Open Letter To The Federal Ministry Of Health And Education
Nigeria — Unfair Conditions Of Foreign Trained Nurses
We, nurses trained outside Nigeria; write to the Ministries of Health and Education because we believe that they work to ensure citizens get the best of anything remotely related to education and healthcare.
Education is the foundation for the development of any society. Besides promoting social and economic prosperity, it allows professions achieve better career outlooks. Nursing is not an exemption to these prospects and there aren’t many other ways to compete positively with other professions. It is why we are brokenhearted that this fundamental concept (Nursing Education) in Nigeria, especially in relation to foreign trained nurses is not being handled pragmatically.
It is no news to any graduate nurse that of all the roles of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), the most significant is the training and licensing of Nurses to aid their practice in the country. This role has remarkably drifted over the years. In order to obtain our license, we are required to undergo training for a minimum of six months and maximum of eighteen months — outside the four to five years spent attaining our B.Sc.
The training itself is not an issue, as it is imperative for us to get certified and have an orientation of the Nigerian nursing setting. The conditions around the additional training are the subject of concern. For example, we are supposed to spend eighteen months undergoing training as foreign students after completing our Bachelors. For a significant part of this period, we’re placed in the same class with Diploma students who are learning the profession from the start.
This inevitably takes us years back as we are wasting a lot of time redoing things that we have already done in the past. Why do we have to remain in a training course for eighteen months repeating things that we have already passed through? Why can’t we have classes separate from students who are just scratching the surface? Time invested in duplicating topics from University could be better capitalized on actual practice of the profession in the country.
NMCN also conned us into believing we can have the number of months spent training for our license condensed. We’re told that if we apply for an interview beforehand and perform well, we’d have the training months shortened. We are also informed that if we provide a license from our country of study, we will be mandated to stay in the school of nursing for six months as opposed to eighteen. More than half the time both options do not work. Getting a nursing license from one’s country of study is not a walk in the park, often times most countries do not oblige to this request. For them, it is purposeless to give out a license to a graduate nurse who is not ready or willing to practice in their own country, and this is valid.
Similarly, the interview we’re asked to come for before posting to the school of nursing is a facade. Many of us have gone for the dialogue hoping that our pronounced performance will allow us have a condensed coaching period and nothing has come out of it. We have also had cases were some of us applied for the interview but have not been called till this moment.
One of the most burning aspects of the concerns surrounding our training and license to practice in the country is that we’re the basically the only profession subjected to these hassles within our sector. Doctors and dentists go through a conventional course of at most six months to get licensed, pharmacists undergo a six-week course and are handed a license before their compulsory internship. A lot of other health care specialists do not principally have it this grim. Why are we not given parallel stakes like our counterparts in the same sector? We’re from the same foreign universities but we don’t have it even vaguely tranquil as our colleagues — this is prejudiced.
Finally, in the course of this training, we are being looked down on. Graduate nurses are asked to partake in manual labour like cutting grass, mopping of floors and cleaning of toilets. None of this helps or relates to our practice. This part doesn’t apply to foreign trained nurses only but is enough to puncture our self-esteem. They way we are being treated regarding this training is enough to ridicule our confidence and make the profession feel second-class.
We’d very much love the federal ministries of health and education to come to our aid and intervene considering all highlighted above. We’re grateful for their efforts so far in striving to improve the quality of our education and healthcare but more hurdles still need to be jumped. We’d like both ministries to look into the eighteen months training period and tackle the monotony that comes with it. Having it abridged will be advantageous as it saves us the extra time used to teach us things we have already studied.
Our recommendation here is that NMCN look at our transcripts before posting for vital courses we didn’t go through while obtaining our Bachelors. Those courses omitted should be the only ones compulsory for us. That way, we’re only spending time learning courses we haven’t already absorbed in the University. Doing this will not only reduce the number of months we’re to spend training, It will also prevent the council from using superfluous resources, energy and funds that would have otherwise been put into those excessive additional months coaching.
Emphasis should correspondingly be directed towards bettering the interview conducted for foreign graduate nurses before entering for training with NMCN. The scheme is currently feeble. We’re for merit and support those that prove exceptional to have their certification period reduced as stipulated.
We’d appreciate more conversations around the subject matter and are open to feasible discourse on how to move forward.