Nursing is percieved as being one of the fastest growing profession in the world but sometimes if you look back into the nursing profession in this country you will begin to ask yourself whether this profession is really making progress or regress and this has been a question especially to some of us as student nurses, there comes with doubt whether there is future for us or not.
Different news emanate from medias about nursing everyday but nothing is encouraging there order than pitiful situation of nursing profession. When other sisters professions are moving, we remain stagnant we refuse to move, when other are thinking how to align themselves with 21st century practices. To stand still means to move backward.
Over the years pharmacy has undergo a tremendous transformation in metamorphosing from DISPENSERS to CHEMIST AND DRUGGIST (C&D) in 1960s which was solely diploma program then to degree program in 1962 which started in university of Ife (now OAU).
Also physiotherapy started in Nigeria in 1945 as 3 years diploma program has transformed from 4 years bachelor degree in 1966 to 5 years program across the country and university of Ibadan was first in Nigeria and west Africa to award degree in physiotherapy.
Even medical laboratory science have also follow the same pursuit of transformation from laboratory assistant to technician to full fledge degree. This happened between 1960s to 2003 where it fully gain her stand.
Nursing education started in 1949 at school of nursing Eleyele Ibadan and not until 1965 department of nursing was established in the university of Ibadan to commence a degree program in Nigeria and other universities have been following the suit. Some months ago department of nursing ABU Zaria celebrated her 20 years anniversary since it's establishment in 1997.
One would begin think what has this history has to do with problem facing nursing profession but I strongly believe if we delve into history of nursing as compared to so called sister professions and we'll see that nursing has faced major setback and these professions have took some (not a) steps ahead of nursing and this call for a serious concern if at all we see them as sisters. Let me give examples; the so call sister professions have started internship training for their graduates for years but nursing internship was unable to get approved until late 2017 for the fact that internship training has been part of NUC nursing curriculum for graduate of bachelor of nursing science since it's inception.
Furthermore between 2017 and 2018 pharmacy, medical laboratory science, and physiotherapy were able to get the approval from NUC to commence doctor of pharmacy (PharmD), doctor of medical laboratory science (MLSD) and doctor of physiotherapy (DPT) programs respectively but BNSc which has been in existence since 1960s is still fighting for space with hospital based school of nursing. Hnmnn is this what we call progress? and this is one of the thing that prompt me from writing.
Another area of concern in nursing profession is the Nursing in West is advancing towards 21st century best practice with serious improvement in nursing credentials both in professional and educational in order to discharge nursing to the best of their ability. Even our so called sister professions have passed the era of diploma instead Nigeria nursing is advancing towards awarding of diploma and higher national diploma to Nigeria nurses which Nigeria government had just scraped because of it's irrelevance in the 21st century education system...well done, is that how we define progress?
Did I hear merging of state and federal schools of Nursing, midwifery and post basics to state universities and federal universities respectively? How is this possible? It's saddening to not that despite obvious limitations and shortcomings of hospital based nursing education program, it has continue to wax stronger with almost every teaching hospitals, federal medical centres within the country compelling to have their own. State governments and missionary organizations are not left out. It will interest you to know that there are over 200 nursing, midwifery and post basic accredited institutions in Nigeria.
There are 81 accredited schools in 19 northern states alone. How are you preparing to merge these schools with 7 universities offering bachelor of nursing science with Unilorin and Unijos (north Central), Unimaid (north East), ABU Zaria, BUK, UDUS, and FUBK(all in North West).
Since antecedent it has been observed that Nigeria nurses respond less to changes(education). According to Adeleke Araoye Ojo(professor of Nursing) of Igbinedion university Okada, Edo state shared his personal experience in his inaugural lecture in 2010 that when he resigned from Adeoyo state hospital Ibadan in 1974 to pursue a bachelor of Nursing science degree at University of Ibadan summarizes Nigeria nursing. His registered nurses colleague mocked and queried "Do you need a degree to serve or remove bed pan?"
About 35 years after, university based nursing education in Nigeria can still be described as abysmally low in term of number of university offering nursing. This can be evidenced if you go through Bayero university bulletin when Adelani Tijani was promoted to rank of professor.
It was there I read that Adelani Tijani a professor of public health Nursing is the first indigenous professor of nursing in the whole northern Nigeria and number 13th professor of nursing and 11 of them are active as of 2016.
Yes! It's an achievement in nursing but the question you should ask yourself is why number 13th since 1965? Are you still wondering why the sister professions grow faster?
Just few months ago Unilag Pharmacy celebrated Prof Coker as Emeritus professor of pharmacy. Are you seeing the differences?
I hope Nigerians can learn from these write up, despite the higher number of nurses, Nursing has been sideline and has suffered from setbacks and this tells you that its not only by numbers but by intellectual capacity which can only we widen through education. We need people who think beyond today, the future is now, let change people perspective about nursing.
Nigerian nurses should wake up and save the profession of Florence Nightingale, Nigeria nurses need to embrace change as change is constant in life, the change we have been clamoring for, only you can bring about.
Nigerian nurses should break the jinx, accept change through education, education makes the future more clearer and brighter. Let us all see nursing as calling and profession and not forget to encourage and give hope to young ones.
Amanullahi Ismail Nasir,
DEPARTMENT OF NURSING SCIENCES,
USMANU DANFODIYO UNIVERSITY, SOKOTO.
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