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Key Note Address At The Nursing Leaders Conference: Kaduna 2017
Date Posted: 07/Apr/2017
THEME OF THE CONFERENCE: CONSOLIDATING ON THE GAINS OF NURSING AND MIDWIFERY EDUCATION REFORMS IN NIGERIA
 
Introduction:
Consolidating any type of change or reforms requires logical thinking along the following steps.
. Meaning of key words as they apply to the issue
. Basis for the reform
. Aims of the reform
. Existing structure of subject matter
. The  reform agenda itself
. Steps to be taken to ensure the success of the reform
. Identifying the key players in the reform and their roles.
. Sensitization of relevant stakeholders
. Proposed plan of action with time frame
. Regular update meetings of key stakeholders to assess progress made and to re-group, re-plan and forge ahead.
 
MAIN ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED IN THIS PAPER:
How do we as Nurse Leaders make the position of success obtained through the reforms in Nursing and Midwifery Education stronger, attainable and sustainable.
 
BASIS OF NURSING AND MIDWIFERY EDUCATION REFORMS IN NIGERIA:
Nursing  and Midwifery Education reforms in Nigeria is based on both national and global health reforms, especially in developing countries in response to the changing needs in the function, structure and performance in Nursing education and practice in order to provide high quality care to populace.
 
The Act or Law establishing the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria mandates it among other duties to regulate the standards of Nursing and Midwifery education and practice in Nigeria and to review these standards from time to time to meet the changing needs of the society, the profession and the professionals. The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria will therefore be failing in its responsibility if it allows Nursing and Midwifery Education to remain static in a dynamic educational system that exists in Nigeria.
 
AIMS OF NURSING AND MIDWIFERY EDUCATION REFORMS IN NIGERIA
- To position Nursing and Midwifery Education into the main stream of the national education system.
- To improve the quality of the education and competencies of Nurse Practitioners for effective delivery of quality care to the populace.
 
EXISTING STRUCTURE OF GENERAL NURSING AND MIDWIFERY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
- General Nurses are educated in schools of nursing approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, in a three (3) year programme.
Entry Requirements: credit in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and English Language at not more than two sittings. 
Duration of Training: Three (3) years
Professional Qualification Obtained: Registered Nurse.
Academic Qualification Obtained: NIL
 
- Nurses are educated in departments of nursing accredited by both National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN).
Entry Requirements: Credit in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and English Language at not more than two sittings
Duration of Training: five (5) years
Professional Qualification Obtained: Registered Nurse, Registered Midwife, Registered Public Health Nurse
Academic Qualification Obtained: Bachelor of Nursing Science
 
THE REFORM AGENDA
- The National Universities Commission classifies nursing education in Nigeria in the same category with those of other Health Professions in which the programme runs for five years.
- The national policy on education classifies institutions similar to schools of nursing as Monotechnic that should be under joint regulation with the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
 
In view of the above, nursing and midwifery reform agenda is structured to conform with the educational guidelines of these two tertiary education regulators in Nigeria. 
After consultation with National Universities Commission on the procedure to be followed, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria was informed that affiliation of institutions with already approved universities for the purposes of awarding degrees is on hold and the only option left to schools of nursing interested in this approach to the reform is by integration/ total absorption of schools in the same state or within the same locality with the approved university.
 
Presently, two schools of nursing have indicated interest in this approach.
 
- The NMCN also had consultations with the NBTE towards the actualization of the status of monotechnics by the Schools of Nursing and the award of academic qualifications for the Nursing Programme. The outcome of deliberations and many years of curriculum review has now culminated into the desired outcome that we now want to consolidate. During the course of this conference, the NMCN will make the details known to all of us, it is sufficient at this stage to say that we have achieved victory at last.
- It is no longer tolerated in this dispensation that any Nigerian with the five specific credit level passes in WAEC or NECO will go through a structured, approved and regulated educational programme and graduate without a recognized academic qualification.
- It is our responsibility as Nurse Leaders at this conference to listen with open minds, with the best interest of the profession, its practitioners and the future of Nursing and Midwifery Education and practice in Nigeria in mind.
 
By the end of thisnursing world nigeria conference we must have addressed and resolved all issues and AREAS OF CONCERN among ourselves so that when we get back to our states, we will be able to present a united front and speak with one determined voice for the good of our profession
 
ENSURING THE SUCCESS OF THE REFORM AGENDA
This reform has far reaching implications that will revolutionize Nursing and Midwifery Education and Practice in Nigeria. To ensure the success of the reform, the following have to be given optimal attention.
• Staffing of teaching institutions and hospitals
• Infrastructural development of teaching institutions and hospitals
• Accreditation/certification by both NMCN and NBTE
• Continuing Professional Development of Staff of Teaching Institutions and Hospitals
• Adequate funding
• Sensitization of Stake holders and other members of the health team.
 
1. ROLE OF PROPRIETORS
Proprietors of all institutions that WILL STILL be interested in the education of Nurses and Midwives must ensure that ALL the Physical, human and material resources as will be stated clearly in the reform guidelines for the establishment and operating of these institutions,   ARE ADHERED STRICTLY TO, so that the expected outcomes are achieved.
 
2. ROLE OF INSTITUTIONS INVOLVED IN PRODUCING EDUCATORS
In order for the tutors to be able to implement the new curriculum properly, they will require in depth knowledge of research based principles and practice of Nursing and/or Midwifery or other Nursing specialties.
• They must be comfortable with and committed to modern participative teaching and learning.
• It is therefore imperative that the training curricula for all teaching specializations in Nursing be reviewed and updated urgently to ensure that educators can meet the expectations of the reform.
 
3. ROLE OF NURSES IN THE CLINICAL SETTINGS 
All Nurses and Midwives in the clinical settings must become actively engaged in research so as to obtain data that will allow the profession to build up evidence based best practices for our profession.  The era of being research assistant and data gatherers for other professionals is over.
 
4. SENSITIZATION OF STAKEHOLDERS IN NURSING EDUCATION AT NATIONAL, STATE, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND FACILITY LEVELS
This sensitization will provide needed information about the education reform, allay fears and misinterpretations and solicit for co-operation and support.  We cannot do it all on our own. Nurse Leaders must appeal to the Honourable Minister of Health State Commissioners for Health, Philanthropists, highly placed individuals at the national, state and local government areas, and all well-meaning Nigerians to invest in Nursing education by upgrading and maintaining the facilities in the training institutions.
5. SENSITIZATION OF OTHER MEMBERS OF THE HEALTH TEAM
This is aimed at;
• Allaying all misconceptions about the reform agenda. 
• Informing them that the reform is aimed at making Nurses more competent and more effective members of the health team.
• Appreciating each other’s roles and legal scope of practice
• Ensuring that Nurses and Midwives as bona fide members of the health team are given the opportunity to function adequately and without any form of harassment or intimidation within our scope of professional practice. 
 
6. CONSOLIDATION OF REFORMS:
In order to consolidate these reforms, the following will have to receive urgent attention.
• Upgrading of facilities in existing schools. Only Schools with adequate facilities will be accredited.  Proprietors of schools must urgently upgrade their facilities in line with minimum benchmark to meet up with status of a tertiary institution.
• Manpower development and capacity building Ministries, Parastals, Organizations and Voluntary Agencies in Nursing and Midwifery education must sponsor Nurses and Midwives to obtain degrees in Nursing both within and outside the country so that their institutions can meet the manpower needs of the reform.
• Student intake must comply with regulator’s directives.  Only the best qualified, highly motivated candidates with obvious passion for the profession are to be admitted.
• Directors of Nursing Services must liaise with the authorities of Universities in their states with existing College or Faculty of Health Sciences to establish Departments of Nursing.
• Directors of Nursing Services and State NANNM Officers must encourage employers of labour to encourage and sponsor Nurses in their employment who have potential for higher education so as to provide the required manpower for schools of Nursing and Midwifery and Departments of Nursing. 
• Directors of Nursing Services, State NANNM and Heads of Schools are to encourage Nurse Tutors with Diploma to upgrade themselves.
• Directors of Nursing Services, State NANNM and Heads of Departments of already existing Departments of Nursing in their States are to develop and run approved part time/sandwich programmes for the award of degrees in Nursing.
 
PROPOSED PLAN OF ACTION 
1. Sensitization at the Federal level:
Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, NANNM officials and representative of Nurse Leaders at the State and Local Government levels are to visit the Honourable Minister of Health and other officials of the Federal Ministry of Health to inform them about how the reform agenda will be implemented.  This must be done before the end of April, 2017.
 
2. After the Nurse Leaders Conference, Directors of Nursing Services of each State must call a meeting of all stakeholders in Nursing education in the state including NANNM, and form different sub-committees to visit and enlighten various state stakeholders.
• Determine the personalities to be visited 
• Address the procedure to be taken
 
This must be done by the end of April 2017 and comprehensive reports must be forwarded to the Council.
 
3. Send delegation to the State Honourable Commissioners for Health which must be led by the State Director of Nursing Services and must take place as soon as possible before the 15th of April, 2017.
 
4. States should send delegations to Vice Chancellors of all Universities in the States with Faculties of Medical Sciences without already existing Departments of Nursing to consider establishing a Department of Nursing.  Visit must be scheduled for the month of May, 2017. 
 
5. States should send delegates to the Heads of Faculties, Heads of Nursing Department with already existing Department of Nursing to strengthen its capacity and expand its scope to accommodate Post Graduate Programmes in Nursing and Distance Learning. Visit must be scheduled for May, 2017.
 
All delegates’ presentations must revolve around the need for:
1. Availability of continuing education opportunities for existing manpower.
2. Employment of required manpower to run the programme as specified by the regulatory bodies.
3. Financial commitment to the regulatory bodies.
4. Need for upgrade of facilities and equipment in Departments of Nursing, Schools and Clinical Areas.
5. Government and proprietors’ commitment to the success of the reforms.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, there is a reason why this reform agenda which has been in the forefront of the plans of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria for many years is now being implemented in your own tenure as Nurse Leaders.
 
The whole Nursing community in Nigeria and all over the world is watching attentively to see what your generation will do with what so many of us have worked tirelessly to achieve for the Nursing profession.  The ball is in your court, we will see how the game will be played.
 
At the end of her life, Florence Nightingale said, “May we hope that when we are dead and gone, Leaders will arise who have personally experienced hard practical work, the difficulties and joys of organizing Nursing reforms and who will lead far beyond anything that we have done”
 
Take her words to heart and prepare yourselves to contribute to the reforms that are taking place during your tenure as the leaders of Nursing in Nigeria. GOD’S SPEED
 
Thank you very much.
 
DELIVERED BY OLATOKUNBO ABIMBOLA OLANIPEKUN (MRS)
FORMER REGISTRAR, NURSING AND MIDWIFERY COUNCIL OF NIGERIA MARCH 2017
 

 

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