Meet Mary Ozuruonye, Branding Nursing Profession In Nigeria And Africa

Whenever and where ever the word ‘Nurse’ is mentioned in Nigeria and most part of Africa, so many stereotype, come to the fore. Such as, ‘ordinary nurse, just nurse, what does a nurse know, please i want see your doctor, you are just a nurse, one illiterate nurse like that, nurse is for women,” and many more.

The higher derogatory words found mostly in Nigeria concerning nurses and nursing profession, are ones such as; nurses are wayward, the only thing ‘dem sabi na to dey gossip’.

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Nurse Ozuruonye Agholor said, “when people hear, you a nurse, the first thing that come to their thinking is you are loose, you follow man, you are not decent and an illiterate and one who settled for nursing, because of no other work”.

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These ugly narratives are what propelled Mary Ozuruonye Agholor to change the narrative and brand nursing profession through advocacy and the use of media.

Her desire to change the ugly perception for the nursing profession, made her go into prevention health advocacy, not only to change narrative, but to also impact, sensitize and empower rurals and the general society with basic health literacy for a healthy world.

“I am like every other nurse that treat patience in the hospital, but i looked at it , that there is more i can do for the society.”

To achieve this, with her team of other like minded nurses, Mary said: “We go to churches, schools and communities to empower them with information on the need for immunization, hygiene, early dictation of diseases, through looking out for symptoms, and reporting to the nearest hospital for effective treatment, quality health and to increase life expectancy”.

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The Abavo, Ika South local government of Delta state, indigene, said she established radio station for nurses, because the media has not been fair in their portrayal of nurses and nursing profession.

Since no one can tell their story better than they nurses, she had to establish nurses’ radio station,the way the media is portraying nurses is not good, it is one of the things that made me to go into the media, i want to change the narrative,” she told BBC.

The journey of re-branding, advocacy and changing the narrative of nursing profession by Mary Ozuruonye Agholor, has not gone unnoticed, as she was crowned with the title of one of the “100 Outstanding Nurse” in the World, by Women in Global Health in 2020, at the occasion, 2020 International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

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Mary lamented that the nursing profession is also experiencing brain drain, which she said is caused by  poor remuneration of nurses.

She called on government to invest in preventive policies, this she said will help to curtail mos diseases plaguing the nation.

BBC News Pidgin

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