Nurses say they take on board criticisms

The President of the Samoa Nurses Association Solialofi Papalii Pisimaka yesterday said they will take on board criticisms by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Solialofi said the comments by the Prime Minister have been taken on board and they continue to strive to improve their services.

“We do not disregard the Prime Minister’s remarks, instead it has encouraged our administration to develop in areas needing improvement. But no patient has come to the administration to complain concerning nurse’s services,” she said.

Samoa’s nurses go about doing their jobs based on their competencies and nursing standards, though Solialofi says her members are often subject to verbal as well as serious physical abuse from patients and people. 

Speaking of her own experience in the field, she said the work of the nurses are always guided by policies, standards and ethics. 

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“Nurses work according to the policies, ethics, nursing standards and skills to do their job. Not only that but they have regulations as to conduct, performance, attitude and quality service they must abide by.”

The Prime Minister was also critical of what he claims were attempts by nurses to overtake the role of doctors in the hospitals. But Solialofi yesterday said patient care was at the center of a nurse’s responsibility and nurses and doctors—while coming from different medical training background—must work together to save the life of a patient. 

Solialofi said if there was a situation where a patient’s life was in danger—and there were no doctors around to respond—the nurse present has to attend to the patient or they will be held accountable. 

When asked to respond to public complaints of the long hours they have to wait for medical services and giving priority to the elite, she said nurses have an obligation to respond to the person needing immediate attention. 

Nurses in Samoa currently work on average 18 hours a day at the various clinics, outpatients and hospitals with Solialofi indicating that they are “short-numbered, overworked and underpaid”.

“We have so many responsibilities but we never give up. They call us dogs and pigs. Nurses are abused by patients, getting yelled at and slapped by patients. Not only that we are abused by the public verbally, talking hazards and swearing. But we follow ethics the patient is always right, that we remain calm and patient,” she added.

If there are any cases relating to nurses’ conduct which should be brought to their attention, Solialofi said the matter should be reported and addressed so it does not reoccur.

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