The Plight of a Degree Health Intern: What a Ghanaian Degree Nurse/Midwife Intern Goes Through. Must Read!

Over the years, the Ghanaian degree health intern; nurses and midwives have been lowered to almost nothing.

Their very existence has only been tagged as ‘nurses in white.’ A noble profession as it sounds; is actually disregarded in almost all aspects.

The degree nurse/midwife is only treated as a title and not respected for their role played in the health system.

It would surprise you to know a diploma health intern is more regarded as compared to a degree health intern. Is it because of cheap labour? So then, does government actually appreciate the degree profession in nursing/midwifery?

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If it is just a status quo to run a degree programme; after which graduates are later side-lined in practice, what is the essence? Why not just limit us all to diploma then?

Let me briefly give you a retrospective detail into the above.

The Plight of a Degree Rotation Nurse/Midwife

With a saddened heart, I write this message to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwifery Association of Ghana (GRNMA) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Over the years, University Nursing/Midwifery students have been treated unfairly pertaining to decision making in the Nursing/Midwifery profession. University Nursing/Midwifery students are neglected when it comes to fighting for allowances.

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These students go to the wards for their clinical placement and in some instances, are asked to provide their own gloves before they can work. Wow!

Again, diploma nurses who are undertaking their rotation (national service) are paid extra for their services to the health system. The current national service salary received by all personnel is GH¢559.04 including graduate nurses and private diploma nurses who are also providing the same services to the Ministry of Health.

On the other hand, government diploma nurses receive GH¢780.00 each month as their national service allowance. Even though these two groups of nurses provide the same services to the Ministry of Health; in the some instances, the degree nurse is expected to provide higher services because of higher academic qualification.

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It is with great shock that these nurses are paid less as compared to the other nursing group. This issue has been reported to the Nursing and Midwifery Council countlessly and the Ministry of Health claim that graduate nurses are under the Ministry of Education; and the higher allowance for the government diploma nurses are from the Ministry of Health.

The nurses and midwives have till date, continued to serve the nation despite this sharp discrepancy in rotational allowances, but enough is enough!

What is The Deserved Salary of a Health Degree Intern?

According to the 2020 Single Spine Salary Structure, all degree rotation nurses/midwives are to receive GH¢1,296.97 gross income monthly.

The annual salary for a degree health intern in yellow highlight according to the 2020 Single Spine Structure

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Meanwhile, they are receiving less than half this amount – GH¢559.04 monthly.

This is a great political fallacy! Are the systems working? Or is this one of those beautiful pictures painted politically on promises delivered which is a hoax?

Don’t you agree this is a cheat for a degree health intern to receive GH¢559.04 based on National Service Scheme (NSS) allowance; when they work out of the prescribed hours and conditions given per NSS; weekends, night shifts, holidays, etc. and do not receive what is due them?

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They deserve at least their rightful reward for their labour as given by the government and not otherwise. They still work tirelessly amidst this pandemic with all the risks involved at a salary of GH¢559.04 per month. Goodness!

I believe their cry must be heard. They did nothing wrong other than choosing to save lives. This is their honest plea. May God bless all nurses and midwives!

Credit: Eric Amankona