The Process of Becoming a Licenced Nurse and Midwife in Nigeria – 2023

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The healthcare industry is highly regarded throughout the world since it keeps an eye on the very core of our existence.

Nursing is a career in the healthcare industry that focuses mostly on providing care to people so they can achieve and maintain basic health and wellness.

A nurse practitioner is a specialist in the field who has completed specialised training and has gained the credentials to carry out many of a doctor’s responsibilities.

Nursing is one of the most rewarding occupations in Nigeria, and there is a lengthy list of people who want to enter it. Before entering a profession, one needs have a basic understanding of it.

Types of Nurses in Nigeria

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) typically provides direct patient care while working under the direct supervision of a nurse.

Most often, they are referred to as nursing assistants or nurse’s aids.
Since they make everyone else’s job easier, they are regarded as the foundation of the nursing profession.

The majority of CNA certification courses typically last 4 to 6 weeks to complete. However, some may require more time—up to six months or longer.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

A patient’s fundamental requirements are managed by a licenced practical nurse (LPN). Additionally, they offer patients basic care including checking their vital signs and blood pressure.

Additionally, they assist patients with eating and dressing. They are directly supervised by a nurse or physician.

Registered Nurse (RN)

A registered nurse (RN) is a nurse who has successfully passed tests administered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) and has earned an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), commonly referred to as General Nursing (GN) in Nigeria.

They offer and coordinate patient care, inform patients and the public about various health conditions, and support patients and their families emotionally and morally.

RNs are essential to the health industry. They are pioneers in the medical profession. They are regarded as the main carers and interact with the patients the most.

Public Health Nurse

The largest group of workers in the health industry are public health nurses. Public health nurses work to promote awareness of, and advocate for, a range of health issues.

Typically, they work with sizable populations. Increasing access to healthcare and enhancing community health and safety are typically the foci of their work. The environmental factors that can have an impact on the community’s health are also examined by public health nurses.

A career in public health is fulfilling. It is typically advised for people who want to address social health issues, promote health equity, and assist communities. Because the working hours are frequently predictable, a healthy work-life balance is possible.

Nurse Educators

Registered nurses with advanced degrees who are also teachers or researchers are known as nurse educators. They work as professors in teaching hospitals and nursing colleges.

They provide relevant information and research analyses pertaining to nursing education, including issues like curriculum, teaching, and technology in the nursing industry, and do so in a way that helps mould and direct student nurses.

A nurse educator’s duties also include developing, reviewing, updating, and implementing new and current nursing education curricula.

In Nigeria, it typically takes six to 10 years to become a nurse educator. However, those who are already licenced nurses with a bachelor’s degree can complete the master’s degree in as little as two years, or even fewer.

Being a nurse educator and a nursing specialist at the same time is a very rewarding career in Nigeria.

Maternal and Child Care Nurse

A maternity and child care nurse, also referred to as a midwife, is a medical practitioner with the training to support and care for women during their pregnancies, labours, and deliveries.

By keeping track of and monitoring women’s biological systems, creating care plans, and participating in antenatal care in hospitals, they assist women in maintaining their health throughout the course of their pregnancy.

After delivery, midwives also look after mothers and their kids. They help women who are nursing and instruct them on how to treat and care for their newborns, especially those who are first-time parents.

All of the nurses mentioned above can be found in Nigeria. There are numerous other ones, which will be discussed later.

The institution of their choice will have specific requirements that candidates must meet in order to become nurses.

With a minimum of five credits each in English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, and a strong O’level score, these criteria vary depending on the university.

Nursing Schools in Nigeria

In Nigeria, there are three possible career paths for students who want to become nurses. These methods entail completing intensive nursing training at a university, nursing school, or school of basic midwifery.

School of Nursing

A certificate in Registered Nursing (RN) is the end result of the School of Nursing’s three-year nursing programme. Half of the programme is completed in the classroom, and the other half involves clinical placements.

School of Basic Midwifery

Another avenue open to would-be nurses is the School of Basic Midwifery. A general midwifery diploma is given upon completion of the three-year nursing programme. They are regarded as Registered Midwives (RM) once they have finished.

School of Nursing

Except for a few private hospitals, a university’s teaching hospital oversees the School of Nursing (SON). The majority of nursing schools sell application packets to prospective students each year in order to admit a fresh group of applicants.

After obtaining the application, admission is granted following entrance exams, physical interviews, and medical examinations. Normal requirements for UTME results in nursing or midwifery schools are not present.

The School of Nursing or Midwifery offers hospital-based training programmes. This training initially resembled more of a vocational course, where following successful completion, licences to practise nursing are awarded.

The controlling bodies introduced the Bachelor of Nursing Science (B. Nsc) as the nursing profession grew and gained more prominence over time. To further solidify nursing as the standardised profession it is, this educational degree can be obtained from authorised universities.

The Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Nigeria

Through the university, an aspirant nurse has another excellent option.
According to the institution, the university nursing programme is typically a five-year study in which graduates receive a Bachelor of Nursing Science (B.Nsc) degree in addition to their RN (Registered Nurse), RM (Registered Midwifery), or Registered Public Health Nurse credentials.

You must complete a JAMB form, acquire a score of at least 200 (most universities have different pass marks), and pass the POST UTME university entrance exam in order to be admitted to a nursing programme in Nigeria.

The ideal UTME subject combination is

Nigerian students of art are not permitted to pursue nursing at the university level because the prerequisite courses were not offered during their secondary education.

However, since only a passing grade in English, Math, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics is required. A nursing student with a true enthusiasm for the field of art may choose to enrol for WAEC or NECO while studying various resources and attending tutorials on these disciplines.

Although both the University and the School of Nursing are extremely competitive, the university typically receives a greater number of applications each year.

This is so that those who complete the B.Nsc programme can pursue further education to raise their prospects of success in the employment market.

Only B.N.Sc. holders have the option of pursuing an M.Sc. in Nursing and specialising.

Through distance learning or part-time degree programmes, future nurses can also get their degrees. Usually taking six (6) years to complete, this programme may take longer.

Few polytechnics and colleges, such as the Army College of Nursing, have received approval to provide the National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) in Nursing. The programme lasts between four and five years.

A B. Nsc in nursing can be obtained by nurses who already hold an RN or RM and are interested in continuing their education.

They must apply through direct entry, utilising their cumulative grades from their numerous universities and a strong O’level score.

If they take the aforementioned path, RNs or RMs will typically start at the 200-level and finish the programme in 4 years.

Only a B.Nsc holder is eligible to pursue a master’s degree in Nursing Science, hence this path is advised for nursing school graduates who want to advance in their careers.

The specialisation in various nursing specialties is often covered by the master’s degree in nursing science.

Nursing Specialization in Nigeria

These specialization programs usually run for 12-24 months in Nigeria. There are various specialization areas in Nursing in Nigeria and some of them are;

In order to give their patients the finest medical treatment possible, nurses who have specialised in any of the aforementioned areas collaborate closely with the respective medical specialists.

Nigerian Nurse Certification Examinations

The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) typically holds four exams every year for nursing students enrolled in universities and nursing institutions.

These tests serve as the foundation for granting licences to practise the profession. These tests include;

Typically, the Professional Qualifying Examination for Midwives is offered twice a year on the second Tuesdays of March and September.

The first Tuesday in May is often when general nurses take their professional qualifying examination.

General post-basic nurses’ professional qualifying examination, held on the first Tuesday in November.

Candidates who have taken any exam twice are required to complete a year of training in a health facility prior to their final attempt. Elimination (dismissal) follows failure at this last try.

Challenges Nigeria’s Nursing Profession Faces

The nursing career has its challenges, just like any other occupation.

One is Nigeria’s dramatic rise in the number of auxiliary nurses.

An auxiliary nurse typically performs tasks like feeding, washing, and dressing patients while also making sure they are kept as comfortable as possible. They are also in charge of assisting patients who have trouble walking.

A certified nurse or a doctor supervises the training of auxiliary nurses in Nigeria, but, at private universities.

Without any formal training or curriculum, this merely requires a minimum of O’level results.

It is abruptly unlawful for auxiliary nurses to perform nursing duties in most hospitals, including providing injections, dispensing medications, monitoring vital signs, etc.

There is nothing like auxiliary nursing, according to Alhaji Farouk, the Registrar of the Nigerian Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMCN).

The term “auxiliary nurse” designates a quack. They pose a threat to both Nigerians’ health and the country’s nursing industry; we are not aware of them.

The public uses these hospitals’ services at their own risk because they lack the nursing expertise to provide those services.

Nursing in Nigeria: Myths and Reality

Despite the enormous sacrifices made by nurses, this perception persists. Here are some misconceptions Nigerians have about nurses that are untrue:

  1. The main myth about the occupation is that it is primarily held by women. In reality, both sexes can succeed in it.
  2. Attitude issues: The majority of Nigerians think nurses are evil, unpleasant, and inconsiderate. How can a career based on giving care be called monstrous?

Since nurses are still individuals with feelings who were once humans before becoming nurses, these personality traits do not only apply to nurses.

Although there are still some rotten apples among nurses, their actions should not be used to evaluate those nurses who risk their lives to make our country healthier.


In conclusion, the capacity to comfort and care for patients is a necessity for the nursing profession, along with a tremendous amount of patience.

Nigerian nurses continue to work in difficult conditions despite shortages in the federal and state governments, particularly in terms of salary and wages, to make sure that every Nigerian is given access to adequate healthcare.

They should be treated with the highest respect because their sacrifices can never truly be atoned for.

One of the nicest things you can do for yourself is to choose a career as a nurse because they are the lifeblood of the hospital.

There are countless work options both inside and outside the nation.

Despite being a difficult path, it promises to be worthwhile in the end. Embrace the journey and take it all in.

Please leave your feedback in the space provided below. If you have any inquiries on how to become a nurse in Nigeria, please let me know.

| August 18, 2023.


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