Friday, 13 March 2020

PROPER PLACEMENT: UGONSA REACHES OUT TO THE NEW HCSF

In a congratulatory letter to the new Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) Ref no. UG/NAT/20/HCSF/01 dated March 10, 2020, the University Graduate of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) has made a strong case for approval of Proper Placement of graduate nurses at the next National Council on Establishment (NCE) meeting. 
Below is the full script of the letter:


Dr. Folasade Omolara Yemi–Esan,
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation,
Federal Secretariat Complex,
Phase II, Shehu Shagari Way,
Three Arms Zone, Abuja
Tel: 23492908853, 23492906342

Madam,
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR DESERVED APPOINTMENT AS THE HEAD OF CIVIL SERVICE OF THE FEDERATION
A Passionate Request to Rectify the Injustice of Underplacement of Graduate Nurses at The Next National Council on Establishment (NCE) Meeting

The University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) and nurses under its commune heartily congratulate you on your deserved appointment as the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF). Your elevation and confirmation as the substantive HCSF from the acting capacity by the President Muhammadu Buhari led government is a testament that you utilized all the opportunities you had in the past to serve our fatherland in various capacities with a great sense of purpose and worthy accountability. We pray God to grant you abundant grace, wisdom, good health and strength to enable you excel and do greater things for our civil service with this new post.

     2. We deem it appropriate to intimate you, at this budding period of your tenure, on the perennial injustice of underplacement of graduate nurses, which the National Council on Establishment (NCE) is yet to rectify, to enable you form a robust framework for righting the wrongs of yesterday to enthrone a repositioned service in our health system that is equitable and fair to all the healthcare team members, especially the nurses that have so long been marginalized and deeply traumatized.

3    3. As at date, nurse interns are the only interns in our health sector that are underplaced on Grade Level 08 (.i.e. CONHESS 07) whereas their counterparts from other core healthcare disciplines such as Pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Science, Physiotherapy, and so on, are placed on Grade Level 09 (.i.e. CONHESS 08). Post-NYSC (National Youth Service Corps), the graduate nurses are aberrantly employed into the Civil Service on Grade Level 09 (CONHESS 08) whereas their counterparts in other core healthcare disciplines are employed in the same health system on Grade Level 10 (CONHESS 09).  

     4. What is more? This injustice of underplacement of graduate nurses to the tune of one grade level below par occurs despite that nursing and the aforementioned core healthcare disciplines have similar entry requirement and course duration for the first degree in the university.

5   5. Moreso, the wrongful underplacement is at variance with the gazetted verdict of the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) award of the year 1981, which granted that in the healthcare delivery service of Nigeria the profession of Nursing is on parity with that of Pharmacy as is the case in Great Britain (Please refer Annexure A for the IAP award document).  By the unambiguous provision of the IAP award, the basis for appointment of graduates of Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm) degree as well as the university graduates of the other aforementioned core healthcare disciples unto Grade Level 10 (CONHESS 09) post-NYSC also justifies why the graduates of the Bachelor of Nursing Science (B.N.Sc) degree, who are on parity with them, should be appointed on the same grade level, especially as both professions of nursing and pharmacy and the other healthcare disciplines aforementioned have similar entry requirement and course duration for the first degree in the university plus a one-year internship training pre-NYSC.

6   6. When we registered our displeasure over this wrongful shortchange of nurses, to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), and demanded for an upgrade of the salary grade level (GL) of the graduate nurses, in the spirit and letter of the IAP award, to be at par with what is obtainable with their counterparts in other core healthcare disciplines, whose entry points in the civil service are Grade Level 09 (CONHESS 08) for interns and Grade Level 10 (CONHESS 09) post-NYSC, the ministry in her reply, vide a circular Ref No. C.6093/T/13 dated 19th June 2017, averred that issues on proper placements or adjustments on cadre/rank/post/GL fall within the purview of the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF)/National Council on Establishment (NCE) and not the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).

7   7. Consequently, the ministry advised that if our association (.i.e. UGONSA) wanted a review and upgrade of the current entry point for the graduate nurses, it should send a memorandum to the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) on a new proposed entry point of Grade Level 10 (CONHESS 09) post-NYSC against the Grade Level 09 (CONHESS 08) that is currently in place. The ministry added that the NMCN, after deliberation on the new memorandum, can forward same to the FMOH for onward transmission and submission to the HCSF for presentation at next NCE meeting for consideration (kindly refer Annexure B for the FMOH response).

    8. Based on the advice of the FMOH, we forwarded a memorandum to the NMCN proposing Grade Level 10 (CONHESS 09) as the entry point of the graduate nurses and as well recognizing higher degrees in nursing such as MSc and PhD in the nurses’ schemes of service. Having reliably learnt that the memo has been transmitted from the NMCN to the FMOH and that the FMOH has transmitted it to your esteemed office for consideration at the next NCE meeting, it portends that the issues of righting this unjustifiable wrong now lies on your table.
9    
     9. We feel dejected whenever we juxtapose the workload and contributions of nurses to patients’ care in our hospitals with this unwarranted ill-treatment of wrongful and inexplicable underplacement below par. 

1   10. In terms of workload, nurses are the frontline caregivers with the highest bedside visibility, who stay with patients round-the-clock from birth till death serving as a tapestry of care similar to the roles played by mothers in families; a tapestry woven through nurses' daily contact with patients, through attending to patients' physical, psychological, emotional or otherwise holistic needs, administering treatments and medications, monitoring patients' responses to those treatments and medications, helping patients to prevent illnesses or live with their illness or helping educate them about how to live with their illnesses, dealing with patients’ family members, and  helping patients die with some measure of comfort and dignity when recovery is paled and death is inevitable.

1  11. It therefore defies logic, common sense and rationality that nurses who play to our healthcare delivery system similar roles as what mothers play in our homes are the ones singled out for an unwarranted marginalization in entry point placement, for no tenable reason, in the same health system where they play a central coordinating role.

1   12. Our unwavering hope now lies in your ability to rise above whatever sentiment that might have informed this inexplicable and unjustifiable perennial ill-treatment of wrongful underplacement meted out to nurses by putting on a motherly and patriotic garb of equity, justice and fairness and see that the university graduates of nursing science get the same enhanced entry placement as their counterparts in other core healthcare disciplines during your tenure by righting this wrong at the next NCE meeting.

PRAYER
We passionately appeal and demand that you kindly, in collaboration with other members of our revered National Council on Establishment (NCE):

1   1. pass and approve at the next NCE meeting the memorandum on enhanced entry point and proper placement of graduates of Bachelor of Nursing Science (B.N.Sc) degree seeking to make Grade Level 09 (.i.e. CONHESS 08) the entry point for the nurse interns and Grade Level 10 (i.e. CONHESS 09) the entry point for the graduates post-NYSC and to recognize MSc and PhD in nursing in the nurses' schemes of service.

2   2. classify the lingering issue of wrongful underplacement of graduate nurses among the priority items of your tenure and verily work to rectify it at the next NCE meeting.

3      3. follow-up with the seven-member committee you recently inaugurated (chaired by the Niger State Head of Service, Mrs. Salamatu Abubakar) and see that this all-important issue of enhanced entry point and proper placement of the university graduates of nursing science at par with their counterparts in other healthcare disciplines which borders on equity, fairness, justice and inclusiveness in our health system is given a favourable leaning by the committee for express passage and approval at the next National Council on Establishment (NCE) meeting.

Once more, we offer you our most sincere congratulations for your deserved elevation to the topmost position in the Civil Service of the Federation and pledge our unalloyed support to your tenure as we look forward to productive cooperation with you.
Kindly accept the assurances of our highest regards!

                                                                     Signed:


CHIEF (HON.) S.E.O. EGWUENU                                    NURSE P.O. ETENG
          National President                                                           Ag.National Secretary


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