Challenges that nurses face in Uganda
By Oruku Sunday Adebayo
The primary challenge facing healthcare workers of Uganda, especially nurses and midwives, is lack of adequate resources, a result of the fact that the health sector has since 1986 not been accorded the highest priority it deserves. Following a series of interviews with a number of nurses from different hospitals in Uganda, it was evident that indeed they face a number of challenges as stated below.
High nurse-to-patient ratio; Majority of the nurses mentioned that the workload per nurse is big for example, one nurse has about 50 to 80 patients to take care of per day. With such a work load, nurses get burnout and this also compromises patient care.
Lack of equipment for taking vitals on the ward: The underlying reason for lack of this equipment was reported by one nurse as poor managers who have selfish ambitions and use the equipment for their own good. Another said she was not aware of the actual underlying reason.
Long working hours; One of the nurses reported that they work 12 hour shifts with so much work to do which leaves them so tired at the end of the day.
Other challenges that were mentioned include; Poor wages, Undermining of the nursing profession by both doctors and clients which leaves some young nurses with low self esteem, Sexual harassment from patients towards male and female nurses, Not being supported with further education by employers (They have to choose between work and school – No study leave), Nurse are under looked and have no support system from hospital management to help them with their challenges, Some patients are difficult which frustrates nurses and they they have families to go back to and care for as well.