More professional behaviour expected from health care workers

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, September 15, 2016

Nurses and physicians of public health facilities are to undergo training which is targeted at improving their interpersonal skills. This announcement comes after Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton was questioned on how government plans to deal with patients’ complaints about the manner in which nurses, doctors and other health care providers speak to them.

Dr. George Norton, Minister of Public Health

Dr. George Norton, Minister of Public Health

The Minister told the Government Information Agency (GINA), “There is no doubt about it, a lot of people are complaining, not only of the nurses, but people are also complaining of the doctors and somewhere along the line we are losing the battle of these professionals, who one would expect that within the nature of their profession behave in a different way, but more and more we are seeing unprofessionalism from their approach to patients and in public relations on a whole.”

Minister Norton explained that complaints against staff have been continuously reported and these have pushed the ministry to address the issue.

“I will not shy away from the fact that yes, we have much more to be desired in terms of the attitude of our staff, and because of this, I’ve already started putting systems in place where they can be taught basic manners or to be more professional, and this would be an ongoing something,” Dr. Norton said.

The Ministry of Public Health will facilitate the training which is expected to begin shortly. The Ministry will also liaise with qualified persons to facilitate the exercise.

“We’ve got resource persons in our society who have been around over the years and have not only qualified themselves academically to do so, but have demonstrated that yes they are in command of the necessary knowledge.”

Noting that the results of the training will not be realised overnight, Minister Norton and the Ministry does intend to have all public health care professionals in line with what is expected of them when it comes to the manner in which they communicate with patients. He also added that while nurses will be given priority for the training, doctors will also benefit.

“The nurses are the persons who literally are with the relatives and the patients more; we will concentrate on that, but we would also like our physicians to be exposed to the knowledge as well,” Minister Norton explained.

Dr. Norton said that the Ministry has been working towards recruiting persons in society who are competent and qualified in teaching interpersonal skills. Minister Norton added that, “The fact that they are there to help persons, persons only go to the hospital because they need help. We will try to improve their interpersonal skills and of course to be more committed to the work that they are doing at the moment.”

At the end of the training period, it is expected that the public health care providers will be able to interact more effectively and efficiently with individuals seeking medical attention at the respective health care institutions.

The Minister noted that regardless of how effective health systems might be functioning with necessary infrastructure, equipment and medication, once the personnel are lacking the requisite skills to perform professionally on the job, there will always be complaints about health care workers’ attitude.



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