Training for 45 Senior Nurses in Ghana

CAMHA (formerly Volunteer Nurses Ghana VLNGH), in September 2009 held a training workshop for Psychiatry Nurses in Ghana [See photographs here]. The participating nurses came from all the three psychiatry hospitals in the country namely; Pantang, Ankaful and Accra Psychiatry Hospitals. The programme looks to addressing some form management principles in mental health nursing. These issues includes suicide and violence to others are prominent risks involve in mental health nursing. This makes risk risks assessment and management eminent in the nursing professions.

We recognised the need for continuing training and professional development for health professionals, mental nurses in the area of risk identification assessment and management in the area of practice which cannot be overemphasised. Mental Health nurses are professionally accountable practitioners who must be able to identify gaps in assessment risk and management in their professional knowledge, and limits of their competencies to deliver appropriate patient care. Nurses must seek to expand their knowledge and skills in order to maintain the safety of patients, careers, the public, staff and their colleagues in general. Modern nursing practice demands greater accountability and responsibility. This implies that professional nurses are answerable for their activities and omissions regardless of advice or directions from any other professional. The desire for critical thinking in nursing practice has become necessary since the landscape of nursing practice over the world, has assumed a character depictive of critical judgement and professional as well as intellectual curiosity. The objective of the training is to equip nurses with the requisite knowledge and professional competencies in risk identification and management to enable them meet the demands of modern Health Care practice. In total, forty five (45) participants who benefited from the training drawn from Pantang Hospital, Accra Psychiatric Hospital and Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital, twenty from each institution. The topic area were Clinical Risk Assessment and Management, Risk identification, Risk assessment, Risk Management and clinical up-dates: Essence of Care: Implementing and sustaining good Practice (Key components of delivering on Essence of care) and Prevention & Management of Violence and Aggression.

The programme details was sent the individual hospital three months before the actual date inviting senior nurses and ward manager to attend the training. This was to give the hospital ample time to prepare and selection of participants. The overall participation was successful; Pantang Hospital and Ankaful Psychiatric Hospitals were full prepared for the event thanks their in-service coordinators. However there were some communication problems at Accra Psychiatric Hospital, the nursing administration team were not aware of such a programme until two day to the event. The nursing administrators managed to mobilise the expected participants on the date. The deputy director of Nursing at Accra Psychiatric Hospital and also the president of Ghana Registered Nurses Association gave an introductory speech before the start of the programme. In her speech, she encouraged the participant to pay attention to the facilitator and be able to transfer the acquire knowledge to their work area. She also expressed her sincere gratitude to the organizer of the training (Volunteer Nurses Ghana). The participants at Accra Psychiatric Hospital were joined by a group of student nurses from Kumasi and their tutor who had visited the on clinical placement.

At Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital the in-service coordinator, Sister Van-Dyck, said at the end of the programme that the training will go a long way to improve the skills of the participants and improve the quality of care to their service users. She also acknowledged that although they have acquire professional knowledge the training has exposed them to many on field experiences to which will enable them to give off their best especially in attending to psychiatric emergencies.

It was observed that there is the need to encourage continuous professional development for nurses the Ghana. Although many of the patients have attained degree in nursing and psychology, however those who have not made to further their education could benefit from training in professional development. This was the true reflection of the feedback from the participants as most of them wish to be such training periodically to enhance their professional development and increase the level of competent in their practice.

The organization is planning to establish contact with other mental health institution across the globe to offer competency base training to their nurses and nursing assistance. This training which was first of the king VLNGH was sponsored by the founder to demonstrate how much mental health in the Ghana mean to him. It very important for the government, the private sector organization and individual are to rally behind this noble course to improve the care for mentally ill persons in Ghana.