It is obvious that the GRNMA we knew has changed for the better, at least, that is what we thought. The GRNMA which is the main Professional Association for all categories of Nurses and Midwives in Ghana has been in existence for 60 years, thus GRNMA is not a new association. According to GRNMA the association was founded in March 1960 as a result of a merger of two professional nursing Associations the Qualified Nurses Association headed by Mr. Mettle-Nunoo and the State Registered Nurses Association led by Dr. Docial Kisseih with the mission to provide a central organization that would advance the interest of the nursing profession in Ghana and internationally.
Until recent years members never seem to bother about the activities of the association. Many nurses and midwives became agitated especially when deductions were increased (GRNMA INCREASES DEDUCTIONS: NURSES FUND BY 150%, BUILDING LEVY 100% AND GRNMA DUES 25%). Members felt that the association never considered their welfare but only interested in deductions. It also happens that even when souvenirs are shared every year, a lot of members never get some. Members are now enlightened and demanding accountability of the association they belong to since they are aware of the benefits other associations members are receiving. I do not wish to say that GRNMA has not done anything for its members (BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP) but for an association that is 60 years, this is below average.
I only have two major concerns with GRNMA: Poor Communication and the Defensive posture of some executives.
Poor communication has been the number one problem with the association. Some years ago, the immediate past President, Mr. Kweku Asante Krobea said on TV3 when some members threatened to break away “We believe in freedom of association so if they are deciding to break away, so let it be. We will move on with the discerning members of the association who believe in prudent management of funds and visionary leadership.” This statement I found personally insulting to nurses and midwives. If you maltreat your child and they threaten to leave home, you do not tell them they are not discerning (lacking good judgment). When a new president was elected, we had hope. At least there will be a change. And I must say, there has been some improvement in the association. But I am still disappointed in the communication flow in the association. Let us take the recent “Condition of Service” negotiation issue for instance. This was an opportunity to bring all nurses and midwives together. For the first time almost, everyone was on board. The association used every platform available including social media to encourage nurses to come on board. Most nurses and midwives especially the junior ranks were made to believe that this time, they will also benefit and not like previous years where after negotiations, the benefits always go to the higher ranks. As we are all aware, there was a strike in which almost all nurses joined. Some even lost some benefits they receive from their facility because of joining the strike, but they believed in a greater good. Some of us used our platforms on social media to make a “lot of noise” because we believed this is the time. Then, the negotiation came to an end and that is when the problem started again. For an association of this nature, I expected a proper trend of communication. GRNMA turned silent as members were left with speculation. It’s been weeks since the negotiations ended but most members still have no clue to the outcome of the negotiation. It is even sad that most district executives are left with no information rendering them “useless” in front of members. These executives were the people leading members to take part in the strike, some to the extent of sacking some nurses from work but look at them now. They cannot even stand in front of members because they have been left in the middle of the road. In some facilities, the very nurse managers who prevented the nurses and midwives from going on strike are the same who are going to benefit more.
I believed that even if the outcome of the negotiation did not go as planned, at least draw a timeline for members engagement that maybe this week, National Council will meet, on this date, district executives will meet members on the outcome of the Condition of Service. This would have at least shown that the association cares about its members. I was disappointed, GRNMA went to its old ways as though it is a cult and we the members are outsiders and information being withheld from us. What infuriates me is some executives who keep saying, we cannot put the outcome of the negotiation on social media. But when it was time for the strike, the information was on all social media platforms. Nobody is expecting you to put the negotiated documents on social media but at least, give a summary.
One other problem I find so disturbing is the defensive posture of some executives. One key principle of a great leader is taking responsibility for actions and outcomes. Let us take a look at the recent negotiation on the Conditions of Service. We went for negotiation and we didn’t get all we wanted, but as a leader or executive, you accept the responsibility that you couldn’t get what you wanted and that you will continue to strive for the best. But welcome to GRNMA, where some executives feel that what we got out of the negotiation was the best shoving it down the throat of members. These are times that emotions are high, this is the time you allow members to share their feelings and concerns, this is not the time to show your expert power.
I can boldly say, almost every member I meet is not satisfied with the outcome of the negotiation. And I am sure “GRNMA” itself is not even satisfied with the outcome of which most members still do not know.
A disappointed GRNMA member.