ORDEALS OF NURSING PROFESSION IN NIGERIA

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THE PROFESSION OF NURSING IN NIGERIA

Submitted: May 06, 2008

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Submitted: May 06, 2008

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THE ORDEAL OF NURSING PROFESSION IN NIGERIA

BY: BALOGUN SHERIFAT OLANREWAJU

Nigeria, a foremost country of the black race is disappointingly below the standard in the nursing profession. Nursing, one of the earliest professions known to mankind, is, ironically, not being given the desired attention by those who should. Up till now, majority of nursing institutions all over the country operate as Schools of Nursing, save in a very few universities where nursing is being run as a degree course.

The certificate issued at the completion of the usual three years of training from schools of nursing is yet not clearly defined as an academic qualification in education circles. The grading is neither under the National Board for Technical Education nor the National Universities Commission. These schools are neither affiliates of polytechnics, colleges of education nor universities, where the qualification so obtained could be used to pursue a higher education. That is why the nursing certificate cannot be said to be a prerequisite for admission into any other school, save probably another higher nursing school that is also not graded.

For effective nursing education, therefore, the various ministries of education in all the nation's states should take over the training of nurses from the health ministries. Schools of nursing should either be converted to colleges of nursing or, at best, be affiliated to reputable universities both at the state and federal levels, to ensure a more unified and standard minimum entry qualification as applicable in degree programmes.

It is my belief that doing this would further enhance professionalism in nursing and, by extension, better health care delivery services in the country. It will, no doubt, add more value and dignity to the nursing profession and enhance its practices.

Presently, the nursing profession is undergoing a lot of "bashing" as a result of the seeming lack of harmonisation in its entry requirements by the operators of the schools. In this era of globalisation and professional diversity, every profession is expected to be fully defined and be congruent with what obtains globally. Therefore, nursing, being one of the noblest professions, should not be an exception.

Every effort at repositioning nursing as a career seems not to be receiving the best attention from the appropriate authorities. This is not unconnected with the fact that the programme is poorly classified. As it were in the past, the entry requirement into nursing was abysmally poor, earning nursing a low image in the country of professions; unfortunately the stereotype still persists till today, even when the entry requirement is now at par with that of universities.

This is laughable and runs against the doctrine of equality and fairness. The spectacle of many ladies adoring themselves in the sacred Nightingale nursing uniforms in various hospitals is another contributory factor to the sometimes despicable way with which people view nursing practice. Yet, this is an issue that is begging for an urgent solution.

More often than not, the conduct of these gate crashers is mistaken for the general attitude of professional nurses' conduct, and is often used as a yardstick for measuring professionalism, thus reinforcing the stereotype idea people have about nurses generally. All these ills and misconceptions need radical intervention from the stakeholders and policymakers, if only to prevent unnecessary demoralisation of willing future nurses who might be pushed into other professional endeavours if nursing remains as its today.

I want to put it on record that quite a lot goes into the making or marring of any entities, professional entities inclusive. If the policymakers can put their act together and address this issue of image, occasioned by the primordial concept about nursing as a dumping ground for candidates that are unable to secure admission into higher institutions, and place it on a right pedestal, the troubling exodus of nurses to greener pastures will stop.


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