The current COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the conditions of nurses across the globe and WHO estimates an acute shortage of 4.6 Million nurses by 2030. What an interesting yet challenging time to be a nurse?
Nurses are the backbone and the lifeblood of a country’s healthcare system and many have ended up even sacrificing their lives for the sake of their patients. This is courtesy of the mother of nursing,Florence Nightingale, who envisioned the nursing profession to be like a mission of saving people. Indeed nurses save societies and as KenyanNurse we are proud to have facilitated recruitment of hundreds of nurses to the UK, Ireland and USA. But as nurses go around with their daily duties, there are many debates on their welfare.Nurses’ welfare can be discussed in four quadrants:financial,emotional,physical and psychosocial wellness. As the pandemic staggers, in line with the above wellness strands, nurses are suffering either directly or indirectly from the ripple effects. Many of the nurses suffer from workplace pressure, the agony of getting accustomed to seeing patients die especially like in our country where an “ICU bed” is an exotic terminology and many ,if not all,have financial problems. It is an adage to say ‘how much you earn is not important but what you do with what you earn is the most important’. This piece will delve on how nurses can bolster their financial prudency skills and emerge with robust investment ideas and better plan their retirement early enough. I should also say that this information is important to all nurses whether you are practising as a nurse at Chebukutumi Hospital in Sirisia subcounty in Bungoma county in Kenya or are daring abroad and you are an RN at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading (UK) or even voyaging on holiday in Florida.
The Real Problem Emanates Here
In a survey conducted by the UK- based Carvel Nurses Trust, more than half of the nursing workforce are considering quitting the profession, and more than 77% of the nurses feel that they are unprepared for any eventualities such as being bereaved, sickness or even relationship breakdowns. Of those interviewed also hinted that they have less than 500 (GBP) British pounds that is within reach as a fall-back plan in cases of emergencies. Suffice to say, more than three-quarters of the nurses interviewed had not more than 3000 GBP(Kes.435K) all their platforms be it in the bank on in their combined investments The situation might even be dire in Kenya where the minimum wage requirement seems to be like a historical injustice by government grandeurs: ranged between 6000 shillings in 1994 to an all-time high of 13K in 2020. Even with this financial hardship befalling on many nurses, their nurse’s unions are mum or at least gaggling cold or lukewarm sideshows upon advise of their masters (in the Kenyan context). This condition has made very nurses not to discuss their financial hardship problems with their employers. Many nurses are now wallowing in financial problems that include: living beyond their means; expensive debt; poor budgeting; ‘relativism’ and high dependency ration among others. These are problems that cut across the nursing profession. The question is, do nurses earn less? Do we have discriminatory financial policies in some workplaces? Do they ever undergo financial training? Do they think about retirement on their first day at work? I suggest few solutions that are only plausible if you as a nurse can decide to act from now.
- Start with the end and avoid instant gratification
Philosophers and consultants call it “planning” but herein we shall call it “starting with the end in mind”. It is important that you figure out why you are employed in the first place. Do you have an envisioned financial epitome? How do you intent to get to your financial epitome? It is equally important to figure out your “why” and work towards it. For example, many would want to buy a house, car, buy into the next Facebook or even establish their big family empires at some point. To achieve all these then you better avoid what’s commonly called instant gratification. We live in an era where the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up is to check how many views and likes you got on your Florida holiday last week post.It is fine that social media has enabled socialization but it is like a double-edged sword. You will spend your hard-earned cash on a plastic following whom if by bad luck, God forbid, they will only type RIP, little did they know that maybe you succumbed because you lacked 100 GBP(13,000 Kes) to secure an essential drug. Why? You did have the money, but you spent it on holiday because you have to be perceived to be living large and ‘eating life with a big spoon’. Very interesting.
- Do not play it safe.
As a nurse you took the famous Nightingale pledge “I will not do anything evil or malicious and I will not knowingly give any harmful drug or assist in malpractice” and you tend to avoid risky areas that jeopardise your reputation and profession. Well done because if the world was led by nurses, it surely would be an enviable planet where catastrophes and humanly instigated conflicts like climate change and corruption will never happen. Indeed, the Universal Health Coverage agenda will have been implemented in all the countries in Africa. Nevertheless, very few countries in Africa are in line to achieving their targets and some even do not prioritise nurses recruitment to purchasing of expensive machines that do not have people to operate. Anyway, this is a story for another day but it is time nurses take calculated risks and dive deep into the investment landscape. It has been reported that very few hospitals in Kenya are owned by nurses but Private Equity Funds finance doctors to start hospitals and nurses will be at the forefront to deliver for the PE fund indirectly at the expense of their dreams. Is it not time we started seeing the mushrooming of hospitals under the umbrella of Kenyan nurses working abroad? This can only happen when nurses start taking risks and investing in the uncharted waters.
- Pay off your debt and be strict at budgeting.
How many different places/persons have you taken debt(s) from? It might be the most feared online predatory loan applications or even the local shylocks that will mess you up should you show signs of not paying up in time. It is estimated that default rates on mobile loans have more than tripled for the last one year. The implication is that you end up being reported to Credit Reference Bureaus (CRBs) and this affects your credit score. Also, averagely mobile bank loans and from the digital mobile loans will charge you up to 400% annual rates on a loan.Can you imagine transferring your hard-earned to paying those banks and lenders? Next time you hear boasting of big figures in their annual financial briefings you should bear in mind that it is your sweat that they are getting big bonuses in millions from. Preserve your wealth by taking on debt that you can afford to pay back and if you can’t resist then opt for very lenient debt. That could be a discussion for another day.
- Join KenyanNurse Oversea Investment Program
Informed by some of the problems above, it is recommended that you consult a professional who understands the nursing and financial landscape better.KenyanNurse has an array of professionals drawn from high-calibre investment consultancy, technology, business strategy and health statistics that you can leverage on to build your financial muscle. As indicated above, it is advised that you only make financially prudent decisions for you to retire with dignity. KenyanNurse convicts that it is possible when we come together and reason like nurses for the future of nurses. It(KenyanNurse) is not a nurses’ union but a cadre of like-minded nurses that are ready to improve on money management. If you are abroad then it is high time you consider initiating a conversation on your money management matters now.
If interested,please submit your details here and we shall organize for an E-meeting.
All the best in your financial decisions.
By Wafula Ronald,CEO-KenyanNurse.