THE BASTARDIZED IMAGE OF AN ANGELIC PROFESSION, A CASE OF THE NIGERIAN NURSING.

Last week, I got a circular that the Nursing and midwifery council of Nigeria (NMCN) will be having a virtual meeting with the administrators of the various nursing groups in Nigeria. Seeing that gladens my heart and I immediately checked my schedule to see if I could attend.

I had planned leaving Londonderry to catch up with a flight at Belfast scheduled for evening that day, normally I wouldn’t have attended a program on transit, but because of the passion I’ve got for nursing I attended against all odds. It was a disappointment for me to see that the meeting scheduled to hold at 1pm didn’t start until about an hour later. We were kept online burning data and waiting for the Registrar, when the registrar finally came, there was no form of apology for keeping us waiting for that long. This alone speaks volume of how the NMCN as a whole relate with the Nurses who they are meant to regulate, master to slave kind of relationships.The meeting although timely doesn’t address the main problem facing us as a profession. The Registrar literally came to “warn” Nigerian nurses to desist from airing their views & concerns about the nursing profession on social media. According to him, this brings poor public perceptions to the image of nursing profession. I raised hands to respond to this amongst other concerns Nigerian nurses face on a daily basis and unfortunately, I wasn’t given a chance to speak. On one hand I was pained, on the other, I was happy. Perhaps I would have bashed them publicly which I may not be cool with on the long run. I have decided to make to write this piece to address this issues.

 

First, contrary to the claim of the Registrar, the council itself is responsible for the bastardized image of the nursing profession directly and indirectly. What is happening today is as a result of the long term insensitivity of the council to the plights of the nurses. An average Nigerian nurse is frustrated and bittered about the deplorable state of the nursing profession in Nigeria . The council has failed not only the nurses but also the consumers of nursing care services locally and of recent on an international scene. The nurse now see social media as the only platform to vent their anger, frustration and air their views & concerns.

The primary objectives of NMCN is to ensure high quality of Nursing and Midwifery education, maintain high standard of professional nursing and midwifery practice and enforce discipline within the profession. Today, the quacks have taken over the Nigerian Nursing profession. They are gainfully employed when the duly registered nurses roam the streets jobless. The unsuspecting members of the public patronise them and end up with avoidable consequences and complications, all thanks to the NMCN.

What the council fails to understand is that for every action, there’s a consequence. A council is a service provider answerable to the consumer of their services. When these services are not up to standard, reactions and criticisms are inevitable. As of today, the NMCN can not beat it chest to say it has got a feedback mechanisms for the services they provide. When nurses are not satisfied with the services received or the regulations of the council, what is the channel to report this? Will they get a prompt response? And how soon?

2 case scenarios quickly.

In 2018,  our organisation , Fellow Nurses Africa organised the first ever Nursing and midwifery essay contest tagged “If I were the Registrar, NMCN ” it was meant to gather ideas to provide solutions to the diverse challenges of the nursing profession in Nigeria.

About 200 nurses participated in this contest across the country, these ideas were collated and sent to the NMCN via an open letter addressed to the NMCN. Till today there’s no single response from the council, not even an acknowledgement to that email.

Early last year, I was at a facility where I worked before relocating and a young woman walked in. Asked to see me and when we met, it happened that she came to submit an application for a nursing vacancy. I interrogated her to be sure she’s a nurse as she claimed and at the end, I found out she’s a quack. Meanwhile she came with a forged nursing licence. I seized the license, took pictures and videos of it and sent to the NMCN to make a formal report. Till today, NMCN failed to acknowledge that email talkless of taking the matter up.

Many of the policies of the council including the LCN/LCM are not in anyway in the interest of the professionals they regulate and when these professionals complain, they do so on deaf ears. People pay for Licence renewals & months after they don’t get the licence & you say theys should keep quiet? They pay for Verification of credentials and good standing letters, they don’t get it done for years without any explanation from the council and yet you say they shouldn’t talk ?

 

On a daily basis, we write you to make formal complaints of illegal nursing training institutions without any response yet you expect us to keep quiet because we don’t want to bastardize the image of our profession?

Visit the NMCN website today and try calling any of the contact numbers there, none of it is reachable and yet we shouldn’t talk?

The era of suffering & smilling is gone. The new breeds of nurses are the #Sorosoke generations and we can’t shut them up until the right things are done.

Going forward, the NMCN should create and feedback mechanisms to gather complaints from their nurses.Emails sent to them should be acknowledged & acted upon. They should ensure they are reachable and accessible to nurses and service consumers from any part of the world.The issue of quackery should be tackled as a matter of urgency. NMCN itself also needs a social media presence.

The needs and opinions of the Nigerian nurses should be taken into consideration before any policy that concerns them is brought for consideration.

In conclusion, the Nursing and midwifery council of Nigeria should be one that we’re proud of and ready to give a listening ears at all times.