By: Ferry Efendi
Nurses across the country are pushing for the government and the House of Representatives to speed up deliberation of the Nursing Practice Bill, which is to recognize this profession as a main component in the national health system (The Jakarta Post, 2009). The purpose of the bill is to clarify the rights and duties of nurses.
The author believes that nurses have the right to a safe work environment, to practice in a manner that assures the provision of safe care through adherence to professional standards and ethical practice, and to advocate freely for themselves and their patients.
The draft bill was submitted to the House in 2005 and has since been revised 20 times.
Indonesia is still implementing the Ministry of Health Decree No. 1239/2001 as a legal basis for nurses’ jobs. However, the decree is not sufficiently clear in defining nurses’ rights and duties; this has resulted in misunderstanding and misperception of nurses jobs. In fact, nurses’ legal position is not protected adequately. Evidently, nurses in East Java, West Java and Central Java have been detained by authorities or harassed by locals for providing emergency assistance, which they believed that only doctors could do. In fact, the decree states nurses are allowed to give medical treatment if they have approval from the doctors in charge. However, the majority of people still believe (misbelieve actually) that all medical treatments, even as simple as giving injections should be done by doctors and only doctors.
This problem has definitely hampered nurses’ job which basically doing dependent job.
To resolve the problem, Indonesia needs a specific law regulating nursing practice and defining nurses’ responsibilities. The bill under discussion covers nurses’ competence and protection during practice, which means they are defined as professional practitioners.
If the bill is passed into law, it will be Indonesia’s first national standard for nurses.
By: Ferry Efendi