Unregistered Auxiliary Nurses Pose Serious Healthcare Risk In Nigeria, Legal Experts Warn

Daud Olatunji

Legal experts, nursing, and medical professionals are raising concerns about unregistered auxiliary nurses operating within Nigeria’s healthcare system. 

They emphasize that individuals in the healthcare sector must either be registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria or be considered unqualified. Quackery, they insist, is a crime in Nigeria’s healthcare system and constitution, and unauthorized individuals should not provide medical or healthcare services without proper training and licensing.

Auxiliary nurses, defined as nursing assistants who assist patients with daily activities under the supervision of registered nurses, have come under scrutiny.

 The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Lagos State Council, disowned an auxiliary nurse implicated in a patient’s death, asserting that she did not meet the country’s healthcare system’s registration requirements.

According to the NANNM, individuals can only be recognized as nurses after completing a rigorous five-year Bachelor of Nursing Science Programme  or receiving training at an accredited School/College of Nursing, followed by registration and licensing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.

The association categorically states, “The term ‘Auxiliary Nurse’ has no place within Nigeria’s healthcare system or its laws. 

An individual is either a qualified nurse or an unqualified individual performing tasks beyond their competence.”

This issue highlights the regulatory challenges in Nigeria’s healthcare system, allowing unqualified individuals to perform medical roles for which they lack training and certification.

Medical professionals, including Professor Mary Mgbekem and Mrs. Joy Mbonu, express concerns about auxiliary nurses, considering them creations of doctors who seek to cut costs by avoiding paying registered nurses proper salaries. 

They argue that these unlicensed healthcare workers are a liability and pose a threat to patient safety.

Furthermore, the Nursing and Midwifery (Registration, ETC) ACT prohibits the training of individuals as nurses or midwives without the Minister’s approval, imposing fines and imprisonment for violations.

Dr. Abayomi Ajayi emphasizes that auxiliary nurses should only assist registered nurses and are not authorized to perform certain tasks, such as administering injections.

Dr. Abiola Idowu, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency, clarifies that auxiliary nurses lack formal training and licensure, with their training often occurring in unaccredited private institutions.

 Lagos State has outlawed their training, and they are only allowed to perform limited ancillary services under supervision.

Lawyer Emeka Ndukwe warns that posing as a nurse or midwife without the proper qualifications is a punishable offense.

 The proliferation of unregistered auxiliary nurses raises significant concerns about patient safety and the integrity of Nigeria’s healthcare system.

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