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NUC Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards for Nursing Undergraduate Program
Date Posted: 15/Jul/2015
Decree (Act) No. 16 of 1985 as contained in the National Universities Commission amended Decree (Act) No. 48 of 1988 empowers the Commission to lay down minimum standards for all programmes taught in Nigerian universities. Consequently, the Commission in collaboration with the universities and their staff developed minimum academic standards for all the programmes taught in Nigerian universities in 1989. 
The Federal Government subsequently approved the documents in 1989.
After more than a decade of using the Minimum Academic Standard (MAS) documents as a major instrument of accreditation, the Commission in 2001 initiated a process to revise the documents. The curriculum review was necessitated by the fact that the frontier of knowledge in all academic disciplines had been advancing with new information generated as a result of research. The impact of Information and Communication Technologies on teaching and learning and the competitiveness engendered by globalization were also compelling reason for the curriculum review.
Other compelling reasons included the need to update the standard and relevance of university education in the country as well as to integrate entrepreneurial studies and peace and conflict studies as essential new platforms that will guarantee all graduates from Nigerian universities the knowledge of appropriate skills, competences and dispositions that will make them globally competitive and capable of contributing meaningfully to Nigeria’s socio-economic development.
Congnisant that the content-based MAS documents were rather prescriptive, a decision was taken to develop outcome-based benchmark statements for all the programmes in line with contemporary global practice. To actualize this, the Commission organized a stakeholders’ statements were developed for each programme in all the disciplines taught in Nigerian universities. Subsequent to this exercise, it was discovered that the benchmarch-style statements were too sketchy to meaningfully guide the development of curricula and were also inadequate for the purpose of accreditation.
Given this scenario, the Commission therefore considered the merger of the Benchmark Style Statements and the revised Minimum Academic standards into new documents to be called Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) as an amalgam that crisply enunciates the learning outcomes and competences expected of graduates of each academic programme without being overly prescriptive while at the same time, providing the requisite flexibility and innovativeness consistent with a milieu of increased institutional autonomy.
Following this decision, the Commission initiated the process to produce the documents.
The first, in the series, was the conduct of Needs Assessment Survey of Labour Market
3 for Nigerian graduates. This was carried out for all the disciplines taught in Nigerian universities. The exercise involved major stakeholders particularly employers of Nigerian graduates. The objectives of the need assessment survey included identification of expected knowledge, attitudes and skills for graduates and their ability to fit into the requirements of the new national and global economy. Secondly, a workshop was held at which academic experts across Nigerian universities including vice-chancellors participated with the objective of effecting the merger. At the end of the workshop, draft BMAS documents were produced for the thirteen disciplines and the General Studies
programme taught in Nigerian Universities. The documents were later sent to the Universities offering relevant disciplines for comments and input. Following the return of the inputs and comments from the universities to the Commission, a one-day workshop was held at which invited academic experts studied and incorporated the comments and inputs into the draft document.
To ensure that the documents were free from technical errors, the documents were sent to another set of academic experts for editing who also attended a one-day workshop to finally harmonize the BMAS documents.
Following the aforementioned processes, BMAS documents were produced for the underlisted academic disciplines:
i) Administration; Management and Management Technology;
ii) Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Home Economics;
iii) Arts;
iv) Basic Medical and Health Science
v) Education;
vi) Engineering and Technology;
vii) Environmental Sciences;
viii) Law;
ix) Pharmaceutical Sciences
x) Medicine and Dentistry;
xi) Science;
xii) Social Sciences;
xiii) Veterinary Medicine.
The process has been a rather long and tortuous one but it is gratifying to note that the BMAS documents will for long be an enduring academic covenant between the universities and the students that will be enrolled to study in their different programmes. On behalf of the National Universities Commission, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all Nigerian universities and their staff for their cooperation and immense contribution towards the development of the BMAS documents.
Philosophy, Aims and Objectives of the degree programme
* Philosophy
The philosophy of the nursing degree programmes takes cognizance of the philosophy of health services and nursing education for Nigeria.
The Nursing profession believes that:
(i) Man is a bio-psycho-social being and his needs are the focus of all nursing activities. Man is a member of a family and families make up communities.
(ii) The health care system exists to meet the needs of the consumers of health care by providing primary, secondary and tertiary health care to ensure that individuals, families, groups and communities are assisted to maintain a high level of wellness.
The profession believes that Primary Health care is the key to the attainment of health for all. The belief is based on:
(i) The human environment is a major factor in man’s health status. It is therefore necessary to conceptualise the individual and the environment as open systems engaged in continuous dynamic interaction.
(ii) University education is the key to the growth of the profession. Optimal Professional nursing education can be achieved in an institution of higher learning that provides a foundation for general education in the various sciences and arts.
(iii) Nursing is a science that is based on the knowledge of behaviour that enable changes in the client system to be monitored by utilizing the scientific method of inquiry whilst providing nursing intervention to individuals, families, groups and communities at the primary, secondary and tertiary level of health care.
(iv) Professional nursing education is built upon a theoretical base that seeks to develop continuous self-directed practitioners who will advance and test knowledge on which practice is based. Current health care demands require an innovative approach in professional preparation, and a curriculum that is responsive to the changing health needs of the society.
Aims and Objectives
i) The programme offer liberal or general and professional education for nurses who will be able to utilize psycho-social and physical factors in health promotion, health maintenance and of health restoration.
i) The programme prepares the graduate nurse to think effectively, to communicate thought and to discriminate among values.
ii) The programme prepares Polyvalent Nurse Practitioner who are capable of performing nursing skills in a variety of settings, therapeutically assisting individuals, family and Community with diverse back grounds and health problems to attain optimal health.
iii) The programme prepare nurse-practitioners who are capable of relating the role of health services to the broader social system and who will be engaged in life-long and self directed learning.
2.4.2 Admission and Graduation Requirements
Candidates seeking admission into B.N.Sc. programme should possess the minimum entry qualifications as contained under general issues on Basic Medical Sciences.
Direct Entry
Candidates possessing Registered Nursing Certificate (RN) and the required five subjects at ‘O’ level may be admitted by direct entry.
Duration of Programme
The duration of the B.N.Sc. Degree Course is 5 years for Joint Matriculation Examination Entry candidates and 4 years for Direct Entry Candidates. As a
professional degree, the BNSc shall not be classified. However, it shall be awarded as follows:
Cumulative Grade Score Average
Pass (with distinction) - 70 and above %
Pass (with credit) - 60 – 69%
Pass - 50 – 59%
2.4.3 Learning Outcome
By the end of the academic programme, the graduate of the B.N.Sc. programme should demonstrate:
a) Regime of Subject Knowledge
i) The scientific principles basic to the nursing care of individuals of all ages in a variety of physical and social settings;
ii) The nursing process;
iii) The communication process and group dynamics;
iv) The process of scientific inquiry: and
v) The functions of members of the health team and their interrelatedness and interdependency.
b) Competencies and Skills
vi) Identifying health needs, planning and giving comprehensive nursing care to individuals of all ages a variety of settings;
vii) Applying Basic Scientific and Nursing Theories, Principles and concepts in the practice of Nursing and Midwifery;
viii) Selecting appropriate nursing intervention and performing technical skills with maximal dexterity.
ix) Effective communication by organizing though and expressing it in the manner in which it could be easily comprehended;
x) Planning and effecting health promotion activities;
xi) Working co-operatively as a member of the health team in primary health care by:
1) Sharing information
2) Accepting Responsibility and limitation willingly
3) Participating in group activities
vii) Initiating and developing entrepreneurship in health services for
the underserved and unserved areas.
c) Behavioural Attitudes
i) Recognises the essential worth of the individual through her interpersonal responses.
ii) Appreciates varieties in human behaviour which may influence the care of the individual.
iii) Shows commitment to the role of nurse and to the nursing profession
iv) Shows sense of responsibility for self-direction and personal growth.
2.4.4 Attainment Levels
Students in the Nursing Degree programme must attain sufficient level of cognitive knowledge, practical skills and attitudinal orientation to be able to pass
the degree and the professional examination. The relevance of the Nursing Curriculum shall be maintained by each University
(i) feed backs from graduates of the programmes and their employers and the regulatory bodies;
(ii) review of the curriculum every 5 years;
(iii) course evaluation by students and teachers;
(iv) incorporation of research findings and innovations in curriculum design, implementation and evaluation.
a) The evaluation system adopted by NUC and N&MCN for accreditation should be maintained.
b) Methods for course evaluation should be as follows:
i) Course Unit System
ii) Continuous Assessment
iii) Observational Techniques
iv) Anecdotal an Critical Records
v) Check-list and Rating scales in Clinical Areas
vi) Individual and Group Presentations
vii) Project Quizzes and Tests.
Summative Evaluation – There shall be Final Examination in all courses. Continuous Assessment should from 30% of the overall final grade.
Examination Regulations
Besides individual university examination regulation, the following regulations shall apply to the BNSc programme:
(1) Before a student graduates, she/he should have taken and passed all the courses and fulfilled all other requirements for graduation by the university.
(2) For all Nursing courses, the pass mark shall be 50%.
(3) For all other courses, the pass mark shall be according to the regulations governing the courses.
(4) Students should pass all courses that are pre-requisite to other courses before moving to the next level in the programme. A student who fails one or two courses in a semester should be allowed to take make-up examinations in that semester before moving to the next level.
A student who fails more than two clinical courses shall repeat the year.
2.4.5 Resource Requirements Teaching and Learning
a) Academic and Non-Academic Staff
Lecturers in B.NSc. course will be drawn from the various disciplines in the B.N.Sc. curriculum. Where the relevant courses already exist in the particular University, the B.N.Sc students will receive lectures with their counterparts in that disciplines. Lecturers in the Department/Faculty of Nursing must posses academic qualification in a nursing specialty area and satisfy the minimum requirement for teaching in the specific University of choice.
The academic staff/student ratio should be 1:10 in each subject areas.
This should compose of clinical Instructors, Laboratory Technicians and administrative staff. A clinical supervisor should be a registered Nurse/Midwife with a minimum of two years clinical experience. Possession of the fellowship of the West African College of Nursing should be an added advantage. There shall be one clinical Instructor per Nursing sub-specialty. Administrative staff shall be 50% of Academic staff.
b) Academic and Non-Academic Spaces
i) The Nursing Degree programme should be located in a Department/Faculty of Nursing in the University.
Student Accommodation:
i) All universities should provide residential accommodation for nursing students.
ii) Clinical students must be within or near the Teaching Hospital.
Lecture Space
Lecture rooms should be able to accommodate a minimum of 50 students.
Nursing Department should have a seminar room for tutorials (for 15 students). There should be a laboratory space for nursing and midwifery demonstration and practice.
c) Academic and Administrative Equipment
There should be Head of Department office adequately furnished with Secretariat office attached, each department shall have an Administrative office. Each lecturer should have an office space. The clinical Instructors should have office space in the University and the Hospital. Each room should be adequately furnish and provided with PC and Audio Visual materials. Equipment for demonstrating basic nursing procedure should be available in the nursing laboratory. In addition, audiovisual aids and computer/information technology facilities should be available in the Department of Nursing. Equipment and other facilities in the clinical areas should conform with the Nursing and Midwifery Council standard.
d) Library and Information Resources
Each Department should have a library space with up to date Nursing journals and Nursing books in the core areas of Nursing (e.g. MedicalSurgical,
Maternal and Child Health, Mental Health and Nursing Research). There should be a learning resource room with phantoms and audio visual aids.

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