OPINION: RN/HND, RN/BNSc, Tales Of Polytechnic Graduates By Nurse Africa
Just recently the Registrar of NMCN, Alh Faruk Umar Abubakar announced the kick off of HND Nursing Program with a flag off ceremony at Gombe State College of Nursing. In his address, he pointed it out as not the best of options but considered expedient in the present circumstances in providing qualified and adequate manpower of Nurses and Midwives in Nigeria.
As much as it seems a welcome development especially amidst the older generation of Nurses who see it as getting an educational equivalence for RN, the younger generation by this has been taken aback by this development and it has become a major topic of discussion.
It is very necessary we start looking ahead as we get our Noble Profession entangled into the age long HND/BSc dichotomy despite several government order equating the two.
I write as someone who spent my early educational pursuit in the Polytechnic system and who has once been at the fore front of the struggle to equate HND to BSc.
Here are some revelations though not palatable about Polytechnic education in Nigeria as compared to the University:
1. Polytechnic education is overseen by NBTE which is a body overseeing technical education unlike University education which is overseen by NUC.
2. The act that established Polytechnic education states clearly its vision which is to provide middle skilled manpower while the act that established University education is to provide professionally skilled manpower.
3. Academic progression of many Polytechnic graduates has been stalled and most times find them stigmatized in the academic field.
THE PECULIARITY OF NURSING
As much as this development can be seen as a step forward and applaudable, we should start solving the challenges ahead from today. These challenges are but not limited to the following:
What will be the fate of these Polytechnic graduates concerning internship, especially putting into consideration that Internship was just recently granted to BNSc graduates after years of struggle from all stakeholders.
Are they going to be included in Internship or are we back to the status quo of producing Nursing graduates with little practical oriented experience? Don't tell me when we get to the river, we would know how to cross it.
It is compulsory for every Nigerian graduate, Polytechnic inclusive to undergo one year service to their fatherland. What will be the faith of these new set of graduates when the time comes?
Under the current policy, RN's are employed on COHESS 7, BNSc on COHESS 8 while other graduates in the health sector are employed on COHESS 9 and Doctors COMESS 3 equivalent of COHESS 12.
I guess HND Nursing will be employed on COHESS 7.5
4. CAREER PROGRESSION:
To further your education as a HND holder, an individual needs to obtain a PGD in his field.
How many Universities in Nigeria today offer PGD's in Nursing?
Wouldnt it be a case where holders will be kept stagnant for years.
1. Nursing Leaders should pay rapt attention to the younger generation who in solidarity are clamouring for total eradication of any other form of Nursing education and make BNSc the only pathway to becoming a Nurse.
2. Nurses should be ready to make sacrifices whenever the clarion calls as was pointed out by Chairman Mao; Whenever there is a struggle, there is sacrifice.
3. I sincerely commend the effort of the present NMCN Registrar in re-positioning Nursing but there is still much to be done.
Roll up your sleeves sir, re-position Nursing education and your name will be written in glittering gold.
4. Schools of Post Basic Nursing should be converted to Post Graduate Schools, enough of Certificate Courses with no academic equivalence.
5. The bridge of RN to BNSc should be looked into as it is done in the advanced clime, standards shouldn't be compromised.
The sacrifice of "yesteryears" are the gains of today so will the sacrifice of today become the gains of years to come. We owe the profession and generation yet unborn a dignified Nursing profession.
I am just a concerned Nurse
I am Nurse Afrika (OLANIYAN MUIDEEN ABIOLA)