The nurses expressed displeasure over what they described as an attempt to hinder their freedom to pursue career opportunities, asking the council to reverse the rule.
Some nurses under the aegis of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), FCT Chapter, on Monday, protested against the new verification certification guidelines recently released by Nigeria and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NMCN recently released a circular stating that nurses must have a minimum of two years post-qualification experience from the date of issuance of the permanent practicing license before getting a verification certificate.
The NMCN had on February 7, issued a circular revising the guidelines for requesting verification of certificates for nurses and midwives, and was released in December 2023 after deactivation of the council verification portal.
The circular was signed by the Registrar of the Council, Dr Faruk Abubakar. The circular stated that “a non-refundable fee per application shall be paid for verification to foreign boards of nursing as specified on the portal and shall cover the cost of courier services to the applicant’s institution(s) of training, place of work, and foreign board.
“Eligible applicants must have a minimum of two years post qualification experience from the date of issuance of the permanent practicing licence. Any application with a provisional licence shall be rejected outright.
“The council shall request a letter of good standing from the chief executive officer of the applicant’s place(s) of work and the last nursing training institution attended and responses on these shall be addressed directly to the Registrar/CEO, NMCN.
“Please note that the council shall not accept such letter(s) through the applicant.”
The council also stated that applicants must have active practicing licences with a minimum of six months to the expiration date, and processing of verification applications would take a minimum of six months. It stated that the implementation of the guidelines takes effect from March 1, 2024.
Meanwhile, during the protest, the nurses expressed displeasure over what they described as an attempt to hinder their freedom to pursue career opportunities, asking the council to reverse the rule.
The nurses also during the protest, asked the council to address welfare, salary scale, shortage of staff, and other rights, which was carried out within the NMCN’s premises in Abuja.
NAN reports that the nurses and midwives were at the NMCN premises singing and carrying placards peacefully to express their displeasure. Some of the placards read: “Address unemployment among nurses, address quackery, address nurses welfare.
“#No to verification rules. Stop frustrating the Nigerian nurses, we are going through a lot already, Protect nurses, protect healthcare.”
Cynthia Adeyeri who spoke to newsmen, urged the government to improve the welfare of nurses, instead of issuing new guidelines on certificate verification. She said the nurses were at NMCN to protest against the new verification rules for certificates and to give the Registrar a letter to express their displeasure over the matter.
She added “we are saying no to making us work two years before we can leave (the country); we are saying no to getting a letter of good standing from the CMD from our hospitals, and we are saying no to other things in the circular.
“The government should dialogue with young nurses to ask us why we are leaving Nigeria. We have poor healthcare infrastructure and that is why people are leaving.
“The welfare of nurses in Nigeria is very poor, nurses want to go to where they will have better pay and better welfare, we want the council to increase our pay and make the system better for both nurses and patients.”
Another nurse, Isioma Alexis, said nurses in the country are against the circular issued by the nursing council.
She said “We are saying no to the circular that was released. There is no correlation between getting a letter of good standing from where we worked before to getting the verification certificate.
“We are telling them to reverse everything contained in that circular to what it used to before, both the ones they have not even implemented or what they are still thinking of implementing are contained in that circular.
“We are thinking of improvement but they are giving us a shock of our lives.”
Meanwhile, the Registrar of the council, Dr Farouk Abubakar, while addressing the nurses, said their complaints would be addressed as soon as possible.
He said, “We have listened to you and we are going to address your plight in a couple of days.”
He also assured the protesting nurses that the letter they submitted to his office would be looked at holistically and every issue addressed.
“Nigeria is our only country, we don’t have any other country apart from Nigeria. Nobody is against you traveling and whatever policy that is coming on board is for the best interest of Nigerians.”
“You have written your complaints and we will look at them one by one and get back to you, go back to your respective places of work, and I assure you that in a couple of days, we will respond.”