I am a nurse and was wondering why my neighbors were shouting and crying at 5:30 a.m. one morning. I went to their house and saw a 60-year-old woman with bleeding to her head. She had a head injury about 3 centimeters wide. When I suggested she go to hospital, she protested. She said she did not have money.
I brought antiseptic, a bandage and plaster from my house and attempted to treat her wound. I did not have the necessary instruments to treat her wound at that time. I gave her three butterfly stitches
and antiseptic. Three days later, she said she felt better and was in the recovery process.
Nurses are the healthcare providers who work in the shadow. They constitute the largest healthcare occupation with the majority working in hospital beside their patients for almost 24 hours. Nurses can be considered the true heroes of our society who take care of people in need and help them stand on their own two feet. Nurses have been making valuable contributions to mankind throughout history and are continuing their noble work.
But in Indonesia, nurses are neglected by the government. People still have a negative perspective that nurses are only “doctors’ aides”. Nurses are wrongly portrayed as subordinates who move objects and take orders.
The government has submitted the bill on the Indonesian Nursing Regulation a long time ago, but there has been no progress at the House of Representatives. The shortage of nurses highlights how important nurses are.
The consensus of the MRA (Mutual Recognition Agreement) among the Asian countries and AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area) requires Indonesian nurses to develop and increase their capability and competency to some level with our neighbors such Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and so on.
The demand for nurses from Japan, the US, Europe and other countries cannot be fulfilled because we have no nursing regulation and national standard of nursing competency.
The reformation of the nursing profession is a step forward to being recognized and respected by the leader at the national level. The government should pay more attention to nurses who are in the frontline in securing the health of this nation.
There is an urgent need for nurses in Indonesia to take the initiative and engage with every community activity and all sectors to support and address the legalization of the Indonesian Nursing Regulation by Commission IX of the Indonesian House of Representatives as soon as possible.
Of course this cannot be achieved without the support and action from the people, public and the government. There are many reasons to commit to this action and support nurses. This act is not merely to protect the human rights of the patient and the legal aspect of practice of the Indonesian nurses, but to address global competition.
The Philippines is a good example on how valued the Philippines’ nurses who work in the US, the UK, Singapore and Kuwait are. Around 350,000 practicing nurses per year, the Philippines is producing professional nurses and their income can be supported by the family income, increasing their income per capita in the country.
This is because the Board of Nursing, the Philippines Regulation Commission, the Congressman, the Department of Health, and the Overseas Worker Department work hand in hand to ensure their nurses are valued and work in good conditions.
The writer is a lecturer on psychiatric nursing and mental health at Sint Carolus School of Health Sciences and Atmajaya University, Jakarta. She focuses on mental health in Indonesia