Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa has urged the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) to restructure its curriculum to promote practical experience of student nurses and other trainees in health institutions.
Diri made the call on Wednesday, while declaring open the 2021 Examiners’ Workshop organised by the NMCN in Yenagoa, with the theme: “Enhancing Professional Nursing and Midwifery Examinations Outcomes through Educator-Clinician Synergy.”
Diri, represented by his Deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, suggested that more emphasis should be placed on continuous assessment than on examinations for grading and certification of trainee nurses.
He maintained that the Nigerian public education system had placed too much emphasis on paper qualification at the expense of technical and practical skills that are actually needed to drive national development.
The governor noted that experience had shown that students and teachers have the capacity to easily compromise any education curriculum in the country that is strictly examination-based.
According to him, it is not the paper on which the certificate is printed that makes a professional nurse, but the practical skills he or she acquires through training.
The Bayelsa governor seized the opportunity to highlight some of the achievements his administration recorded in the health sector to include; the completion and inauguration of the Referral Hospital at Kaiama.
Others include the full accreditation of Faculty of Nursing at Niger Delta University, NDU and upgrading of the School of Nursing Tombia to College of Nursing and Midwifery, thereby increasing its admission capacity from 75 students to about 200 intake per session.
“The theme of your workshop is quite apt, but do we still need exams in this era and time? Is exam a true test of the student’s knowledge?
“We have over-emphasized certificates to the detriment of technicality, and sometimes technicality wins the day instead of the intellectuality that we exhibit.
“Quite a number of Nigerians are intellectuals, but most of us are not technical. And that is why instead of taking the path of industrial revolution, we are going on the lane of intellectualism.
“I do not believe that practical-oriented courses like medicine, nursing, pharmacy, community and environmental health and the rest of them, should be based on examination for convocation of students.
“I think that more practical and hands-on practice will make them more effective. The distinction of a nurse is not her good English, but that the nurse is able to do the practical components of her job,” he said.
In her remarks, the governor’s wife, Mrs Gloria Diri, lauded the Council for its favourable disposition towards upgrading the School of Nursing to a collegiate status.
According to her, the upgrade will impact positively on the curricular activities and graduates of the institution.
Diri, a professional nurse, used the opportunity to introduce three books authored by her, and encouraged the nursing students to take advantage of the publications to equip themselves professionally for the future.
The Chairman of the occasion, Dr Godbless Oyinke, thanked the NMCN for choosing Bayelsa as a host of the workshop and promised that the state would meet their expectations.
He called on the NMCN to look at the challenge of quackery and the attendant problems posed by auxiliary nurses who parade themselves without the requisite professional training and qualification.
On his part, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Pabara Igwele, appreciated the NMCN for its support and appealed to the Council to increase the admission slots at the College of Nursing from 150 to 200 in view of the ever increasing admission demand.
Also speaking, the Secretary and Registrar of NMCN Governing Council, Alhaji Umar Abubakar, said the workshop was a biennial event in the calendar of NMCN and would help deepen, update knowledge and skills of current and prospective Council Examiners on their roles and responsibilities.
While urging the participants to take the workshop seriously, he promised that the Council would soon approve a college status to the state-owned School of Nursing and Midwifery.
Earlier, the Director of Nursing Services in the State Ministry of Health, Mrs Cynthia Boufini, expressed delight that it was the first time the workshop was being hosted in the state, noting that it would be of great benefit to the profession.