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Let’s Fight Nursing Brain Drain, VC Tasks NMCN

There is an urgent need to mitigate the issue of brain drain in Nigeria’s health sector, the Vice-Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, has said. To this end, the Vice-Chancellor called on the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) to come up with effective policies to address the prevailing exodus of nurses abroad.

Prof. Olatunde, who lamented that qualified nurses, among other healthcare professionals, leave the country for greener pastures on a regular basis, said finding a lasting solution to the problem would reduce the high attrition rate on the country’s health care delivery. He stated that the University, in conjunction with relevant institutions, needs to respond to the dynamics of what is going on in the society.

 The Vice-Chancellor made the submission in his remarks during the Exit Report of the NMCN Professional Accreditation Team which visited the University recently for the professional accreditation of the Department of Nursing Sciences. The team, comprising five members, was led by Dr Kayode Olubiyi.

While welcoming the visiting team, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, disclosed that not less than 60 accreditation exercises had been carried out in the University by the National Universities Commission (NUC) as well as relevant professional bodies in the last one year and none of the University’s programmes recorded denied accreditation.

Members of the NMCN Accreditation Team

He explained that the essence of accreditation was to ”have third eye” and ensure programmes run by Universities meet the required standards.  Prof. Olatunde, who stated that the Nursing programme was introduced three years ago by the University and domiciled in the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences at Obafemi Awolowo College of Health Sciences, Sagamu, expressed satisfaction with the progress being made with  the Nursing programme.

He equally expressed delight at the synergy and cross-fertilization of ideas existing between the University and Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH) which he identified as a place OOU students had used to make great contributions to the nation’s health system.
”The University has gone very far. In 1982 when it was established, the University started with five Faculties. Between that time and now, the University has progressed from just five to 13 Faculties and we have 54 academic departments and 77 programmes. Nursing is one of the new programmes, including linguistic and music that we introduced three years ago and they are doing very well,” the Vice-Chancellor said.

 On the admission quota given the University for the nursing programme, the Vice-Chancellor called for upward increase from present 50 to 100 students. He noted that though the University has adequate staff-student ratio for nursing, it would also ensure commensurate staff-student ratio immediately when the quota is increased. According to him, the increase is imperative to addressing attrition rate being experienced in the nation’s health sector.

He said, ”If we have students of, say 100, I can assure you that we would have a staff-student ratio that would match it immediately. I would appeal to the Council to help us look at it from all sides of the coin. If you increase the number, the attrition rate will be less. We have this problem because the attrition rate is high.’’

‘’In the last six months, about 35 have left OOUTH. Let me assume that the 50 we are producing are working and 35 left, who are going to replace them? But if we have 100 and if 35 left, we will still have people to fill vacancies. So, we actually need to find a way round it. We are training people to solve a problem. We have to solve the human capital problem of this nation.’’

Speaking on behalf of the accreditation team, Dr Olubiyi commended the University Management for creating the enabling environment for the nursing programme to thrive despite daunting  challenges in the system. According to him, the curriculum presented to the team was adequate and  well packaged while the academic records were also found to be inclusive and thorough.

The team leader also lauded the University for the good infrastructures, including spacious lecture rooms, available for the nursing students. He further observed that the staff-student ratio was appropriate for now but could be worked on for future purposes.
Describing nursing as a very important profession in our contemporary world, Dr Olubiyi urged OOU authorities to consider upgrading the programme currently from department status to a Faculty. He declared that the present leadership of the Council is committed to improving the quality of practice and ensuring nursing graduates can live up to societal expectations.

Some members of the University Management in a group photograph with NMCN Accreditation Team

‘’Every University wants to have Nursing Programme. But it’s not done by keeping the students in one cubicle. If you have space for 150, the Council will approve. If the facilities are good, nothing stops you from having a Faculty of Nursing,” he stated.
”Nursing is a professional programme and whoever is so trained must be ready for that practicals. Without practicals in Nursing, it’s nothing. We are training people who will be fit for licence and also be appropriate for practice. These are people the present generation will hand over to. So, if we allow anything to affect it, we are only digging our own grave,” he added.

Other members of the accreditation team, including Prof. Folorunso Omisakin, Ghazali Yelwa, Roseline Solarin and Kadijat Olayokun, also offered suggestions on how best to improve the Nursing programme in their separate remarks.
Members of the University Management Team who received the professional accreditation panel included the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Prof. Deji Agboola; Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Charles Adekoya; Registrar, Mr Femi Ogunwomoju, who was represented by the Deputy Registrar, Council Affairs, Mr Tunji Akintan; University Librarian, Dr Adebambo Oduwole; and Bursar, Mr Semiu Makinde.

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