My dear Abdulrafiu Alani Adeniji,
I am writing this letter to you because of my concern for the Nursing and Midwifery profession in Nigeria. As far as I am concerned you are the number one Nurse in the whole federation; every other Nurses and Midwives are subjects within your constituency. Sir, undoubtedly you are the Governor General of Nursing in Nigeria and therefore have the entire wherewithal to dictate the form you want the profession to assume in Nigeria especially in the area of labour matters.
Opportunity they say comes but once. Dear Sir, you have the golden opportunity to make indelible positive achievements for the profession and have your name boldly written in the anal of history of the profession in Nigeria. Sir, many National presidents of NAMNN have come and gone but Nursing like the barrack has remained. The erstwhile Presidents before you had the same opportunity you have now, but failed to utilize it to champion programs that will place the profession to where it truly belongs in Nigeria. Today they are gone and gone forever and nobody remembers them because they did not do what is worthy of remembrance.
Sir, I don’t wish you end up like them, that is why I am writing this letter to you to let you know one striking achievement which if you use this opportunity bestowed on you now to achieve shall make you the most celebrated Nurse leader in Nigeria . Sir, this achievement I want you to make has been the most burning issue and most clamoured for by Nurses especially Graduates Nurses since last decade but unfortunately successive NANNM leadership had deliberately turned a blind eye to its realization and had rather pursued some programs that are futile and retrogressive when compared with what is achievable in climes where the Nurses’ labour Union means well for the profession. The importance attached to the realization of this achievement I am referring to had made Nursing Students under the aegis of Nigerian Universities Nursing Students Association (NUNSA) to throng Abuja with their successive leadership to the extent that they have protested twice that is, in 2011 and early this year respectively.
Sir, the achievement I am referring to is nothing other than the realization of internship scheme and proper placement of graduate nurses in the scheme of service. The incumbent Federal Minister of health ,Prof. Christian Onyebuchi Chukwu during the emergency meeting he had with the stake holders in the healthcare delivery system of the country including NANM and Nursing council after the protest by NUNSA made the following assertion after due weighing of the degree of marginalization the non-inclusion of Nurses in the internship scheme poses to the profession-He said, “for the spirit of equity ,fairness and justice I believe that like the Graduates of other professions in the healthcare sector of this country , graduate Nurses equally deserve to be included in the internship scheme for what is good for the goose is also good for the gander”. So the minister himself knows that Graduate Nurses are marginalized vis-à-vis their non inclusion in the internship program which Graduates of other professions in the health sector such as Medicine ,pharmacy, Dentistry ,Medical Lab Science, Optometry, Medical Rehab and so on do participate in.
Sir, I read the manifesto that you presented during the election that brought you to office but did not see anywhere you mentioned working for realization of internship for Nurses. I assume that it was an omission that you unintentionally made. That is why I am writing this letter to you to remind you that you forgot to include the most important thing which if you pursue vigorously and achieve, shall make your name to be written in Gold in the history of the profession in Nigeria and the posterity of Nigerian Nurses and midwives shall sing your name like that of Florence Nightingale.
Sir, all your demeanours since you assumed office has shown that you do not take the issue of the internship seriously just as your predecessor did. This is evident in the content of the communiqué issued after NANNM NEC meeting of 23rd and 24th September 2013 where what was raised as the most burning issue is the realization of unified scheme of service for Nurses and nothing at all was said about the internship. Sir, I want to use this opportunity to tell you that the so-called unified scheme of service you are pursuing is retrogressive and anti-Nursing and it will bring nothing other than punitive treatment to Nurses that worked hard and excelled in academic arena. It is a wrong step in the wrong direction and such will dent your name in the future and shall only make you to be remembered as the worst NANNM president Nursing has ever produced.
Nursing is not the only profession with multi-cadre setting .Other professions such as pharmacy accountancy, Optometry, Dentistry, and Medical laboratory science to mention but a few all have a multi-cadre setting and therefore are accorded different treatment in terms of placement, career progression and remuneration. So it is an aberration to be talking of unified scheme of service in a profession that has a multi-cadre setting such as Nursing. Why then are you wasting your precious time and the financial contributions of hardworking Nigeria Nurses and Midwives entrusted under your care in pursing what will do more harm than good to the profession rather than focusing on what shall place the profession on a real parity with that of pharmacy as granted by term 1(b) of the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) award of 24th April, 1980 which the realization of the internship scheme for Nurses shall solely enthrone.
Nurses in other climes such as the US, Canada, Ireland, UK and so on walk with their shoulders high because they are well treated due to good and progressive achievements their own labour Union had fought out for them and we even loose our best Nurses to them as they migrate to enjoy the benefits Nurses over there are enjoying. But Nurses in Nigeria barely talk where other healthcare professionals talk because of the ill and retrogressive treatments successive NANNM programs including the unified scheme of service you are currently pursuing are meting out against them. Sir, you need to wake up and move with the contemporary and stop dwelling in the errors of the past. You need to focus on the issue that is most pressing and most relevant to the growth of the profession and not these that take the profession backward and make it to row perpetually towards a perfidious path of retrogression. The issue on the topmost burner now is internship; therefore focus on it with all your vigour if you want to be remembered for positive and progressive achievements in the future.
Sir, if NANNM can concentrate just half of the energy she had put in fighting the battle of unified scheme of service to pursue the realization of internship for Nurses, I bet you that such would have been an already achieved feat for the profession.
Sir, even the Nursing and Midwifery Council is against this futile and retrogressive battle of unified scheme of service you are wasting Nurses hard contributed check-off dues on. The Council made her position clear in her letter dated June 30th 2009, REF No.N&MCN/INSP/MH/10/Vol.1/50 addressed to the Director of Nursing services, Ministry of Health ,Asaba, Delta State by stating that Registered Nurses and Midwives who want to move to Directorate cadre i.e. GL 15 MUST HAVE a first degree in Nursing. This position was upheld by National Council on Establishment and thus a letter was issued from Office of the Head of Service of the federation(HCSF) dated November 28th 2012 ,REF No.B.63279/S.7/C.15/471 addressed to the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Health(FMOH) in confirmation and approval that B.Sc Nursing only is the minimum entry qualification acceptable into the Nursing Officer cadre thereby vacating a circular that it previously issued in error on 1st December,2006 Circular No.CND.100/S/6/Vol.II/115 where it was stated that any officer in the Nursing Assistant Cadre who acquires additional qualification in any of the Nursing related course(s) such as B.Sc Nursing, B.Sc Public Health, Community health and allied courses shall be eligible for conversion to the Nursing Officer Cadre. The unified scheme of service which is an attempt to lump together the Nursing Officer cadre and the Nursing assistant cadre is self-serving and not in the best interests of the profession. The implication of the unified scheme of service you are fighting for is that internship and proper placement of Graduate nurses are not necessary.
Unfortunately, NANNM the only recognized labour union for the profession of Nursing in Nigeria suffers from misplaced priority syndrome. Rather than threaten going on strike for the non inclusion of Nurses in the internship scheme and proper placement of graduate nurses in the scheme of service, NANNM issued a threat that Nurses will not guarantee industrial harmony in the health sector in her communiqué of the recent NEC meeting if the National Industrial court judgment of 27th January, 2012 where NANNM is seeking for a unified scheme of service is not implemented with immediate effect. NANNM has never gone on strike or taken the Federal Ministry of Health and the Head of civil Service of the Federation to court over the non inclusion of Nurses in the internship and the wrong placement of graduate nurses in the scheme of service, but was quick at throwing empty jabs to the duo of FMOH and HCSF by taking them to court for supporting Nursing council’s position that it is only Nurses with degree in Nursing that will climb the directorate cadre of the profession.
Sir, I do not want you to be a failure like you predecessors. The time for occupying that office is lengthy but short and a stitch in time they say saves nine. If your name must be written in gold you must do what the people are overwhelmly clamouring for. In Nursing profession today in Nigeria, it is the issue of internship that is mostly generating waves and the voice of people they say is the voice of God. NUNSA and nurses in general are no longer happy with the hanky-panky NANNM and her cronies are playing with the issue of the internship. It will therefore be unfortunate if the inaction of NANNM towards the realization of the dream of internship for Nurses leads to another protest by undergraduates of Nursing again under your watch as the National president of NANNM.
My dearest NANNM president, I believe that the time for history making is now so grab it. All the advice I gave you are free of charge and from the bottom of my heart. Do not allow the sycophantic cabal that led siege to your predecessors and who are responsible for making their tenure a rather catastrophe for the profession deceive you. They collect honorarium for offering their ill-programmed advice but mine is free as I said earlier on. Some gifts may come in rough wraps but inside them there is gold. So do not be infuriated that I made my letter to you open. I am only trying to secure it and ensure that it gets to you, because I know that the cabals around you would not have allowed my letter get to you had I posted it directly to you. They would have intercepted it on the way and made sure it never get to you. One of the antics they had employed to rubbish the tenures of previous Presidents is to shut them off from useful advices from well meaning Nurses and only fill their ears with the ill-laden plans they have against the profession. That is why I made this open my ebullient chief. Good name is better than money, so forget their unholy antics and focus on making name for yourself and the profession. God bless you as you heed to this advice!
NSHI GOODLUCK (RN)
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