Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said the history of nursing careers is often linked to the greatness of English nurse Florence Nightingale dubbed ‘The Lady with the Lamp’, a world-renowned woman who once sacrificed her strength to take care of British soldiers in the war and was also the founder of Professional Nursing Education in 1860.
In his message to mark World Heath Day 2020, the minister said in commemoration of its 200th anniversary, the World Health Organization (WHO) selected the theme of this year’s World Health Day ‘Support Nurses and Midwives’. The theme is to celebrate, honour and extend the highest appreciation to all the professional nurses and midwives around the world who provided healthcare and health services to the community.
The WHO declared 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwives to highlight and present the latest developments in nurses around the world. The WHO will provide a series of recommendations to each country on ways to improve the capacity and workforce of nursing and midwifery professionals.
It is important for every country including Brunei Darussalam to contribute towards realising the concept of Universal Health Coverage at the national and global levels, and to achieve the goals related to maternal and child health, infectious and non-communicable diseases, mental healthcare, response and emergency preparedness among others.
The WHO and Ministry of Health (MoH) called on the public – in conjunction with the World Health Day – to ensure that everyone who is a registered nurse and midwife receive strong support from the public.
Nursing and midwifery professions are highly regarded and are among the selected in Islam. For over 170 years, the nursing and midwifery profession has been the backbone playing an important role in providing health services wherever they are. They devote their time and expertise, and often face risks and dangers in order to look after and care for their patients.
As in other countries, hospitals in Brunei Darussalam require the services of skilled nurses. As such, nurses and midwives are among the health professionals who are constantly striving and proactive in developing and expanding their knowledge and skills as well as facing various challenges including life trends, technology as well as high exposure from doctors, health personnel and others.
In enhancing the capacity development of nurses and midwives in the country, the MoH developed various training programmes such as encouraging and supporting nurses to further their education and training locally or abroad to lead multiple clinical disciplines such as neonatology, cardiology, oncology and so on, one-year internship training to establish a nursing base for newly graduated nurses, competencies training for all levels of nursing, occupational training for renal nurses and diabetic education nurses, mentorship programmes for nurses, specialist programmes for all in the field of nursing on a part-time or on-the-job training basis in collaboration with Politeknik Brunei and Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam and others.
The number of nursing and midwifery professions worldwide and in the Sultanate is decreasing as each nurse and midwife is required to perform and adapt to various roles and responsibilities in the workplace.
Currently, Brunei Darussalam has 1,673 nurses and 96 registered midwives. They should always follow the prescribed Nursing Procedure Manual. This is because the characteristics of work ethic are fundamental to being used as a guide or procedure in carrying out the duties of a professional nurse and midwife, especially in the areas of healthcare.
In addressing current issues, especially in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, frontline health workers, nurses and midwives are facing very challenging circumstances.
However, nurses are always committed to high quality, including providing high quality patient care, increase public awareness of the COVID-19 outbreak, provide advice and comfort in addressing patients’ questions and concerns about COVID-19, and some also assist in the collection of data for clinical studies. They stay away from their families and face the dangers of the virus to shoulder their responsibility to provide treatment.
It is undeniable that without the presence of nurses and midwives in carrying out their duties, the healthcare system for COVID-19 in the country would not have been possible. “I hope that all nurses and midwives in the country will continue to exert their efforts to enhance the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of our services together to achieve lasting excellence while enhancing our confidence in providing the best possible service to the people especially patients,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said. “I am confident that every current nurse and midwife, especially those facing the COVID-19 challenge, will be able to serve as a role model for all those who want to venture into nursing and midwifery in the future, to continue to uphold the image and reputation of the nursing and midwifery profession in this country as a profession of honour and integrity.”