President of Nurses Association responds to "attitude problem" claim

The President of the Samoa Nurses Association, Solialofi Papali'i, has expressed concerns about the place of nurses in the new structure of the Ministry of Health following the merge. 

She is concerned that the critical role of nurses in the health system appears lost in the structure of the Ministry.

Ms. Papali'i made the point when her opinion was sought in response to the Health Minister, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, highlighting the issue of poor mindsets especially among nurses as one of the challenges.

According to the President, members of the nursing fraternity are affected by external issues such as their lack of representation in the management structure of the Ministry of Health.

"It seems with the current structure there is no place for the nursing profession in the Ministry of Health," she said. "That’s what the Association has been fighting for because it’s getting lost [in the structure].

"Currently, we have an A.C.E.O. of Nursing but she is placed somewhere else under professional development. But with that section, there are people who already have their own A.C.E.O.s and they’re all mixed in there."

The nursing profession should have representation on the management of the Ministry, according to Papali'i.

"That way the nurses know exactly where they stand on the structure of the hospital. 

"The nurses are pushing the change that comes with the merge but the nurses need to know exactly and clearly where they stand in the structure of the health sector.”

Ms. Papali'i said nurses have standards to abide by as well as competencies and ethics to guide their work, but their absence from the Ministry’s staff structure remains a concern, in terms of clinical governance.

"There needs to be a nursing profession on the structure of the Ministry but there isn’t at the moment. 

"So the reason why some nurses worry and have a change in attitudes is because it is a profession and we need to know [that there is] the clinical governance in that structure of health.”

Health workers in hospitals are also subject to abuse by members of the public seeking health services, added Ms. Papali'i, and it is a challenge that can be difficult to address.

"Wherever, nurses and doctors are always working together," she said. 

"But, whenever it is very busy and there is pressure, it's hard to prevent it; it is because the public also abuse the workers. 

"There are also times when people say very unpleasant things when they have been sitting for a while and that’s the matter sometimes, you try to smile but you cannot, and when you smile sometimes it’s just your lips but your teeth are clenched.”

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