The anchor for the Nursingworld Nigeria lecture yesterday the 10th of December 2017 was Nurse Jagojunior by 8pm on the Topic: Declaring A State Of Emergency In Nursing Education
Nursing is as old as human existence. Nevertheless, professional nursing practice can arguably be traced to the nursing legend Florence Nightingale popularly known as the Lady with the Lamp. She initiated the need for formal education for nurses and went ahead to establish what could be tagged the first school of nursing (SON). Her famous quote: "for we who nurse, our nursing is something which, unless we are making progress every year, every month, every week, we are going back. No system shall endure which does not march." This quote forms the foundation for today's topic Declaring a state of emergency in nursing education.
Fanfunwa (1974) defines education as what each generation gives its younger ones, which makes them to develop attitudes, abilities, skills, and other behaviors which are of positive value to the society in which they live. Note these 3 salient points in the above definition:
1. Education is what parents, teachers, schools and elders do.
2. Education is what goes on in the learner.
3. Education is the result or what the learner acquires (feedback).
The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has adopted education as an instrument for national development. This national philosophy of education is based on integration of individuals into sound and effective citizens of the nation at all levels. Nursing education is the branch of nursing study that is responsible for producing qualified and needed human resources that would provide services in schools and health institutions. The overall idea behind nursing education is to make the nursing profession a centre of academic excellence in the health sectors providing timely nursing services as well as upholding good and top nursing ethics and practice; to encourage distinction in medical and society based nursing practice and research, producing graduates who are competent at both fundamental and post fundamental levels, graduates who are rationally sound, ethically acceptable and resourcefully flawless.
But how far have we in Nigeria moved nursing education towards achieving the above stated overall idea? According to Longmans dictionary of contemporary English,ˌstate of eˈmergency noun (plural states of emergency) [countable] when a government gives itself special powers in order to try to control an unusually difficult or dangerous situation, especially when this involves limiting people’s freedom. Nursing education today integrates a broader awareness of other disciplines, often involving interprofessional education, leadership training, entrepreneurship, information and communication technology (ICT), and the utilization of research in making clinical and managerial decisions. Does nursing education in Nigeria recognize this fact?
When we keep training professionals at different levels (SON/SOM/CON/COM/DON/PB/PG), and making use of different curricula in training professionals at different levels.
How then do we intend to solve the problem of multiple entry levels into nursing profession?
In addition to training professionals at different levels, we have nurses who have 2nd and 3rd degrees iN disassociated fields such as psychology, public health, sociology and others. These nurses are agitating to be placed as lecturer I or be called nurse consultants simply because they have RN or BNSc. Furthermore, We often celebrate such nurses and honor them with positions that makes them become gatekeepers in our noble profession. We have over 15 post basic specialties in nursing but have barely 6 post graduate areas in nursing. Be the judge here, isn't this aberration worth declaring a state of emergency in nursing education in Nigeria? From 1990 to 2012, we had only 21 accredited BNSc program in Nigeria. From 2012-2016, the number only grew from 21 to 22 (that is only one BNSc program was added) source: Nursing world Nigeria website.
Is this the kind of growth we want in a profession in dire need of upgrading her educational standard in other to regain her lost glory in our great nation?
If our leaders and government won't declare a state of emergency in nursing education, then it becomes our collective responsibility to do so. Let us declare this at individual, small groups and large groups levels. Tell yourself that you have to be a better nurse, come together and grow personally/professionally on a daily basis. Let us go back to school since the general message now is about the NMCN not being able to move nursing education to the university because we have abysmal shortage of human resources in the profession.
Let us leave the stage for now and go underground, have a target of next 10yrs to transform the profession once and for all. If you have only RN/RM or both, please enrol and get your degree. If you already have your BNSc, note that much more lies ahead of you to achieve, so enrol for your PG study. Let's not get tired now cos nothing good comes easy. Let us keep the vision of our legend The Lady With the Lamp alive in us.
Ben Carson has this to tell us, if you want to destroy the civilization of a nation (a profession), there are 3ways:
1. Destroy the family structure (that is destroy the unity).
2. Destroy the education
3. Lower their role models and references.
Now, applying this quote to our profession:
- Destroy the Unity:
Does it ring a bell? I'm sure it does. We have a never ending crisis/chaos/conflicts in the profession amongst the following groups:
*NANNM vs NMCN
*Nursing Tutors vs Student nurses
*NANNM vs GNAN
*RNs vs RMs
*RNs/RMs vs BNSc
To mention but just a few. How do we expect our profession to survive in the presence of so much conflicts, suspicion, crises? Ben Carson is right here about us destroying our profession (nation).
- Destroy her education:
Do we have to elaborate on this? Is the picture still not clear to every nurse? We operate a nursing education system that sees nothing wrong in training professionals at different levels. Let's assume they do see something wrong, how about the political will to face the problem squarely and solve it once and for all not minding whose ox is gored. When can we boast of professionals who are gatekeepers to nursing profession having the guts to restructure our noble profession from her root (nursing education)?
When you operate different methods of education, you confuse the public, as well as other health professionals, on where and how to place those trained. This is exactly what is happening to our noble profession in our country.
Imagine living in a Nigeria where NMCN takes her Mission and Vision statements seriously (please visit NMCN site and read these statements). Your guess is as good as mine on this.
- Lower their role models and references:
Aptly put and direct to what we have in our noble profession. How many junior nurses see their senior colleagues as role models? We seldom joke with any job opening as "a 35k monthly salary job", how many Nigerian kids would want to venture into nursing knowing that this is the pay an average graduate who is lucky enough to secure a job gets every month?
How about our tutors, are you serving as mentors to the student nurses placed under your care? We need to purge ourselves at different levels of rendering nursing services that we are constantly being watched (consciously or unconsciously) as possible role models to anyone who cares to notice. We need to earn the high role model mark as well place our noble profession in a positive referencing level.
Declaring a State of emergency in Nursing Education, the following are possible objectives from such declaration:
*To redirect more funds to supporting nurses who embark on Post Graduate studies in Nursing.
*To streamline the nursing education in such a way that nursing education is placed under only one method of training (ie making the BNSc Program as the minimum standard).
*To have all SONs/CONs upgraded to BNSc program as fast as possible.
*To ensure only Nurse Educators teach and mentor student nurses.
*To achieve just one distinctive entry point into the nursing profession
*To have all the Post Basic Schools upgraded to Post Graduate Schools in Nursing
Nothing would please me more than NMCN, NANNM and other stakeholders declaring a state of emergency in nursing education as it is through education that civilization is preserved, standards elevated and sophistication achieved. Let's go back to our Root which is education just like we understand about treatment of illnesses and diseases. Let's purge the act of window dressing/symptomatic management and for once develop the political will to address the Foundation on which nursing profession is built. This foundation is obviously Nursing education.
I leave you with this, "the next big thing you shall see is the evidence of aggregate of many small things". Act now before it becomes too late.
God Bless the Nursing Profession and may God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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