Thursday, 26 September 2019

UGONSA NORTHERN ZONE SPEAKS ON NMCN-ABU ACCREDITATION SQUABBLE

RESTORATION OF ACCREDITATION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF NURSING, ABU ZARIA: FACTS, FALLACIES AND KUDOS BY UGONSA NORTHERN ZONE

The University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA), Northern zone, appreciates the efforts by various stakeholders that culminated to restoration of accreditation to the department of Nursing Science, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria especially the efforts of the management of ABU Zaria, members of the House of Representatives, the Nursing & Midwifery Council of Nigeria (N&MCN), Students and Staff of the department of Nursing Science, the ABU alumni and the former staff of the department of Nursing Science ABU, who throughout the period of the unfortunate fray, showed maturity and decorum in the face of unwarranted mudslinging, despite unquantifiable contributions and commitment to building up the department.

2. Notwithstanding that the accreditation of the Department of Nursing has been restored, it is imperative to address the misconceptions elaborated in a press statement that was made while the issue was raging, as published on the online media, medicalworldnigeria.com, and widely circulated on social media, with the title “Academic Situation in the Department of Nursing Science Ahmadu Bello University” dated 10th September, 2019 purportedly made by the management of ABU Zaria and signed by the Registrar of the school. Reading through the statement, the fallacious innuendoes it was riddled with at first made us doubt that it actually emanated from the ABU management because we found it hard to believe that the management of the revered ABU Zaria could throw caution to the
wind and stoop so low to spew such verbiage. But as the ABU management has not come up to disown the statement till date, the possibility that they actually authored such a misleading statement
cannot be totally ruled out.

3. Our association which is the umbrella body of University Graduates of Nursing Sciences is concerned because the statement falsely painted the nursing profession and its graduates especially in Northern Nigeria in bad light, and therefore is obligated to speak up.

4. Having taken time to investigate and unravel the truth from current and past students and staff of the department of Nursing Science, ABU, we feel it proper at this time to set the records straight.

5. It is our honest view that the authors misinformed the public and university community by changing the narrative probably to suit their personal ulterior agenda and further destabilize the department of Nursing Sciences.

6. The content of the said publication clearly showed that the authors were either grossly ignorant of the regulatory functions of the NMCN as powered by its establishment Act and its role in maintaining
standards in nursing education and practice in Nigeria or being deliberately mischievous as evidenced
by the declaration that council registration and regulation was meant for only nurses practicing in the
clinical area and does not apply to nurses practicing nursing education. It is settled that the NMCN registers and regulates all nurses and every shred of nursing practice, be it in the clinical area or in the
nursing classroom.

7. Globally, a foreign nurse or a foreign trained nurse cannot practice any form of nursing in another
country where such a nurse was not trained without first of all being registered as a nurse in the new country. The Act establishing N&MCN (Cap. N143, LFN 2004) followed the global trend as it succinctly stipulated that every foreign trained nurse must register with the N&MCN in order to practice in Nigeria, be it in the classroom or clinical area. Instead of being sober for breaking the law of the country by allowing a foreign trained nurse practice in its facility without being registered by the NMCN as stipulated by the law, the authors of the press statement purportedly from ABU management was audacious to signpost their ignorance or mischief, unfortunately ridiculing the revered institution.

8. The publication again in another display of either deep rooted mischief or crass ignorance labeled registered nurses with Bachelor of Nursing Science (BNSc) degree who possessed MSc and PhD in other areas relevant to nursing as “unqualified” to teach and supervise undergraduate and post-graduate nursing students in negation of the known global trend. The publication went on to even blame the lecturers it mischievously labeled as “unqualified” as the cause of the problem, thus tactically sweeping aside the real cause of the imbroglio which was allowing a foreign trained nurse to practice as a nursing lecturer in ABU without being registered as a nurse by the NMCN as stipulated by the law. To have turned around to blame the poor lecturers for its self inflicted woes was not only pathetic but also a languid display of mythomania and pseudolagia fantastica. The authors should have been bold enough to name the lecturers they were referring to if they were very sure the lecturers were indeed the culprits.

9. Across the World, highly rated universities within and outside the country have, in their employ, reputable lecturers, with the same qualifications which the ABU barefaced statement mischievously labeled as “unqualified”, impacting positively, and they will continue to have them because nursing education in the university is polyvalent and transcends clinical nursing. We hope that the memo of the National body of UGONSA on global trends in nursing finds the authors of the ABU statement to help them get educated on who is qualified or not qualified to teach nursing. In this case, the only person not qualified to teach nursing is the foreigner who was not registered by the NMCN as a nurse in Nigeria. Ironically, the lecturers that were mischievously labeled as “unqualified” were the very people that started the ABU department of Nursing Science and built it to its present commendable level as testified to by past and current students and staff of the department.

10. Can ABU management deny that the history and foundation of their department of Nursing Sciences cannot be complete without strong reference to the invaluable input and contributions of those academic staff they unfortunately debased in their publication as “unqualified”? It is on record that the pioneer head of department (HOD) of nursing ABU, Late Dr. Zhara Yusuf (RN, RM, RNT, M.Ed, PhD.) of blessed memory had MSc & PhD in education.

11. To have attributed the success of the department of nursing to the unregistered expatriate professor while demeaning the indigenous nurse lecturers who worked tirelessly to stand the department, is not only pathetic but amounts to standing logic on its head. Can a tree make a forest? and can one offer what one does not have?

12. The efforts of ABU management in bringing the expatriate professor to promote academic standard is highly appreciated and commendable by our association but not compelling her to register with the N&MCN as stipulated by the law stands condemnable just like the thinly veiled attempt to attribute achievement of full accreditation status by the department to her efforts solely. Can an individual not registered by the N&MCN achieve full N&MCN accreditation for her department?

13. The great roles played by the lecturers that are now unfortunately vilified should rather be acknowledged and commended as, truly, a tree does not make a forest. Those who seek to change the narratives are nothing but desperados seeking to pitch the hard working staff of the nursing department against each other in ABU Zaria.

14. Our investigation revealed that the expatriate has been in the country as an employee of ABU since year 2011 but only approached the N&MCN for registration and licensing between October and November, 2018 long after the university had received the N&MCN’s accreditation report of 2015 and after the second accreditation report of 2018 that strongly frowned at her non-registration with the Council. This is despite complaints from various team members of other accreditation visits to the department including the National Universities Commission (NUC) accreditation visits of 2012 and 2017.

15. In the course of our investigations we were also reliably informed that only her transcript was transmitted to the N&MCN sometimes in November 2018 which is her first official contact with the N&MCN. With this finding, it is clear that the innocent expatriate professor was not properly guided by the ABU management whom she works for. The embarrassment this has caused the expatriate professor is, to say the least, regrettable and could have been avoided if the ABU management had truly played their role.

16. Furthermore, the expatriate Professor of Nursing Sciences holds a clinical degree of Doctor of Nursing Sciences (DNSc), and the road map to nursing education and practice developed by N&MCN captures DNSc for clinical progression hence the university should give all necessary support to the expatriate professor to register with the Council. Her presence in the department should be utilized to develop terminal clinical degrees in the department as this will help maintain the University brand which is known for high quality of its products and sustain her much chanted slogan “an ABU graduate is ahead of you naturally”.

17. It is correct that there is currently a dearth of lecturers with MSc and PhD in Nursing Sciences, and that the NUC, N&MCN, NANMM (National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives) and UGONSA encourage career lecturers to try to maintain their development in core MSc and PhD nursing to address the shortage, but that does not translate to saying that a lecturer with BNSc/BSc Nursing and MSc and PhD in another relevant field is not qualified to teach and supervise undergraduates and postgraduate studies in Nursing. By this assertion the authors of the said press statement clearly showed that they do not understand the polyvalent nature of the bachelor of nursing Sciences (B.NSc.) degree.

18. Again we also discovered further mischief in the statement where it claimed that the news that the department will be closed down and that the students therein have no future, may not be unconnected to those academic staff who have been found to lack the requisite academic qualifications to teach undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in nursing sciences. Our investigation revealed that the claim was a phantasm and flight of fancy of the author of the said press statement. The final year students of the department, who peacefully protested the delay in the resolution of the issue between the University and N&MCN, were addressed by the principal officers of the University’s College of Medical Sciences and not the nursing lecturers being made scapegoats. One of the Principal Officers was quoted to have made statements that infuriated and devastated the students and led to some suicidal attempts which were reported and managed in the University Medical Centre. Our association found some content of the said address misleading and not totally correct. However, in fairness to the said principal officers the recorded conversation, though capable of being variously perceived to mean different things, was contextual and articulated within reasonable perspectives.

19. UGONSA Northern zone hereby advices the ABU management to tender a solemn apology to the lecturers who were mischievously demeaned as “unqualified” and seek out strategies to negotiate a return of those that have left, back to the department of nursing. It was a mistake to have provoked some of them to the point that they decided to leave the department. As they left ABU, other universities that know and appreciate their value quickly embraced them and they have remained very relevant in helping these universities develop their departments of nursing science.

Signed:

Nur. B.B Afoi                                          Nur. M.A. Garba
UGONS President Northern Zone              UGONSA Secretary Northern zone

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