The Fear that the School of Nursing, Umuahia, may be closed by the Nurses and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), has gripped the management and students of the institution.
Sources at the school hinted that the hammer of the Nursing practice regulatory body may fall on the institution due to non-accreditation of its courses.
These fears were corroborated by various persons who spoke during the capping/matriculation ceremony of the Batch B, 2015 set of students of the school held in Umuahia last weekend. The ceremony saw the capping of 30 students, of which only three were males.
The speeches alluded that the school was almost crippled by an embargo on student enrollment for about three years, between 2013 and 2015, slammed on it by the NMCN. However, the NMCN, in November 2015, lifted the embargo temporarily and granted the school a provisional accreditation status which would elapse next year.
Authorities of the school and other stakeholders lamented that none of the “shortfalls identified by the NMCN during its visit in 2015 have received attention” from Abia State Government, owners of the school.
Principal of the school, Mrs. Ijeoma Chikezie, who reeled out the teething problems of the school in her address, expressed fears that inability to bring the school up to the required standard “may result to another ban on student’s intake when the NMCN is expected to withdraw its provisional accreditation in 2017.”
She listed other problems of the school to include non-availability of adequate and conducive administrative and laboratory blocks to house the administrative and teaching staff, laboratory equipment, as well as a demonstration room that could accommodate about 50 students.
She further revealed that the school currently has only nine lecturers and seven clinical instructors. “Six of the lecturers are on contract and their contract terms will expire in October this year,” thus leaving the school with inadequate teaching staff that could effectively cover the curriculum of studies and, as well, meet the NMCN students-teacher ratio
The principal also disclosed that the school has been plunged into darkness for about three months as it has been disconnected from public power supply occasioned by indebtedness. The development, she lamented, has crippled academic and social activities in the school.
Besides, the principal is said to live outside the school premises due to fear of insecurity as the few aged security staff of the school were ill-equipped for the job. The school also lacks gardeners, messengers and porters, among others.
She therefore appealed to the state government to urgently intervene and save the school from being closed down.
Responding, the state Commissioner of Health, Dr. John Ahukanna, stressed that health was one of the cardinal pillars of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration, adding that the governor has renovated some health institutions in the state and upgraded many.
Ahukanna disclosed that plans were in place to employ trained nurses for the equipped hospitals while the needs of the schools in the state would be gradually addressed.
In her remarks, the State Director of Nursing Services in the state Ministry of Health, Mrs. P. C. Nwachukwu, disclosed that the State Governor has equipped some schools which help them regain their accreditation, adding, “yet there are many more we desire to be put in place.”
She assured that government would improve on what is on ground at the School of Nursing, Umuahia, as well as other Schools of Nursing in the state.
“We are expectant that more tutors will be employed and contract renewed by the serving contract tutors and the general welfare of our nurse educators improved to retain the ones we have,” she said.