ADDRESS BY ALH. FARUK UMAR ABUBAKAR, SECRETARY-GENERAL/REGISTRAR, NURSING AND MIDWIFERY COUNCIL OF NIGERIA DURING THE FLAG-OFF OF THE NATIONAL DIPLOMA/HIGHER NATIONAL DIPLOMA PROGRAMMES IN NURSING IN GOMBE , GOMBE STATE ON MONDAY 4TH FEBRUARY, 2019
On behalf of the Board and Management of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Iwelcome all of you to the flag-off ceremony of the National Diploma/Higher National Diploma (ND/HND) Nursing programmes taking place here in Gombe State.
Before I continue, let me thank the Almighty God, Who in His infinite mercy and blessings, made it possible for us to arrive here safely and be part of this momentous occasion .Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria has among its core mandates, ensuring high quality of nursing and midwifery education in Nigeria as well as the maintenance of high standard of professional practice in line with global best practices. This has informed the various restructuring/reforms undertaken by the Council over the years in order to provide direction, improve standard of training and quality of nursing practice to meet the evolving health care demands of our society.
Historically, nursing education started with the hospital-based training under the management of the Ministry of health with the professional qualification as registered nurse (RN) or registered midwife (RM) without academic qualification. Likewise, the post basic programmes are managed by the teaching hospitals and not the parent Universities where the programmes are domiciled. Since hospital-based institutions are not empowered to award academic certificates, it has created challenges and imbalance for nurses and midwives in the areas of career and academic progressions despite their robust entry qualifications, quality of knowledge and length of years invested in the training. These are some of the indications that reforms are necessary in the contemporary system of nursing and midwifery education in Nigeria.
It may interest this gathering to know that the reform agenda in contemporary nursing education in Nigeria was conceived right here in Gombe State during the 10th Nursing Leaders Conference in 2005. One of the cardinal reform agenda of that conference is the conversion of all schools of nursing to collegiate system, as well as their affiliation or absorption by the Universities in order to provide holistic University education in nursing.
The journey started and over the years, the Council has made several efforts and taken bold steps to reposition nursing and midwifery education in Nigeria with major intents to ensure that nursing education in Nigeria progress in line with the national policy on education as well as meet the evolving socio-economic and health care challenges of the 21st century. The Council believes that for nursing education reforms to be relevant, recognized, sustainable and acceptable, it should be in line with the philosophy and basic principles of the national policy on education affecting tertiary education in the country. It is worthy of concern that this revised national policy on education did not mention or make any reference to the schools of nursing and midwifery or the post basic nursing programmes.
In its avowed determination to address this problem, the Council made consultations with relevant stakeholders in attempts to bridge the gaps in hospital-based system of nursing and midwifery education for the award of academic certificates and in providing balance in nursing and midwifery education and practice in Nigeria.
Some of the strategies explored by the Council include the collegiate system, which is absorption and assimilation of the basic schools of nursing into the University degree programme. This however, yielded very little or no result at the end of 2015 which was the target period to measure the progress of the reform. Subsequently, the Council restratergised and approached the Federal Ministry of Education in 2007 in order to provide a link to achieve quantification of nursing certificate. The Federal Ministry of Education Experts Assessors Committee accorded official recognition to the Council and its professional qualifications. The General Nursing qualification or the Basic Midwifery qualification is rated as Higher National Diploma (HND) but for the purpose of employment only.
Looking at the national education framework, regulation and quality assurance agencies of the educational system are:
• The National Universities Commission (NUC)
• National Board for Technical Education (NBTE)
• National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE).
Institutions being regulated by the above can only award academic certificate. The board of the Couawards its 41th meeting resolved and directed management of the Council to conclude arrangement with the NBTE and hospital-based Schools of Nursing in Nigeria for award of ND/HND Nursing.
I wish to state clearly that though not the best of options, but is considered expedient in the present circumstances in providing qualified and adequate manpower of nurses and midwives in Nigeria. The Schools of Nursing are to be upgraded to Colleges to be qualified for the mounting of ND/HND nursing programmes.
Interestingly, many schools which indicated interest have upgraded their schools to colleges. It worthy to mention that the Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NBTE in January, 2017 for the commencement of the ND/HND nursing programme and also updated the already developed ND/HND curricula in collaboration with NBTE. The new system will lead to the award of academic certificate in addition to the professional certificate as RN, RM, or RPHN. Furthermore, the ND/HND nursing programmes were structured to accommodate the provisions of the new scheme of service for nurses and will also allow for improvement in career and academic progressions for nurses and midwives. It will also make it easier for nurses to align in the structured educational system of Nigeria.
The programme is for four year course for the award of ND/HND Nursing.
➢ Entry requirements remain 5 O’ Level credits in English, Mathematics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry at all levels of nursing and midwifery education in Nigeria.
➢ All graduates will sit for the Council’s professional examinations for the award of registered nurse certificate and each of them shall have option for specialization in Midwifery or Public Health Nursing.
➢ The institution under this new system must operate as Colleges of Nursing and admission shall be through JAMB. The Colleges shall also have an Enabling Law establishing it and a Governing Board.
➢ The College shall have Departments – ie Nursing, Midwifery,Public Health, and Basic Sciences all with qualified Lectures and instructors.
However, Schools of Nursing and Midwifery which are not able to meet up with the above requirements shall be allowed to continue for a specific period – 2023 to enable them meet up with the accreditation requirements. Presently, the Council regulates 279 nursing, midwifery, post basic nursing and department of nursing in Nigeria. These institutions comprised of 99 Schools of Nursing, 94 Schools of Basic/post Midwifery, 58 School of Post Basic Nursing programmes and 29 Departments of Nursing. Let me at this juncture reecho that much attention and emphasis will be given for the establishment of more department of nursing at Universities in Nigeria.
I wish to emphasize also that ND/HND is only for the current institutions and not meant for the establishment of new training institutions. Regulation and control for the establishment of new nursing training programs is under the Council. Any attempt to deviate from these arrangements attracts appropriate sanction and non-recognition from the Council. Permit me to also stress here that all other areas of nursing education are not left out but carried along in the Council’s reform agenda. The post basic and nursing specialty programmes are coming on board and arrangements have commenced to absorb or run these programmes as post graduate under departments of nursing in the Universities.
In conclusion, let me once again stress that all aspects of the nursing and midwifery education reforms require nurses with higher degree. While the Council appreciates the fact that manpower development in nursing has improved, but it also advocates for more nurse/midwife educators, nurses with M.Sc., and Ph.D. in Nursing for the reform to succeed.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to formally launch the take-off ofthe ND/HND Nursing programmes commencing with the College of Nursing, Gombe, Gombe State.
Thank you and God bless for the mounting of ND/HND nursing programmes.
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