the current nature of the licensing examination, it must be stressed that professional licensing examinations in Ghana were not limited to nursing and midwifery alone.
Ms Ababio cited the Pharmacy Council of Ghana as an example, which even followed up on their candidates with an induction ceremony at which new Pharmacists were officially welcomed into the profession. She reiterated the call for stakeholders in nursing and midwifery to approach issues affecting the profession with absolute objectivity to ensure quality healthcare delivery in the country.