Zorzor City in Lofa county about 227 Km from Monrovia was crammed (filled) with excitement over the weekend when 64 students graduated from the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery (EBSNM).
The EBSNM operates on the motto, “Stand for Excellence.”
Of the 64 graduates, 33 (one male) are registered midwives (RM), while 31 (18 males) are registered nurses (RN). The well attended ceremony was held in the edifice of the St. John’s Lutheran Church on Saturday, May 17, 2014 amidst drumming and dancing—led by relatives of the graduates and well-wishers.
The occasion was dubbed “historical,” because in the mind of Ms. Harriette N.S. Dolo, the director of the school, this marks the 5th post-war, 3rd registered midwifery (RM), and 1st registered nursing (RN) Commencement Convocations.
The EBSNM, according to Ms. Dolo, believes nursing and midwifery are a practice discipline that are both an art and science in which theories and knowledge from nursing, midwifery, and other disciplines are used to assist clients toward maximum health and wellness.
“The major concepts are client’s system, environment to health and nursing,” she said.
According to her, through this framework, faculty express their commitment to teach student theory, and advanced humanistic and evidenced-based practices, which are focused on health, wellness, and illness of clients system of varying complexity within a rapidly changing healthcare delivery system.
The faculty, she confirmed, is made of qualified and highly experienced instructors from accredited nursing schools and universities—who recognized two interrelated aspects of professional practice. These include the art and the science of nursing and midwifery on evidence-based practice.
The art of nursing and midwifery involves creativity, intuition, caring and application of nursing and midwifery therapeutic (healing, curative) communication skills and supportive interpersonal processes.
“Together, the art and science of nursing and midwifery, EBSNM provides insights for the profession in meeting its mission of providing quality education to students who are expected to provide quality patient care and save the lives of citizens.”
Fulfillment of this mission, she said, involves the use of effective teaching skills, evidence-based medicine, which will empower graduates to promote and maintain health and wellness, prevent illness, diagnose and manage actual and potential health problems, facilitate adaptation to health impairments, assist rehabilitation, and maximize the opportunity for dignity in living and dying.
Director Dolo: “The faculty supports the need for continuing education in nursing and midwifery as a means of improving the delivery of health care, and knowledge of policies related to health care and as a means of meeting informational needs in rural and underserved areas.”
The mission of the EBSNM is to among other things; promote the Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ by educating students for diverse and changing roles as clinicians and teachers; generating new knowledge for nursing and midwifery practice, and using their expertise in service to humanity.
EBSNM aims at providing excellent educational program that empowers midwives and nurses to serve the underserved population and to continue fostering Life-Long learning in their chosen careers.
Earlier in his keynote address, Lofa County Senior Senator, Sumo G. Kupee on the theme, “Education: Share Responsibility in Developing Character Education,” challenged the graduates to put to use their acquired knowledge in line with their respective professional duty.
According to Senator Kupee, acquired education, such like in the nursing profession, takes one to a job, “but it is your character education that, to a large extent, occasions your promotions and have you excelled (outshined) in a merit-based environment, which is gradually taking root in our country.”
However, Senator Kupee observed that in Liberia, the discipline of nursing and midwifery are faced with immense challenges. Amidst these challenges, he believes that efforts are being concerted by all stakeholders in an attempt to mitigate these challenges.
As of the character education, the Lofa Lawmaker informed the graduates that, “one can acquire all the needed education, but with faulty character, it amounts to nothing.”
According to him, recorded history from long before the present era emphasizes that education must also develop character, which entails instilling in students and school program participants’ important core, ethical, and civic values such as respect, responsibility, integrity, perseverance, courage, justice and self-discipline.
“Character education is a learning process that enables students and adults in a school community to understand, care about and acts on core ethical values such as respect, justice, civic virtue and citizenship, and responsibility for oneself and others.”
Upon such values, the Senator said, people formed the attitudes and actions that are hallmark of safe, healthy and informed communities that serve as the foundation of society.
“Character education teaches the habits of thought and deed that help people live and work together as families, friends, neighbors, communities and nations.”
Senator Kupee said, it is time for post-war Liberia to begin vigorously promoting strong character and citizenship among the youths as well as the adults; provide vital leadership support to implement character education.
“With the blend of your nursing and midwifery course education as well as character and education, you are bound to be recorded in your field and discipline as one of the greatest your neighborhood, community, county, nation and by extension the world can, and will benefit from,” he told the graduates to a round of applause.
He then implored the graduates to watch their character, behavior, intelligence and level of virtues in their quest to delivering services to all irrespective of societal status.
He urged them to be aware that the most of knowledge acquired by them with a default in character and behavior in the discharge of professional duties is nothing less than no or needless knowledge, adding, “Let your knowledge acquired be needed and needful at all times in professionally delivering your services to mankind.”
During the occasion, several of the graduates were certificated for various academic and extra-curriculum achievements. The honorees included the one who dux the school, Duowoi Tarnue, and several other female graduates.
The ceremony brought together, high profile individuals resenting various sectors of the health delivery system. Among them were two representatives from a USAID-funded Rebuilding Basics Health Service (RBHS) as well as those from USAID, World Learning, United Nations Population Fund as well as local officials, parents and well wishers of the graduates.