On January 7, 2024, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) unveiled updated guidelines and prerequisites for nurses seeking certificate verification with foreign nursing boards or councils.
According to the revised guidelines, applicants must now demonstrate a minimum of two years of post-qualification experience from the issuance date of their permanent practising license. These guidelines, signed by the Registrar/Secretary General of NMCN, Dr. Faruk Abubakar, were made public on the council’s official platform on X.
Nigerian nurses show disapproval.
However, nurses and members of social media communities have shown disapproval of the new guidelines for nurses in Nigeria. While speaking to a nursing student under a pseudonym, Lola Daniel, she explained that this new guideline only reflects the NMCN’s lackadaisical attitude towards the future of nurses in Nigeria. She said, “The NMCN is supposed to be a body that fights for the rights of nurses in Nigeria and protects us, but it looks to me like they are letting politics in the way of their jobs.”
“They clearly know how well sought after nurses are in every part of the world, and what they are trying to do is to hinder us from going to countries that respect and understand the impact of nurses. If only they would learn a few things from these other countries about how to treat their nurses, they wouldn’t be so grossly understaffed. These childish rules and restrictions that they brought out do nothing but show how backwards the nursing system in Nigeria is and has always been.”
What the process involves
The process for certificate verification entails visiting the designated portal and initiating the verification application by accessing the provided link. A non-refundable fee per application is required, as specified on the portal, which covers courier services to the applicant’s training institution(s), workplace, and the respective Foreign Board.
Eligible candidates must hold an active practising license valid for at least six months beyond the application date. Any application submitted with a provisional license will be automatically rejected.
Additionally, the council mandates the submission of a letter of good standing from the Chief Executive Officer of the applicant’s current workplace(s). This is also needed from the last nursing training institution attended. These letters should be addressed directly to the Registrar/CEO of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria; submissions through the applicant will not be accepted.
This entire process implies that nursing and midwifery students who have just graduated from school must then complete the one-year internship, serve for another year in the Nigerian Youth Service Corps, and then serve for two years in the country before they are allowed to apply for the certificate that will enable them to practice in foreign countries. The application process for this certificate would take another six months for verification.
According to the NMCN, these updated requirements aim to streamline the verification process. It also helps ensure the competence and credibility of applicants seeking recognition with foreign nursing boards and councils. But to Nigerian nurses, these requirements signify an attempt to keep nurses in the country despite being overworked and underpaid.