The Winifred J. Harley College of Health Sciences of the United Methodist University of Liberia (UMU) on Friday, August 19, 2022, had its 48th Oath and Honors program for over one hundred nursing students in Ganta City, Nimba County, Liberia. According to the dean of the college, Clinton Zeantoe, the number of students coming out of the college was the highest since its establishment in the 1950s. “This is part of the sign that your leadership at the university is improving the quality of our outputs,” Zeantoe asserted.
He told the graduating nursing students who are part of the 18th Graduating Class that the oath and honors program was the beginning of their journey into the nursing profession. You will have to sit the nursing state board test and pass before you can be considered a professional nurse in the Liberian context,” Zeantoe emphasized. He pointed out that taking “The Nightingale Pledge: Nursing Ethics Oath” was a major part that of their academic journey and it would enhance their practice in the profession. “Once you do not take this oath, you will not graduate with your colleagues during the 18th Commencement Convocation,” he concluded.
Addressing the nursing students on the theme “ethics in professional nursing practice” Lango W. Toe, Health Coordinator of the United Methodist Church in Liberia said ethics for nurses is a statement of the ethical values, responsibilities and professional accountabilities of nurses that defines and guides practice within the different roles. She said the primary role of professional nurses is to attend to people requiring nursing care and services now or in the future, adding, “Nurses hold in confidence personal information and respect the privacy, confidentiality and interests of patients in the lawful collection, use, access, transmission, storage and disclosure of personal information.”
She told the nurses it is their duty to ensure that the individual and family receive understandable, accurate, sufficient and timely information in a manner appropriate to the patient’s culture. “You to know the patient’s physical and psychological needs on which to base consent for care and related treatment.” Toe concluded.
For his part, Solomon B. Yah, head of clinical department of the Winifred J. Harley College of Health Sciences cautioned the students to be mindful of the societal interpretation of “The Nightingale Pledge: Nursing Ethics Oath”. He said there are individuals who think because of the pledge, nurses should treat patients free, stressing, “you will hear people who bring their relatives to you saying you took oath to take care of people why are you putting money first.” He called on the Liberian people to know that nurses need to survive on their profession by receiving just payment for their services.
The Winifred J. Harley College of Health Sciences, formerly called the Winifred J. Harley United Methodist School of Nursing, was founded deep in the interior if Liberia in 1952 by Dr. George Way Harley. It has since been training Liberians in nursing that offers four programs: the first program is a three years Associate of Science Degree (ASN) in nursing, Bachelor of Science Degree (BSN), and Bachelor of Science Degree in Midwifery (BSW). The college now operates two campuses; the Ganta Campus in Nimba County, and the Monrovia Campus in Montserrado County.