Nurses affiliated with the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Abuja chapter, took to the streets on Monday to express their dissatisfaction with the latest verification certification guidelines issued by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN).
The protest, held at the NMCN’s office in Abuja, underscored the nurses’ frustration and apprehension regarding policies they believe could hinder their professional growth and limit access to career opportunities.
Their discontent stems from a circular released by the NMCN on February 7, 2024, outlining revised guidelines for certificate verification for nurses and midwives. This move has sparked considerable backlash from the nursing community, who perceive the new regulations as overly restrictive and detrimental to their career advancement.
Protest participants urged the NMCN to reconsider these guidelines and prioritize addressing critical issues affecting the nursing profession, including welfare, salary scales, staff shortages, and other fundamental rights in their work environment.
The controversy surrounding the verification process intensified after The PUNCH reported the deactivation of the verification portal on the NMCN’s website in December 2023, causing unrest and uncertainty among nursing professionals. The subsequent revision of the verification guidelines has further fueled tensions, prompting nurses to demand a more transparent and supportive approach from the regulatory body.
According to the circular signed by the Registrar of the council, Dr Faruk Abubakar, applicants must meet specific criteria, including a minimum of two years post-qualification experience and possession of an active practicing license. The processing of verification applications is expected to take a minimum of six months, with the guidelines slated for implementation from March 1, 2024.
During the protest, nurses and midwives sang and carried placards around the NMCN premises, bearing inscriptions such as “Address unemployment among nurses,” “Stop frustrating Nigerian nurses,” and “#No to verification rules,” among others. The demonstration aimed to draw attention to the nurses’ grievances and advocate for their rights within the healthcare sector.