Saturday 12 November 2016


The Special guest of honour, Engr. (Chief) Dave Umahi (Ekubara Oha), The Executive Governor of Ebonyi State
The Chief Guest of Honour, Comrade Chinedu Ogah,OON, The Chief Executive Officer Chiboy Group of Companies
The Resident Guest of Honour, Prof. Francis I. Idike, The Vice Chancellor Ebonyi State University,Abakaliki
The Revered Guest of Honour, Dr. Daniel A. Umezuruike, The Honourable Commissioner of Health Ebonyi State
The Guest of Honour, Dr. Onwe Emeka Ogah, The Chief Medical Director Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki
Other Distinguished dignitaries here present
Dear Colleagues in nursing profession
Colleagues from other healthcare professions
Gentlemen of the press
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

I count it as a privilege to welcome this galaxy of professionals and personalities to the opening session of this epoch-making event of the 17th National Professional Conference of the University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) formerly known as the Graduate Nurses Association of Nigeria (GNAN). UGONSA is an association of fully qualified nurses with at least first degree in nursing science, registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) under companies and allied matters Act no 1 1990 part C.

Like some other professions, Nursing has had its era of practice without degree. In order to meet up with the increasing complexity of nursing roles occasioned by increasing complexity of client’s needs, the profession raised the bar and moved into the university. The result has been the production of polyvalent nurses who are not only responsive to changing needs of patients but can function as nurse educators, administrators and clinicians.

Today nursing products of Universities render services not only in hospitals, but also in international, multinational, commercial and other institutional houses. They also educate nurses from basic programmes of Nursing/Midwifery through the post-basic to the degree levels. That we have Professors of Nursing today is a thing to be proud of because nursing, which hitherto had been looked upon as a field having limited scope and meant for professional mediocre, can now be regarded to be gainfully challenging as any other profession where brilliant scholars distinguish themselves.

UGONSA believes that nursing is a unique, full-fledged and autonomous profession, having its foundation in knowledge and understanding of the nature of man.

Kindly permit me to abridge the aims and objectives of the association as follows:
a.    To uphold the principle of good nursing ethics.
b.    To co-operate with all Nursing and Medical Professional organizations in promoting the ideals of nursing and welfare of nurses.
c.    To advance the professional standard and intellectual growth and development of all nurses in Nigeria through professional continuing education and research in the field of nursing.
  •     To enthrone a unified baccalaureate nursing education as the baseline for practice and harmonization of schemes of service for nurses as well as upgrade of post-basic programmes to post-graduate with a compulsory internship training for enhanced and qualitative clinical expertise.
We have assembled here today to champion the course of making our vision a reality.
This two-day conference being organized by UGONSA aims at exploring the strategies and modalities of successful take-off of internship training and proper placement of graduates of Bachelor of Nursing Science (B.N.Sc) degree, upgrade of schools of nursing and midwifery to degree awarding institutions and reformation of nursing and midwifery establishment Act to promote performance and responsiveness of nurses and midwives to clients needs.

The import of internship training cannot be over emphasized. It is the bridge that blends theoretical knowledge with clinical expertise for qualitative client care. Its major import is to afford the fresh graduates of practicum disciplines, especially in the healthcare delivery system, the opportunity to develop psychomotor skills needful to elaborate the cognitive education acquired in the University. It was on this basis that the National Universities Commission (NUC) approved internship training for graduates of core healthcare professions such as medicine, nursing, pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Science, Optometry, Physiotherapy and so on.

It is therefore  disheartening and demoralizing  that nurses  are the only professionals singled out for exclusion in such  a vital training  scheme approved as mandatory by the National Universities Commission (NUC) for the psychomotor development of  baccalaureate graduates of core healthcare professions. NUC, like Nigerians, is not oblivious of the fact that our University system develops the scientific and cognitive domain more than the technical and psychomotor domain, hence the approval of 12 months internship training for the fresh graduates to blend theory with clinical expertise.

 It therefore defies logic that nurses are the only professionals left out of the scheme where as mounting evidence underscores that they need the internship training more than any other member of the health team since they stay closer and longer with patients round-the- clock.
Accessory import of the scheme is pecuniary incentives during the training and decent placement upon employment in the civil service on at least CONHESS 09 post-NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) after the training”.

“If not for a possible sinister plot to exclude nurses from the pecuniary rewards of the internship training, what other reason could it be for robbing Nigerians of qualitative clinical services they stand to gain if nurses that their lives are entrusted upon; who stay with and by them in times of health and illness, from birth till death, are trained in the scheme to enhance their capacity and competence to effectively and efficiently carryout their critical responsibility?
This is obvious as the graduates of B.N.Sc degree are aberrantly placed on CONHESS 07 post-NYSC whereas their counterparts in other core healthcare professions are placed on at least CONHESS 09 post-NYSC.

Internship training fosters qualitative client care because it is one of the surest ways of maintaining a high standard in theory and practice which is sine qua non to meeting the increasing complexity of health needs, which nurses are in the fore front to drive. Medical tourism by Nigerians to other countries shall surely abate the day internship training is implemented for nurses because with that they stand to get in Nigerian hospitals what they get in hospitals abroad. I therefore call on our distinguished dignitaries and other well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the powers-that-be to give to nurses their due training and entitlements and to Nigerians their inalienable right to qualitative healthcare services.

Because nursing is an honourable and a dignified profession whose practitioners must make altruistic sacrifices, it demands humility, dedication, intelligence, and being empathetic to the clients. To achieve this, a sound baccalaureate entry qualification into the profession has to be given serious consideration. It therefore follows that for Nurses, the frustrating conservatism that advancement to the top has to strictly follow seniority by length of service to the exclusion of higher education and efficiency of performance, has to give way to recognition of educational and professional excellence for progressive hope of positioning the nursing profession in the limelight. This is so because the inertia on the part of nurses is not because they are allergic to progressive change but because the present structure is bereft of motivation that fosters aspiration for higher education. 

For care delivery and administrative expediency, it is the expectation of nurses that Federal Government should review the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria Establishment Act to lessen the rigidity of the restricting rein that holds back nurses and midwives from performing with the full set of competencies for which they were educated, trained and licensed. Provisions of this Act had often prevented nurses from exercising their full knowledge and skills.

Contribution of Nurses and Midwives to primary healthcare can be strengthened and enhanced based on a reorganization of the Act through legislation to allow Nurses and Midwives practice to the full extent of their education and training to afford Nigerians, especially those in rural areas, the opportunity to reap the full benefit of Nurses and Midwives training, skills and knowledge. Government should also equip hospitals, nursing institutions and encourage upgrade of basic nursing education to baccalaureate level, so that nurses can perform at their optimum.

On this note, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to the salt of the nation, Ebonyi State, and as we deliberate on the professional issues in nursing during the plenary sessions, I enjoin all nurses, our colleagues of other healthcare professions, the media and all people of good-will, to join hands in bringing about a nursing profession that posterity will appreciate and be proud of as an avenue of rendering qualitative healthcare services to humanity.
Thank you all for listening. God bless you!

This document should be cited as follow:
University Graduates of Nursing Science Association [UGONSA]. (2015). President’s Welcome Address. Abakaliki. 17th National Professional Conference.

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