For better working conditions RNMU bargains, lobbies and advocates for improvement of working conditions for nursing and midwifery professions, as well as assisting members suffering from risks associated with nursing and midwifery professions.
RNMU provides legal assistance for members suffering from risks associated with their work as it is a case of Jovia, 29, a nurse who became visually impaired as a result of injecting herself with a HIV infected syringe, when she was only 21.
She has lost her job as a result since, the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) found no ground to give her indemnity as no direct connection, on legal basis, could be established between her losing vision and the work. Now she lives from assistance by the Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Union (RNMU), pending her case, which decided to support her with a monthly allowance of 100,000 francs a month, and assisting her in legal fees of her case now in local court.
RNMU has successfully represented 19 of its members who were brought to court for work related incidents.
The findings revealed a gap in nurses and midwives staffing at all levels of the health facilities compared to the national standards for health facilities staffing. The shortage in nursing and human resources requires nurses and midwives to work overtime to meet the patients’ needs as it has been reported by 83.8 % respondents who work more than 45 hours per week. Despite working overtimes, the national standard of nurse: bed ratio is not met in some units of clinical services, leading to the increase in workload for nurses and midwives.
The study revealed also that the proportion of nurses and midwives holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees are very limited in clinical setting due to the current package of National health facilities that limits them in number and this has been reported as having negative impact on strategic planning for nurses and midwives’ human resources due to poor planning and less involvement of nurses and midwives in policy making.
The study findings also show that 73.2% of nurses and midwives working in clinical services are not satisfied with their job; 93.2% of nurses and midwives are not satisfied with their salary and 53 % of nurses and midwives are not satisfied with the job stability despite the registration process that has provided practice license to 74.4% of nurses and midwives. Participants in the study have identified Rwanda Nurses and Midwives’ Union of which 68.3 % are already members, as the most suitable independent and professional body to advocate for their interests and for the improvement of their working conditions.
Notably, RNMU was able to send to the Office of the Prime Minister a petition concerning horizontal promotion of the nurses and midwives in Rwanda and the issue in being dealt by the competitive authority and there is a high hope of positive results.