If you are reading this then you probably aspire to be a Nurse and you are searching for a school of nursing currently selling admission forms. Cool, kindly visit http://nursingworldnigeria.com/category/nursing-admission-forms-on-sale. But before you click the link i think it is only wise that you know what your options are before you purchase that school of Nursing form.
Did you know that there are three (3) routes to becoming a registered nurse and/or midwife in Nigeria.
1) The 3 year Basic General Nursing Programme
2) The 3 year Basic Midwifery Training Programme and
3) The 5 year Generic BNSc Nursing Programme
The cool thing is that these 3 routes share the same entry requirements of Credits in five subjects (English language, Maths, Biology, Physics and Chemistry in not more than 2 sittings). The only difference is the JAMB requirement for the BNSc programme, meaning you have a choice to either go pick up a form for either the basic nursing/ basic midwifery program or go the extra mile and sit for JAMB for the BNSc Program.
The 5 year Generic BNSc Nursing Programme
The 5 year BNSc program is designed to make you a polyvalent nurse practitioner at the end of which you graduate with the General Nursing program qualification (RN), the Midwifery program qualification (RM) and a Bachelors degree in Nursing (BNSc). Most institution now put an icing on the cake with an extra qualification in Public health Nursing. Isn't that cool?. Oh, i forgot to add that with this qualification, you can seamlessly move on to get your masters degree in Nursing and then a Ph.D in Nursing.
The 3 year Basic Midwifery Training Programme
An obvious major draw-back to the 3 year basic midwifery route is the fact that even after qualifying as a Registered Midwife, most recruiting organizations would always request for a double qualified practitioner, thus you still have to go back for another 18 months post basic general nursing course. The fact that most universities do NOT accept RM qualification for direct entry purposes is another huge challenge.
The 3 year Basic General Nursing Programme
For the basic general nursing programme, you'll need to cough up an average of N250,000 to N300, 000 for admission fees first of all. You should also know that the 3 year duration isn't inclusive of the 6 months that you would spend in PTS. This 3 years can within the blink of an eye extend to 4, 5 years in different guises such as demotion, pregnancy, flimsy suspensions by our almighty SON principals, indexing wahala, exceeded admission quota by schools, accreditation issues, failure in either of the NMCN Qualifying exams or Hospital finals etc. The list is endless.
Even after writing the NMCN exams, you still get to spend some extra months working in the wards for "free" in the training hospital pending when council releases your final qualifying result. I probably missed out how you cant immediately apply for Direct entry or go for a post basic course as there is no definite timeline as to when the council would release your license and/or notification. Academic sessions and job opportunities fly by while you wait endlessly on the council.
An important fact you should know is that the general nursing and basic midwifery routes are both hospital based programs with professional licensure and it was only in october of 2007 that an expert assessors committee accorded the qualifications obtained therein the same as HND attracting a grade level08 (step 1) for employment purposes only and NOT for academic purposes.
A major advantage though, of obtaining an RN qualification either via route 1,2 or 3 is that it qualifies you to practice as a nurse abroad. RN qualification is also a valid requirement for further studies in the Nigerian university system for direct entry (DE) into degree programs in philosophy, psychology, social works etc.
The major draw back here is that the profession at the moment is embroiled in a bitter fight for the soul of Nursing professionalism. Earning a degree in these previously and erroneously tagged "degrees allied to Nursing" according to our statutory regulatory body NMCN does not qualify one to progress to the directorate Nursing cadre. This stance by the NMCN reinforced the position of the National council on establishment (NCE) at its 37th Meeting in Akure where it stated that "Possession of a first degree in NURSING, not alllied courses is a sine qua non of running the nursing officers cadre.
LUTH management also reaffirmed this when it refused accepting Masters degrees in these "allied course" obtained by lecturers in its school of Midwifery insisting that professional progression must be dependent on acquisition of masters degree in core Nursing courses for holders of BNSc qualification, not masters in an allied course. Thus the route may provide an avenue for further degrees in other professional domains but these degrees outside of Nursing may count for nothing professionally.
On the long run, the abysmal remuneration of being a singled qualified (RN) nurse would force you to seek further post basic qualification which costs an average of another N250,000 to N300,000 in admission costs. I forgot to add that most post basic programs would insist that you should have practiced for at least 2 years before applying; a two year experience you would gain trolling from one private hospital to another where you would be overworked and underpaid.
Remember, this post basic qualification is a prerequisite if you would want to be employed on GL 08 step 4 instead of step 1 if you had only an RN. What this means is that you may never get to the peak as your professional growth terminates abruptly at grade level 14 and you can only go beyond this on lateral conversion to the officers cadre following acquisition of a Nursing degree
By this time, six years or more would have rolled by. You probably have gotten married with kids and wishing you went with route 3 (BNSc Nursing). Albeit late, you decide to start the 4 year university route. If financially buoyant, you probably enroll in a neighboring country like benin republic, ghana, niger for a BNSc program or you spend another two years battling to get a DE admission to a Nigerian university.
Adult education at this time puts your marriage under strain, your life is put at risk as you make multiple treacherous travels to the university, the emotional and psychological torture cannot be quantified not to talk of the financial burden of university admission. The entire rigmarole is just time wasting, psychologically demeaning and heart wrenching.
Globally, the system of education in nursing is changing. I sincerely hope that this article on NursingworldNigeria.com enlightens you to make an informed decision on which route suits you best. I wish you best of luck.
Jude Chiedu Fwacn
(Former CEO, Nursingworld Nigeria)
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