The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) on Monday advised members to do away with fear as it erodes professionalism.

Mrs Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, the President of the Association, said many nurses and midwives at the frontline of caring for COVID-19 cases, have been overtaken by the fear as they could also contract the disease.

She said the Association also learned that members were afraid due to the lack of access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

While admitting that all nurses at both designated and non-designated treatment centres could be exposed to the respiratory infection, she however, encouraged them that there was no reason to fear.

Mrs Ofori-Ampofo noted that the Association was working closely with the Ministry of Health to distribute PPE to members to protect them from any possible infections.

Nii Teiko Tagoe, the Regional Officer of Nurses and Midwifery Council of Ghana, said the Council and the Association had a responsibility to manage the emotional wellbeing of nurses and midwives as they were engulfed in emotional burden.

The situation was worsened by the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, he said.

He said it was necessary to encourage every nurse and midwife to undergo an emotional protective exercise to enable them to build mental resilience and capacity to overcome fear with positive thoughts.

Nii Tagoe cautioned them against paying attention to rumours on the disease but rather resort to the Ghana Health Service website on COVID-19 for accurate data.

“You may be intelligent but emotional problems can make you act unprofessionally. You also need empathy towards yourselves and others to be able to handle them with care while protecting yourselves.”

“When you feel afraid, take a deep breath and remember you are called to care for others. The first insurance is to prepare yourself emotionally, wear the right PPE and adhere to the precautionary measures set by the WHO and Ghana Health Service and you will be fine,” he advised.

He called on General Nurses to learn from Mental Health Nurses by being calm in addressing cases brought to them.

“When a mental health nurse confronts a patient who is aggressive, he or she stays calm to be able to get the patient on board,” he noted.

The Reverend Father Thomas Betuyre, Parish Priest of the Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Dansoman, said it was unfortunate how fear had led some people to commit suicide in the developed countries with the belief that they would eventually die.

“That was a consequence of fear, therefore Ghana health workers who are the front-liners should not succumb to fear, because we don’t want to get to that stage,” he added.

He believed nurses and midwives should encourage themselves and others, especially as the chances of survival after contracting COVID-19 was high.

“We may not even develop any vaccine at all, but with the practice of basic personal hygiene and social distancing protocols, the COVID-19 will disappear,” he said.

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