Nurses and teachers must step up

09 November 2018
Author   Marlyn Sande
Namibian teachers and nurses should wake up and end their lazy behaviour.  It’s terrible to see how those we entrust with our lives and that of our children have adopted an “I don’t care” attitude.  Things must change.
So many people around me have bad stories to tell about their run-ins with unprofessional and uncaring teachers and nurses. 
Teaching and nursing must never be seen as ‘routine jobs’ done just for a pay cheque.  They are dedicated vocations.   A vocation is “a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.  It is a calling or mission regarded as worthy and requiring dedication.”  Do Namibia’s teachers and nurses know this definition?
Educators play a significant role in shaping the minds of learners of all ages and levels.  The huge potential of what can be produced from those minds will make or break Namibia’s future.
A good or bad teacher can impact students as they can be nurtured and encouraged to rise, or slapped down and smothered. 
Too many teachers are in the profession because they couldn’t get a job doing anything else.  Some took up teaching at university because there weren’t openings in any other discipline.  This ‘second choice’ attitude shows in their teaching attitudes. 
Uncommitted teachers don’t spend time after school hours to help learners in need.  They come in when class begins and leave when class is over, as if teaching was like working in a bank or factory. 
In my view, the use of internet or mobile phones during teaching hours should be prohibited.  Teachers are not there to chat to their family and friends during the working day; they must be focused on the needy students around them.  
Teachers must never play ‘favourites’ amongst those in their classes.  The school room must be a level playing field at all times. 
Unethical and immoral teachers who have sexual relations with their students or those who use corporal punishment must be punished under the law.
I believe that far too many teachers lack empathy.  If a child is having learning problems, he or she will need someone who has the ability to feel compassion and find different ways to break through and teach the child.  
My criticism extends to nurses as well.
Nurses are healthcare providers and should be a valuable asset, but in Namibia they are not.  They are supposed to work hard to save lives and improve the quality of life of those who are sick and the families that care for them. 
All too often, nurses are overworked and underpaid to be sure.  Certainly, we do not have enough doctors and our hospitals are underfunded.  With that negative climate, the bad attitude of many nurses only serves to make things worse. 
Nurses cannot treat their job with nonchalance and an “I-wish-I-were-elsewhere” attitude.   Those who don’t want to commit to making other people’s lives better, should not be a nurse.
Being a nurse means working with patients in need.  Many of the sick are in pain, frightened, worried or ignorant about what is going on around them.  Nurses must assist them, not handle them like cattle. 
Patients are often treated like the nurses are doing them a ‘favour’ just to attend to them. 
Newspapers are full of comments, editorials and complaints about the nightmare results of actions by nurses who don’t care.  Babies get born at hospital gates (and they die there), people pass out, throw up, bleed, cry, scream and even die in waiting rooms unattended. 
Effective nursing means working with all patients equally, not just helping those that speak your native language and neglecting the ones you don’t understand.  I have witnessed this biased attitude from nurses a lot of times at clinics and at the Katutura hospital. 
Some patients walk long distances to get help at the hospital, just to be told to come back tomorrow because the nurse is going to lunch or is knocking off early.
With all of my frustration about teachers and nurses, I have to add that there ARE people in those professions who are doing a great job.  It is the bad apples that taint all the others in those professions. 
Teachers and nurses out there must step up the quality of their services.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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