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Letter to the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives President BY Aigbe Desmond
Date Posted: 16/Dec/2013
I salute you Sir in pain, I salute you in dismay, I salute you in joylessness and most of all I salute you with tears running down my eyes.
I beg to ask Sir, For how long are we to remain in silence? How long shall we be kept in the dark? How long shall we be deceived in this era where everyone clamours for change. I think it is high time we opened our eyes to search for light. 

 

 
Few weeks ago, an interview with you was posted on Nursing World regarding the affairs of nurses in Nigeria and most importantly on the internship implimentation for graduate nurses. All I expected of you was to tell us why the nursing profession has been left out of the one year compulsary internship and reasons why NANNM and our leaders have seemingly slept off while other professions in the health sector are busy adding spice to their profession. 
 
it is regretably obvious to all eyes to see that nursing is the only profession in the health sector where students are placed in the forefront of professional transformational tasks while their leaders lag behind. I also read keenly to see if you could give us the way forward on the non-completion of the program for graduate nursing students which is meant to produce polyvalent nurses from the university. 
 
I believe you are aware as stipulated in our curriculum by National University Commission (NUC) that Bachelor's Degree in nursing is expected to last for a period of 5yrs and with one year compulsary internship for one to be awarded BNSc. This internship is to provide graduate nurses the opportunity to gain full practical experience under a clinical instructor/mentor before he or she is sent for youth service.
Moreso, internship will go a long way to bridge this class difference that is seen between graduate nurses and graduates from other health profession like medical laboratory, pharmacy, medicine, radiology and so on. And this will also help in ensuring that graduate nurses are placed at the same level in the scheme of service with their sister profession.
 
The incompletion of graduate nurses program has done more harm and this has affected graduate nurses in all realms of their post graduate endeavours even in NYSC posting. 
Below are few havocks amongst others that the lack of internship has done to graduate nurses:
1) It automatically denies graduate nurses a place in the scheme of service of the federation.
2) When employed, graduate nurses are placed on CONHESS 7 while graduates from other sister profession are placed at CONHESS 10 after internship. This is evident on the employment advertised on the 25th of Oct, 2013 by National orthopaedic hospital Enugu.
3) Registered Nurses see no need to acquire the university degree because, even after obtaining the degree, it seems to be nothing better than the RN certificate since all nurses are placed on the the same salary scale.
 
All these have further affected the psyche of graduate nurses as they see themselves less and/or ignoble among other graduates in the health profession who go through the ideal, and complete their studies as scheduled for them on the NUC curriculum.
 
Sir, I refuse to believe that NANNM is oblivious to these consequences and insists on her selfish desire to pursue the "tool of destruction to the nursing profession" called unified scheme of service which nurses themselves do not appreciate. Sir, Why has NANNM chosen to disregarded the graduate nursing internship and treat it with flippancy. It is a pity that you (NANNM President) said internship was not so much pressing as at the time you gave out your manifesto and now it has been included, yet it is still invisible to the nursing profession evident in the NANNM NEC communique that was released sometime in November this year. In that communique NANNM only stressed on government implimenting the demands which govt. agreed to meet during the JOHESU strike and nursing graduate internship which is the utmost desire of all nurses was never mentioned among their demands. This situation is made worst as our nursing leaders and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) see more nursing graduates from the university been sent for National Youth Service, knowing the consequences and the psychological trauma they will face after graduating yet they kept aloof to see the profession been drained, devasted intellectually and been run over by mediocrity.
 
I have come to the conclusion that NANNM, our Nursing leaders and you sir, do not see internship as the most pertinent need in this profession and that is why for years and even in recent time refuse to assert for it with all honesty. With boldness, I say, that internship is the only thing that will place nurses at their Eldorado and all other things shall follow and this internship is long overdue.

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