The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has revealed that the combat readiness of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), depends not only on the employment of various types of sophisticated aircraft, weapon systems and equipment, but also on the mental and physical fitness of its personnel. The CAS stated this at the Nigerian Air Force School of Medical Sciences and Aviation Medicine (NAFSMSAM) Kaduna during the opening ceremony of a 6-day capacity building workshop on Implementation of Nursing Process for Commanding Officers, Matrons and Educators in the NAF, with the theme: “Nursing Process and the Use of Standardized Nursing Language”.

Speaking on his behalf as the Guest of Honour, Air Commodore Sunday Aneke, Chief of Staff, Headquarters Air Training Command, stated that, upon assumption of office, the NAF was faced with the enormous responsibility of supporting the maintenance of peace in conflict environments both internally and externally. This, he said, required that NAF personnel were provided with qualitative healthcare services to ensure good physical and mental health. He noted that this necessitated the upgrade of the erstwhile NAF Directorate of Medical Services to a Branch status as well as the upgrade existing hospitals and construction of new Reference Hospitals, equipped with modern facilities, while also enhancing the capacity of NAF Medical personnel to engage in operational and support duties.

The CAS said the establishment of the NAFSMSAM, with its College of Nursing, was another major step taken to further build the capacity of NAF Medical personnel, especially the nurses. He added that the workshop would be a great opportunity for NAF Nursing personnel to update their knowledge on the utilization of Nursing Process as the foundation of their practice as well as meet with international standards. Air Marshal Abubakar equally disclosed that he has given approval for the activation of the College of Allied Medical Sciences of the NAFSMSAM to domesticate the training needs of various cadres of medical personnel for effective healthcare delivery in the NAF. While pledging his support towards continuous improvement of the overall healthcare needs of NAF personnel and their families, the CAS urged the nurses to ensure that the workshop achieves its objective in ensuring improved nursing care in all NAF medical facilities. Expressing his profound appreciation to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his support in ensuring that the Armed Forces is better equipped to fulfill its statutory responsibilities, the CAS reiterated the commitment of the NAF to ensuring the security of Nigeria and Nigerians.

In his welcome address, the Commandant of NAFSMSAM, Air Commodore Azubuike Chukwuka noted that since inception, the College of Nursing had continued to train and retrain NAF nurses in support of ongoing NAF operations in the Northeast, where nurses are the majority of medical teams both at the Dalori and Bama IDP Camp Hospitals while ensuring adequate nursing manpower in all NAF medical facilities. He stated that the capacity building workshop was organized with the aim of enhancing the competence of nurses in order to implement the use of nursing process and standardized nursing language in the care of patients in all NAF medical facilities as well as improve the image of nursing profession in the NAF.

In her keynote address, the Lead Resource Person, Professor Adenike Olaogun, from the North America Nursing Diagnosis Association International, traced the modern professional nursing to Florence Nightingale, stating that nursing was born in the church but nurtured in the military. Nursing process, she said, is a global tool and an organized framework for professional nursing practice. She added that the process guides in the provision of comprehensive and holistic client care with the aim of achieving client satisfaction. Professor Olaogun said nursing process encompasses all significant actions taken by nurses and should form the foundation of decision making. She therefore said that the workshop would go a long way in assisting the NAF nurses in their calling to save lives.

Among the guests that graced the occasion were the Chief of Medical Services, Headquarters NAF, Commandants and Commanders of NAF Medical Units, the Zonal Coordinator North West Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria as well as the Director of Nursing Services, Ministry of Health Kaduna State. Participants were drawn from all NAF Units.

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