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Friday, 16 May 2014

Connaught Fashpack

As a part time communications consultant working with the King's Sierra Leone Partnership I have very little to offer in the way of innovative management ideas, clinical skills and curriculum advice. However as someone who has a preoccupation with Sierra Leonean fashion (I have turned it into a serious hobby through my blog Freetown Fashpack I do feel qualified to comment on the uniforms of Connaught Hospital.

The Hospital is in many ways like stepping back in time.The uniforms remind me of the old photos my mother occasionally pulls out from her early nursing days in the 1960s. At Connaught, uniforms are worn with a deep pride and carefully reflect the hierachy within the hospital. According to Matron Kamara "There is a lot of dignity in our uniforms, they help with staff morale and self esteem. When I put on my uniform I look cute, and I feel very proud". 

I  recently developed a chart which displays the many uniforms worn by Connaught staff so that staff can be identified by visitors.  In doing this I learned about the rank and file of Sierra Leone's hospital workforce and was able to photograph several willing models who all looked perfectly groomed and were more than happy to pose for the camera.

Nursing aide Susan Sandy looks smart in her distinct green uniform.

Fatmata is a first year state enrolled community health nursing student (SCHN). Each year she will add an extra blue stripe to her nursing hat but will remain in the blue and white until she becomes a trained nurse. The 2.5 year SCHN course at COMAHS requires three O Levels to take the entry exam. 

Benson is also a SCHN student studying at COMAHS. The three blue stripes on his white shirt show that he is a third year nursing pupil.

State registered nursing students (which requires a higher entry qualification than the community nursing students) wear this pink uniform every day of class. Their year of study is identified by the stripes on their nursing hat. You can see Mariatu has three stripes on her hat showing that she is a third year student.

Ignatius models the crisp white male version of the state registered nursing student uniform. The single stripe across his pocket shows that he is a first year student.

Mac Joe graduated from the blue and whites many years ago ('don't ask it was a long time ago) and is now a state enrolled community health nurse. Trained male nurses always wear these light brown pants teamed with a white shirt.

As a fully trained state enrolled community health nurse Adiatu has also broken free of the blue and white and now wears a grey uniform with lace edged and white hat to work each day.

Agatha is a fully qualified state registered nurse and required five 0 Levels to be accepted into the three year nursing course at COMAHS . State registered nurses wear all white uniforms with a red belt. There are no hard rules about the type of belt, I've noticed the elasticized variety with a jeweled clasp is quite popular. Agatha picked hers up from PZ market in town, Freetown's shopping epicenter.

Dura Kamara shows us the male version of the staff nurse uniform - crisp, white and simple. As is the custom in Sierra Leone, he likes to keep his shoes spotlessly clean, "I try and clean them every day after work".

Sister Fatmata Kargbo, head of the pediatrics ward holds a Bachelor of Science degree and is known as a BSc ward sister. These senior nurses who deputize the matron wear an off-white uniform with blue detail. They don't have to wear a cap.

The boss lady Matron Kamara is identified by her white hat and blue belt. The four stripes on her epaulette indicate that she is the most senior nurse in the hospital.

1 comment:

  1. There is a lot of dignity in our uniforms, they help with staff morale and self esteem.
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