3 Major Mistakes Most Nurses & Midwives Make in Life That Cause Their Downfall Forever

The Life Of A Nurse is as tough as it is; but if it is that of a Ghanaian Nurse, then that's double the hustle. We are faced with many challenges profession-wise including Inadequate Staffing which obviously leads to Long working hours, Workplace hazards, Workplace violence, Bullying and harassment and recent mysterious kidnaps and deaths of Nurses & Midwives in Ghana. It is disheartening that after all we go through coupled with the low salaries we receive, the very people we are dying for are the same people who maltreat us.

Well, quite apart from the struggles mentioned above, putting our personal needs aside is something we do sometimes just to save the lives of our patients. The Anatomy of a Nurse describes it well.

We do not really complain much, after all, "To do what nobody else will do, a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through; is to be a nurse." - Rawsi Williams, RN.

All of these is why you as the Ghanaian Nurse or Midwife should strive to have a great personal life. In this article, we will look at four mistakes some Nurses and Midwives commit that makes their lives even more uncomfortable.

Too Much Borrowing

It is evident that you won't always have what you need because life in it's own way is unfair. If it were, the concept of borrowing or buying stuff on credit would not be here in the first place so borrowing to care for a need is not bad but as the saying goes, too much of everything is bad. The use of 'need' here isn't necessarily referring to the basic needs of life such as food, shelter and clothing because that's what your salary is for. However, if your monthly income isn't able to cater for these basic needs for yourself and immediate family, then you should probably get a scale of preference. The last thing that should cross your mind is to spend a loan on needs or wants that do not bring monetary profit.

When you weren't on government Payroll, do you remember the sort of SMS you used to receive on your cellphone? They were usually from your network provider right? Well, what about now? You may even receive more than two invitations to get a juicy loan before you finish reading this article but hey! some of those loan companies are just crooks in suit and tie. They never tell you what exactly you are signing up for until the deductions have started. Some of them even exceed the agreed number of years you signed to finish paying off the loan and when you follow up to stop the deductions, you'd go through hell. As a little advise, if you ever do need a loan, make sure you are getting it from a credible source and also make sure you fully understand the terms of the loan.

Finally, what should you spend a loan on? Actually, that's up to you because it's your life so it's your decision to make but here is a little advice.

  •  Do not spend a loan on budgets that doesn't bring monetary profit. Getting a loan for an expensive luxury is suicidal. Remember the pay grade is already low so getting a loan for a private car, motor bike, rent, fashion, weddings, funerals e.t.c could really affect your life for a very long time.
  • You may spend a loan on your business if you have a promising one already or you want to startup one. But remember, since you are using a loan, make sure you follow the finances of your business especially if you hire a relative or employee to manage it due to your schedule. Make them render accounts EVERY DAY. I don't know how to really stress on that point, I think I should make it red in color. I mean, no matter how much you trust them, Make them render accounts EVERY DAY. When you begin from the very first day, it becomes a norm so they won't feel like you don't trust them. You may feel that's excessive, if so, you can make it every x days or weekly but the point is, just make them render accounts regularly.
  • You may also spend a loan on your education but do not begin with a loan because if you do, how do you intend to complete your course? So plan ahead. Save as much as you can and further your education with that. You may even be surprised to complete without a loan especially when you get a study leave with pay. Sometimes, things doesn't go as planned so you may spend your savings on other equally important situations, that's where you get a loan. After all, you can't leave your education hanging once you have already started.
  • Getting a loan to build your house while you are still young isn't a bad idea but you should consider a few things e.g. the size of the house, as to whether you'll rent some part of it out to generate income, as to whether you'll add store rooms for rental, location of the building (some people build and yet have to rent because their building isn't at where they work). But if you wait until you are almost retired before getting that loan (or even waiting on your pension pay) to begin constructing your personal house, that leaves a big question mark.

Unnecessary Expenditure

Just as mentioned earlier, your salary should be able to cater for your basic needs. In fact, you should be able to save some of it. In order to achieve this, compare your monthly income to your monthly expenditure. If the latter is higher than the former, you really need to cut down your spending. An expenditure is said to be unnecessary when you can survive without the item(s) even if you decide not to purchase them. Therefore, every luxury may be classified as unnecessary expenditure. Sometimes, even basic needs may become unnecessary expenditure when you over spend on them. Lets consider a few examples.

  • Private vehicle; before getting a vehicle, you should ask yourself a few questions. Examples, 1. Do I really need a vehicle? 2. What kind of vehicle would be appropriate, is it a Car, Motor bike or Bicycle? 3. Considering my salary, will I be comfortable even if I purchase my desired private vehicle? You may have seen people who still rent but own fancy cars. Whereas some of them genuinely need a car due to commute and distance issues, others have bought them because their friends have been able to afford cars and so they just want to fit in even if they don't really need one. Note that since you are laying your bed, you'll have to lie on it. If it's uncomfortable, you'll feel it alone (with your family probably) so set your priorities straight....
  • Rent; Shelter is a basic need so there is nothing wrong with spending on the right size of accommodation. The problem is when you decide to live in a neighborhood you probably shouldn't. Example, renting an apartment in a neighborhood designated for rich people. Or spending enormous amounts of money fixing a building that isn't yours. The funny part is, some land lords wouldn't even agree to extend your rent period because you spent the money on their house. If you really want a nice place, get a cheap plot of land at a new site, build a very nice single or two bedroom self contain (after all, you won't rent anything bigger than this) and make it as beautiful as you like because in the end, it's you property forever. Plus, you can extend the building later on when the site is no longer a new site.
  • Fashion; I think I should let you know that actually, nobody really cares about what you wear. We are all busy with our own problems. We are making plans for our future so if you think wearing those expensive jewelry, watches, shoes and clothes leave a nice impression, it may seem so but those same people who hype you for wearing them, are the same people who think you are boastful or haughty or even weird. There are times where some nurses & midwives try to proof their wealth by getting the most expensive phones in their facility without realizing you are just helping someone else to become richer than they are right now. You should think of ways to better your own life with that money because we already know that no nurse or midwife is rich, you may be comfortable but that's far from being rich. Besides, you should be approachable, so live a simple life and make your life better in stealth.
  • Ceremonies; these include (but not limited to) Weddings, Funerals, Religious festivity, Birthdays.Weddings are necessary but as a nurse or midwife, check how much you spend on the ceremony. This is meant to join you and your lovely spouse in holy matrimony and not to impress you friends and relatives. Imagine being able to afford a new house or car some time after your marriage. Now imagine still paying off huge dept years after your marriage. Which of these scenarios do you prefer? It's true that some of your friends will surely give you presents but don't expect too much because most of the guests you'll have on your wedding day are just there to eat and drink, others will make sure they eat to replace what they donated, others are just there to gossip and no matter how big or expensive you make it, they'll still have something to say (maybe there was too much salt in the bottled water you served). That's just life so please spend what you can afford in order to make your marriage happy and successful. A similar concept should be applied to all other ceremonies, don't spend money you don't have on them.

Unionism & Insurance Schemes

 I'll put the two into I basket because they all deduct your hard earned money and offer some promises in return. Joining a union or having an insurance policy is Very Important. Should I make that red? Haha. Anyway, that was try at humor.
    Pertaining to insurance schemes, there are some really good ones out there you can benefit from. I won't mention any in this article but you can ask your colleagues about the schemes they've joined and how they were treated. Experience they say is the best teacher. At this point, I'd like to inform you not to join too many insurance packages because most of their schemes are just like having a fixed deposit account or even a normal savings account where you make regular deposits and less withdrawals. Besides, if you spend all your money on insurance, what will you eat? The interest that is usually given by some of the insurance companies is really scanty but their agents do polish up the company's policies with sugar coated words just to get you to signup. They make a commission from that so they may not really be thinking of your benefit but theirs (Sorry if I'm stepping on anyone's toes here). Here is what you can do;
  • Ask questions. Make sure you clearly understand how much deductions will be made, for how long and how much you will receive in all. Don't be enticed by the promises, be enticed by the facts. Look around for testimonies. I don't think your colleague who has no affiliation to a company will feed you with the wrong information about his/her experience.
  • Ask yourself how the policy you have chosen will change your life. Will this scheme help me further my education? Will it help me begin my building? Will it help me plan my ward's future? Does it offer protection to my own life and property? In case of my untimely departure, how will this benefit my immediate family? Remember the money you invest is your sweat so do not allow anyone to misuse it.
Lets talk about unions now. In the nursing and midwifery fraternities there used to be just one association so everyone belonged to that union automatically. There are two major unions now so the story is different. To know more about them, you can read the article GRNMA vs UPNMG - The Benefits and Policies published by tellitnurse.
    Every union as it's upsides and downsides, nothing is perfect but somethings are better than others so you have a decision to make. Once again, it's your life, it's your choice. So I won't recommend any union to you, that's why you have a brain. Remember though that your life as a Ghanaian Nurse is already tough so don't allow anyone to make decision that concerns your personal life. No one feeds you, you work tirelessly to feed yourself and your family so overpower all fear of unionism and make the choice that will benefit your future.

This will be all for today, I still have a lot to say to you dear nurses and midwives but "a word to the wise is enough".........

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