The University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA), the Professional Association of Nurses with a minimum qualification of first degree in nursing, wishes to extrapolate the global trends on nursing practice in the areas of nursing education and clinical nursing practice that MUST be followed to enable the nursing profession in Nigeria stay afloat and surf the contemporary complexities and global advancements in the profession.
Nursing is regulated because it is one of the health professions that poses the risk of harm to the public if its education or clinical aspect is practiced by someone who is unqualified or incompetent. Every country has an entity (nursing council or board of nursing) saddled with the responsibility of determining competency and eligibility for nursing practice, whether in nursing education or clinical nursing practice.
The nursing council or board of nursing in countries across the world carryout their regulatory activities through issuances of licences to qualified individuals to practice as nurses, nurse educators or clinical nurse specialists. They are authorized to develop administrative rules and regulations that are used to clarify or make specific pronouncement on matters affecting public health, safety and welfare, especially issues that border areas of nursing practice such as engagement in nursing education or clinical nursing practice.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) is the authorized entity with the legal authority to regulate nursing education and clinical nursing practice in Nigeria. It regulates nursing Education via “Nurse Educators’ and Nurse Tutors’ Licences” and clinical nursing practice via “licences on general nursing and in different sub-specialties of nursing”. Globally, for one to be eligible for licensure in any country to practice as a nurse educator or a clinical nurse specialist in any of the nursing sub-specialties, the person must have first of all been certified as having the minimum competency required to practice nursing in that particular country via licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN).
If a nurse, whether a clinical nurse specialist or a professor of nursing, migrates from his/her country of original registration to another country such a person is considered incompetent in the new country for not being abreast with the nursing rudiments in the new country and must be re-licensed as an RN by the nursing council or board of nursing of the new country after exhibiting proof of having minimum competency to practice nursing in the new country to the council or board.
Proof of minimum competency lies in passing the nursing council’s or board of nursing’s requisite nursing exams. Failure to pass any country’s general nursing exam portends lack of minimum competence to handle anything related to nursing in that country, be it nursing education or clinical nursing practice, as one cannot give what one does not have. This explains why any Nigerian Nurse, including Professors of Nursing, migrating to another country, e.g. United States, United Kingdom, Egypt, Canada, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, etc., MUST first of all show proof of minimum competency to the nursing council or board of nursing of the country the nurse is migrating to by passing the requisite nursing exams and being relicenced as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the host country to be eligible to practice in any area of nursing be it in nursing education or clinical area.
Corollarily, any nurse from another country, be it a Professor of Nursing or not, migrating to Nigeria must show proof of minimum competency to the NMCN (the statutory regulatory entity for nursing education and clinical nursing practice in Nigeria) and be listed as a Nigerian RN for such a person to be eligible to practice in any area of nursing in Nigeria be it nursing education, clinical specialist area or general nursing. Not doing so is not only a brazen assault on the Nigerian laws but also an inimical antithesis of best global practices.
On eligibility for teaching postgraduate and undergraduate nursing students, the global trend accentuates a pool of nurse lecturers with experience in diverse fields and disciplines that form the modules of study of nursing science. The integrals of Nursing science programmes at baccalaureate and postbaccalaureate levels are derivatives of other relevant fields such as Sociology, Law, Economics, Statistics, Nutrition, Pharmacology, Anatomy, Physiology, Psychology, Epidemiology, Pathology, Measurement and Evaluation, Public Health, Community Health, Health education, Guidance and Counseling, etc. The contemporary global trends emphasize synergizing a pool of nurse lecturers possessing MSc and PhD in nursing with those that obtained MSc and PhD in the aforementioned relevant fields after their first degree in nursing, for tutorship in post-graduate and undergraduate nursing programmes.
After the first degree in nursing, differentiation and diversification, ipso facto, are norms that herald a pool of nurse lecturers that are knowledgeable and versatile in areas outside core nursing that are much relevant to nursing education and clinical nursing practice. While those that majored in MSc and PhD in nursing help maintain the core nursing modules, those that majored in the aforementioned relevant areas stabilize the pod by synergistically overseeing integration of relevancy of these areas to nursing education and clinical nursing practice having had sound baccalaureate foundation in nursing.
Globally, it is preferable to have a nurse with first degree in nursing (BNSc/BSc.Nursing), who majored in MSc and PhD in another relevant field, say Sociology or Nutrition, handle the aspects of nursing education that border on Sociology or Nutrition, than have a sociologist or a nutritionist who has no prior nursing background handle such. Therefore, “not putting our eggs in one basket” after the first degree in nursing, while ensuring and enhancing competence, professionalism, ethical standard, character and capacity, is the global trend that MUST be followed by and in the Nigerian Nursing community.
We hope that by this memo, adequate and concise expositions have been succinctly made for individuals and institutions that are involved in nursing education and clinical nursing practice in Nigeria for proper guidance on the global best trends in Nursing education and clinical nursing practice that MUST be observed to help the profession remain ever responsive and dynamic to its healthcare mandate to the Nigerian public.
Chief (HON.) S.E.O. EGWUENU
NURSE G.I. NSHI
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