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Nurses: Nigerians criticise nursing council’s demands of two-year experience before overseas practice

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Backlashes have trailed the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria’s issuance of amended guidelines and requirements for people and nurses seeking certificate verification with foreign nursing boards or councils.

According to a circular issued by the council on Wednesday, the association now requires applicants to have at least two years of post-qualification experience from the date of the issuance of their permanent practicing licence.

Signed by Dr. Faruk Abubakar, NMCN’s Registrar/Secretary General, the new directives reads, “Applicants are to visit https://licence.nmcn.gov.ng/ and login to initiate a verification application by clicking on the verification application link.

“A non-refundable fee per application shall be paid for verification by foreign boards of nursing as specified on the portal. This shall cover the cost of courier services to the applicant’s institution(s) of training, place of work, and foreign board.

“Eligible applicants must have a minimum of two years post-qualification experience from the date of issuance of a permanent practicing licence. Any application with a provisional licence shall be rejected outright.

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“The council shall request a letter of good standing from the Chief Executive Officer of the applicant’s place(s) of work and the last nursing training institution attended, and responses on these shall be addressed directly to the Registrar/CEO, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria. Please note that the council shall not accept such letter(s) through the applicant.”

In addition to the previously listed qualifications, the NMCN now requires that applicants have an active practicing licence that is valid for at least six months.

However, the amended standards have ignited a firestorm of criticism on social media.

Nurses and health workers have criticised it as an obvious violation of basic humaan rights.

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Calling the new directives “witchcraft,” a netizen, Sir Dickson, wrote, “This is absolutely ridiculous, @Nigeria_NMC. There is nowhere in the world where this is done.

“You’re deliberately frustrating the nurses under your body. On what basis are you demanding two years of work experience before they can verify their certificates? Why is verification taking a minimum of six months? Six months!! What are you verifying?

“The Nigerian government needs to intervene in this witchcraft.”

Detola berated the NMC over its alleged failure to combat quackery in the sector but rather indulged in making dragonian rules for nurses.

She said, “You’re a shameless body @Nigeria_NMC. Your nurses are barely feeding with the meagre salary they are collecting.

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“You are not actively challenging, neither are you countering quackery, but you’re flexing muscles on nurses seeking career progression.”

For nurse Danie, she wrote, “We were taught advocacy in nursing school, but it’s a shame that our own highest nursing body is not advocating for nurses.

“You want to keep nurses in Nigeria for two years against their will, and you didn’t advocate for a better salary for them?”

Lending a voice to the issue, Dr. Bishop wrote, “This is very unfair and draconian for nurses. Same nurses that are poorly paid, and the system refuses to adequately upskill despite so much responsibility and little to no authority.

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“Nurses are taking steps on their own to improve themselves, but @Nigeria_NMC wants to remain in the stone age.”

He also urged doctors in the country to rise against the “injustice” meted out to nurses.

“Every doctor should join and oppose this; otherwise, they will come for doctors next,” he added.

Nurse MJ, who called the new directives “unfair”, alleged that all the NMCN does is “steal” and “extort” nurses. She said, “Since the Japa pandemic, we’ve watched the NMCN verification fee go up from 10,500 to 68,000, and now 300,000 naira!!!!

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“How much do nurses even earn? How many can comfortably cough out 300k? Daylight robbery!” All NMCN does is oppress, steal, and extort! No one has ever challenged them! So they kept going! It’s time to say no to extortion.”

Comparing the NMCN to a “toxic ex,” Dr. Craze on X alleged that the directive is a deliberate move to reduce the migration of nurses from Nigeria.

He said, “I know these rules are put in place to stop doctors and nurses from going elsewhere for better pay. You don’t value your medical practitioners enough to provide a comfortable working condition, and you still don’t want them to leave like a toxic ex.”

For Dr. Obiojiofor, “Just when I thought a glimmer of hope and probable happiness was finding its place in this clime and space, NMCN decided to spoil everything with that sorry excuse of a solution.

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“Another classic symptomatic approach to an unending bunch of problems yet again,” he said.

Calling the new rules “modern-day slavery,” Fisayo Soyombo stated that “the new Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) directive obstructing nurses from travelling abroad within two years of licensure and mandating a six-month wait for clearance from the date of application is downright modern-day, in-country slavery.

“How heartbreaking it must be for nurses to find themselves enslaved not in a foreign land but in their own country.

I’ve always thought most government and regulatory agencies are occupied or led by jokers who, other than strong-arm tactics, have little sense of inventiveness in dealing with national problems.

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“If @Nigeria_NMC knew what it was doing, it would be pushing for improved conditions of service in nursing and the wider health sector.

“Fix the country—fix the indignity of working in Nigerian healthcare—and watch your best nurses and doctors stay back.

“This desperation to enchain them to the country is a testament to NMCN’s glaring lack of ideas, imagination, thoughtfulness, and courage. Nurses are not your problem; your comatose health sector is!”

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