But that does not seem to be the case. When the nurses graduate from any of the nursing institutions in Sierra Leone, most of those who performed extremely well are left out; they do not get their pin codes on a silver platter. Most of those who do SECHN, SRN, etc, have to wait year-after-year before they are considered for the pin codes.
It is a mystery how some get the pin codes and why some do not get. The manner in which the pin codes are allocated to the nurses is a cause for concern that it demotivates most nurses who are more committed and have passion for nursing. Some prefer to stay in the field; others opt out because they do not know their fates as to when they will ever get the pin code, while others go for greener pastures. It is a pity that most of those who opted out are grumbling to those that want to do nursing in Sierra Leone.
There are over ten nursing schools in Sierra Leone currently. Every district seems to have a nursing school today. This is unlike the pre-90s period when there were few nursing schools in Sierra Leone; Nixon Hospital, Segbewma, National School of Nursing, Freetown, Serabu and Mattru Hospitals respectively.
It was automatic for those nurses to be paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund as soon that they graduated from any of the nursing schools mentioned. There was no pin code allocation. Nurses were dedicated to their work. They had time for their patients and had little time for mammy coker work (doing extra work for money in another institution) in private hospitals.
But the issuance of pin codes is one of the reasons why most nurses are lethargic in their work. Volunteer nurses are more dedicated to their work than most pin code nurses.
The New Direction Government of President Julius Maada Bio should consider this allocation of pin codes to graduating health workers seriously. As there are nursing students in all districts now, government must get a nominal roll of all potential graduating nurses and prepare a budget to employ these nurses; rather allowing them to spend three or four years in a nursing school, only to graduate without a non-salaried job.
It is disheartening to see many nurses who graduate and are working as volunteers in the clinics and hospitals, but do not have pin codes.
Government must prepare to issue pin codes to graduating nurses if it does not want to discourage people from becoming nurses. Most of the girls coming out of secondary school have passion to be nurses. Government must encourage them to become one by not making the issuance of pin codes a lotto or mercury affair; only the lucky ones get the pin codes even they had a weak results from their nursing schools…
Sierra Leone needs more health care workers than ever before. The population increases daily; patients increase daily; hospitals and clinics increase daily-so also nursing schools increase annually. Government must plan well for these graduating nurses and plan well for other graduates in other fields. Issuance of pin codes to nurses must not be a lotto or mercury affair. They deserve to get pin codes as soon as they graduate from nursing schools to fill the gap in the health care sector.