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Nursing In Nigeria: A Special Treasure On Verge Of Extinction By Nwaorgu Anayochi Part 2
Date Posted: 27/Feb/2018
Some of these problems facing our profession are caused and severed by we Nurses, while some are caused many years of neglects Nursing as a profession suffered over the years. 
In 2017, I and few other like minds in Rivers State came together to examine the problems our Nurses are facing in our State, especially the junior Nurses. These problems were eventually identified, and solutions were brought forward to tackle them. The first solution that was identified was to bring all the junior Nurses together under one Umbrella to enable them have one voice when these issues are being addressed. 
This called for forming a body, not necessarily an association, fortunately someone suggested we pitch our tent on the already existing Forum in  Rivers State called 'Clinical Nurses Forum'. This forum was formed by some great minds, with the same intention as ours. We started by engaging the excos of this forum. 
We pleaded with them to come join us in addressing these issues our Nurses are facing. Especially the over 93 Nurses who were absorbed and abandoned by the State government. They accepted our request. And a memo for an emergency meeting was released. Over 200 junior Nurses in Rivers State attended that meeting. Deliberations were made. And at the end of the meeting, two committees were set up. One was the committee that will raise a communique and the other was the committee that will engage all the stake holders in Nursing in Rivers State. 
This include the  state NANNM chairman, DNS Ministry of Health, DNS Hospitals Management Board, DNS primary health care Board, Principal school of Nursing, Nursing Heads in all the general Hospitals and Braithwaite Memorial specialist Hospital (BMSH).
The purpose of that engagement was to put them on the know and to also reassure NANNM that we didn't  come to hijack their responsibilities,rather we came to give them an assisting hands. In less than one month, the two committee rounded up with their specific assignments. And another meeting was scheduled. In that meeting, two way forward was agreed upon  1. A protest and  2. Industrial action. 
However, we did not ignore our limitations. We know in civil service, it's not in the jurisdiction of a body like clinical Nurses forum to call for a strike action. Therefore, we decided to return back to NANNM to discuss these resolutions and  the roles we want them to play in achieving our goals. At the end of our second meeting we had with our parent body (NANNM), NANNM ask us to write to them stating these numerous problems we identified, and that an ultimatum should also be given in that letter. That once we write, they will in turn write to appropriate authorities to act accordingly and also to DSS and other security agencies to give us a clearance for our protest. 
Immediately we came back, wrote to NANNM. Instead of NANNM sticking to the agreement we had with them, they took our letter to DSS in form of report that we want to have a protest. 
We were  invited by the DSS, we went. They told us that, they have carried out some investigations into the issues we raised in our letter and that they found out that, there's no official complaints that have been Lodged to the appropriate persons that's suppose to Attend to  the issues we raised. We were then advised by the DSS to forward the same letter we wrote to NANNM to the appropriate persons such as the permanent secretary Ministry of Health, head of service and chairman state civil service commission, that they will help us in following up the letter. Which we did without wasting time.  
That was when everything fell apart. Calls started coming to the signatories of that letters and NANNM. 
To cut through long story short, NANNM denied us and clinical Nurses Forum leaders denied having anything to do with us. We were even accused of signing the letters without the consent of the Chairman of the clinical Nurses Forum. The Chairman of the forum went as far as refuting our letter. 
At a point, we were chased with DSS and Men of the Nigeria police. And in one occasion, our meeting venue was barricaded by Men of SARS. We decided to pull out from the clinical Nurses Forum. 
Till today, the Nurses who were absorbed and abandoned by the state government are  still suffering the non payment of their salaries. 
The Director of Nursing services, Rivers State ministry of health and the principal school of Nursing Port Harcourt, who were both  suspended in one day on the basis of student Nurses protest below which we demanded for their reinstatement in our letter, were never recalled back into the service and no panel of inquiry was even set up to give them a fair hearing till today. 
And all the  problems we identified and we demanded for government's attention are still here with us and some  are has even become more complex now. 
The reason for that long narrative on Part 2 of this article  was to make us to understand that, most of the problems Nurses and Nursing profession is facing are caused by Nurses, not by any one else. 
Who exposed us to DSS? 
Who called SARS to arrest us? 
Who denied the knowledge of our existence? 
Who called us miscreants who are trying to destabilize the peace in the State health sector? 
Who refuted our letter? 
Therefore, if we must solve the problems facing our profession, we must start from solving the  ones caused by our negligence, arrogance, selfishness, greed and ignorance. 
The truth is, most of the problems facing Nursing can only be solved by NANNM and Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria with the cooperation of Nigerian Nurses. 
That brings is to the identified solutions. 
1. The registrar of the Nursing and midwifery Council of Nigeria in collaboration with the National President of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), should declare a state of emergency in Nursing practice and Nursing education. 
2. A National Nurses submit that will be attended by every head of Hospitals and Nursing institutions, Members of the State Executive Council (SEC) of NANNM, State Administrative Council (SAC), and every DNS and ADNS across Nigeria should be organized Without  of  by National association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) in collaboration with Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria without hesitation. And the center of discussion should focus on Complete reformation of Nursing education and practice in Nigeria in line with Universal acceptable standards and practices. 
3. A compulsory state Nurses submit that will be attended by every retired and active Nurse in their various state of origin or practice should be organized by  NANNM across the 36states, FCT inclusive. And the state Representatives in the National Nurses submit will serve as the major stake holders in that submit. And issues of discussion should as well focus on complete reformation of Nursing education and practice across Nigeria. This submit in combination with MCPDP will serve as the requirement for license renewal. 
5. NANNM federal to state level should  disassociate her self from Joint Health Sectors Union (JOHESU)  without any further delay. 
5. The plan of introduction of HND into Nursing profession should be eschewed without hesitation. 
6.  Schools of Nursing should be affiliated to the state and federal Universities close to them. And the duration of studies should be increased to 5years and the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria Licensing Qualifying exams should be written in the 3rd year and the University degree awarding exam should be written at the 5th year. 
7. School of Nursing curriculum should be reviewed and updated without further delays. 
9. Student Union Governments should be reinstated in all schools of Nursing across the country. And the National association of Nigeria Nursing Students should be brought back to live across Nigeria. 
10. Every Nursing specialty programs should be run only as post graduate course. I. E at Masters level. 
11. Nursing research institutions should be built across 36states of the federation, FCT inclusive. 
12. Nurses should join active politics in their L.G.As and States of origin. And Nurses should be sponsored to aspire to political positions. 
13. A bill prohibiting training of Auxiliary Nurses and employment of Auxiliary Nurses should be sponsored by NANNM at the National Assembly. 
Implementation of the aforementioned solutions, will reduce eliminate and reduce most of the problems facing Nursing profession. Else, we will all watch as Nursing goes into  a journey of no return few years from now. 
Thank you. 
About The Author:
Nwaorgu Anayochi is a Registered Nurse from Rivers State, Nigeria, who loves writing. You can follow him up on Facebook to enjoy more of his explosive articles. 
NOTE: Permission was given by the author to post this write up on our website
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