Friday 12 November 2021


 Ahead of the next National Council on Establishments (NCE) meeting, UGONSA has written to the heads of service (HOS) of the 36 states of the federation and their permanent secretaries on establishments a reminder for passage of the proper placement memo of the BNSs degree submitted by the Federal Ministry of Health. Below is a full text of a sample of the letter:

The Head of Service,

Abia State Civil Service,

Office of the Head of Service,

79, Abiriba Road, Bende Road,

Umuahia, Abia State.



Permanent Secretary on Establishment, Abia State



Nightingales’ greeting from our members comprising nurses with minimum qualification of first degree in nursing.

2.      We appreciate the efforts of the National Council on Establishment (NCE) at fostering equity and fairness in the Civil Service of the Federation. However, we are writing your esteemed office a reminder to our earlier letter on the above subject matter Ref No. UG/NAT/20/HOS/AB/01 dated June 8, 2020, and to again request that you deploy your patriotic latitudes to ensure that equity and fairness are extended to the nursing profession.

3.      It is pertinent we appraise the issue at stake to refresh your memory on the inexplicable injustice that has been meted on the members of the nursing profession.

     2. As of date, nurse interns are the only interns in our health sector that are “under-placed” 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 university graduates of nursing are aberrantly employed into the Civil Service on Grade Level 09 (CONHESS 08). In contrast, their counterparts in other core healthcare disciplines are employed in the same health system on Grade Level 10 (CONHESS 09), thereby under-placing the university graduates of nursing at a one-grade level below their counterparts.

     3. More appalling is that this injustice of under-placement 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 requirements and course duration for the first degree in the university.

    4.  Moreso, the wrongful under-placement is at variance with the gazetted verdict of the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) 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 document).  By the unambiguous provision of the IAP verdict, the basis for the appointment of graduates of Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm) degree, as well as the university graduates of the other core healthcare disciples unto Grade Level 10 (CONHESS 09) post-NYSC, also justifies why the graduates of the Bachelor of Nursing Science (BNSc) 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 requirements and course duration for the first degree in the university plus a one-year internship training pre-NYSC.

    5. The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) understands that this injustice is grievous and detrimental to the progress of our health system, hence presented the case to the NCE for rectification at its 42nd meeting as “A Memorandum on Proper Grading of the Bachelor of Nursing Science (BNSc) Graduates” (please refer Annexure B). Had the issues on proper placements or adjustments on cadre/rank/post/GL fallen within the purview of the FMOH, this glaring injustice would have been rectified without bureaucratic hassles. The FMOH has washed its hands off the injustice by presenting the memo to the National Council on Establishment (NCE) on whose purview lies the rectification of the anomaly. It is now incumbent on the NCE (which your office is an indispensable part of) to live above board and once again show equity and fairness by endorsing and passing the memo.

     6.  As part of its bureaucratic process, we learned that the NCE, at its 42nd meeting held in Ikeja, Lagos (from November 30 to December 4, 2020), referred the matter to its standing (technical) committee for in-depth studies for consideration at the next NCE meeting. While we are not opposed to the bureaucratic processes of the NCE, we wish to humbly infer that the case is crystal clear and has no justification for further delay. Injustice pervades where two equal things are deliberately made unequal. There is no justification whatsoever in logic, principles, rationality, or common sense, for treating the university graduates of nursing as subservient to their par and counterparts in other core healthcare disciplines.

7.   In countries with exemplary health systems where our political class usually runs to for treatment, nurses earn more than their counterparts in other core healthcare disciplines on the basis of workload.

8. In terms of workload, nurses are the heartbeat of the hospital. They are the main frontline healthcare professionals 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, liaison with patients' family members and social network systems, and helping patients die with some measure of comfort and dignity when recovery is paled, and death is inevitable.

     9.   The curriculum of the Nigerian BNSc degree is robust and among the best in the world and has enabled Nigerian nurses to thrive and compete favourably with a superlative performance in international arenas.

   10. The curriculum of the BNSc degree as designed and set by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Nursing & Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) is in line with the best international standard such that the BNSc programme produces polyvalent nurse/midwife practitioners whose roles in addition to health promotion, disease & illness prevention, health restoration, acute care & treatment, rehabilitation & palliative care, also cut across management and administration. Thus, the university education and training of nurses verily equipped them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and capabilities for critical thinking, clinical reasoning & judgment, and the clinical competence to play and coordinate independent, dependent, and interdependent roles in our healthcare delivery system.

    11. We are therefore calling on your esteemed office as an indispensable part of the NCE to put on a patriotic garb of equity, justice, and fairness and see that the memo for righting this wrong which has been lying on the table of the NCE is approved without further delay at the forthcoming NCE meeting.


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

1.      pass and approve at the next NCE meeting the Memorandum on Proper Grading of the Bachelor of Nursing Science (BNSc) Graduates 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 as is obtainable with other core healthcare professions.

2.      make correcting the perennial injustice of wrongful under-placement of graduate nurses your personal project and rank it among the topmost priority service problems to throw the weight of your esteemed office behind for on-the-spot rectification at the next NCE meeting.

Submitted with a deep sense of respect and responsibility.


         CHIEF (HON.) S.E.O. EGWUENU                                          NURSE P.O. ETENG

            National President                                                                Ag.National Secretary

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