Union criticises governors over 'new roles' of nurses

Saturday February 18 2017

National Nurses

National Nurses Association of Kenya chairman Alfred Obengo addresses journalists at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu on October 7, 2015. He has said nurses should not be overworked. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MAGDALENE WANJA
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County governments may be forcing nurses to carry out functions beyond the scope of their training, it has emerged.

National Nurses Association of Kenya said some counties are pressuring its members to undertake services normally reserved for doctors.

The doctors' strike enters its 75th day on Friday.

The Nation has also learnt that officials have forced nurses to offer specialised services in maternity wings.

The association’s chairman Alfred Obengo said counties were engaging in the risky practices so as to convince residents that all was well.

“It is unlawful to overstretch workers to cover for those not on duty. County governments stand warned that doing so risks lives,” Mr Obengo said.

He added that midwives and nurses could not play the part of doctors in maternity wards.

He said such cases had been reported in Kakamega and Machakos counties.

“A patient in a theatre requires a complete team that complements one another. Midwives need help from nurses, gynaecologists, paediatricians and a general practitioner,” he explained.

Mr Obengo said the fact that the association had not received complaints did not mean all was well.

He added that while locals might not tell if they were being attended to by experts, what was happening is unlawful.

“Nurses should never operate beyond the scope of their mandate,” he said.

The union's Kakamega branch secretary Benson Bulunya said its officials had received information from members that senior officials were piling pressure on them to carry our doctors’ duties.

He said the issue had since been raised with the county's administration.

Affected employees have been told to report such cases immediately for action to be taken against the counties and the bureaucrats by the Nursing Council of Kenya.