The Society for Nurses in Endoscopy and Minimally Invasive Surgeries (SNEMIS) Ghana, has therefore, called for support from all stakeholders to establish formal educational opportunities for nurses in the area of gastroenterology, endoscopy and minimally invasive surgeries.
This it said would uphold the quality of standards of practice by ensuring safe procedures and maximum patient safety before, during and after the process.
Although endoscopy and minimally invasive surgeries are mainly performed with the active involvement of nurses to investigate the cause of diseases- such as cancers- confirm their diagnosis and most importantly to directly treat patients suffering from such diseases, there were just a few professionally trained hands.
Mr Joel M. Kpodo, who is a Peri-Operative Nurse Specialist in Endoscopy and Minimally Invasive Surgeries, and Founder of the Society, made the call at the opening session of a two-day training workshop on Endoscopy and Minimally Invasive Surgical Nursing in Accra on Friday.
He said becoming a practitioner in Endoscopy and Minimally Invasive Surgery, requires specialised training for high professionalism and safety of the entire procedure, unfortunately there were only five of those specialists in Ghana, with the others who have supported the system for decades being general nursing practitioners.
He said this was due to the fact that this specialised area has not been incorporated into the training programme of nurses, and has been taken for granted as practitioners for years have managed by learning on-the-job.
He encouraged nurses who want to practice in the field to join professional training programmes to upgrade their skills.
Mr Kpodo said endoscopy and minimally invasive surgical practice relies absolutely on teamwork, with nurses playing extremely important roles, and “this is why at no point in time, the endoscopy nurse should be relegated in the endoscopy department”, he said.
The workshop, he said, was the maiden event to be organised by the Society in collaboration with Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association and other stakeholders in health, and aims at educating, refreshing and updating the knowledge and skills of practitioners in modern endoscopy and minimally invasive surgery practices.
It was also to institutionalise SNEMIS in Ghana, by adopting a Constitution as a professional body, elect its national executives, and also draw an action plan towards the official launch of the society in March 2017.
Mr Kpodo said SNEMIS has been formed among other objectives to unite persons engaged in any capacity in the fields of endoscopy or minimally invasive surgical nursing, advocate for safe and effective practice as well as advance the science and practice of endoscopy and minimally invasive surgical nursing through education, research, advocacy and collaboration.
It is also to promote the professional development of its members in an atmosphere of mutual support, to continually collect information, establish guidelines for future professionals and expand specialised educational opportunities.
Dr Mattew Wireko, a Consultant Gastroenterologist and the Director of the Gastrointestinal Disease and Endoscopy Centre in Accra, commended SNEMIS for initiating the training, which would serve as a platform to scale up the knowledge and skills of nurses in modern practice.
He said quality endoscopy was only just beginning to take off in Ghana and there was huge opportunity ahead for specially trained endoscopy nurses locally and West Africa as a whole as the market expands.