Advancing Healthcare: Introduction of Advanced Nurse Practice in Nigeria

In Nigeria, as in many parts of the world, the healthcare landscape is evolving rapidly to meet the complex needs of an increasingly diverse and growing population. Amidst this evolution, the role of nurses is expanding beyond traditional boundaries, with the introduction of Advanced Nurse Practice (ANP) heralding a new era of enhanced patient care and professional development.

ANP represents a paradigm shift in nursing practice, empowering nurses with advanced knowledge, skills, and competencies to deliver comprehensive healthcare services across various settings. While the concept of ANP is not new globally, its formal introduction in Nigeria marks a significant milestone in the advancement of the nursing profession and the healthcare system as a whole.

The implementation of ANP in Nigeria is guided by the recognition of the unique challenges facing the healthcare sector, including an undersupply of healthcare professionals, particularly in rural and underserved areas, as well as the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases and complex health conditions.

At the heart of ANP is the commitment to improving access to high-quality healthcare services, promoting patient-centered care, and optimizing health outcomes. Advanced practice nurses, equipped with specialized education and training, are positioned to assume key roles in primary care, specialty areas, and advanced clinical practice, filling critical gaps in the healthcare workforce and expanding the scope of services available to patients.

One of the key pillars of ANP is the emphasis on lifelong learning and professional development. Nurses pursuing advanced practice roles undergo rigorous education and training programs, which may include advanced degrees, specialized certifications, and clinical residencies. These programs equip them with the knowledge and competencies necessary to assess, diagnose, treat, and manage patients across a spectrum of health conditions.

Furthermore, the introduction of ANP in Nigeria has opened up new opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and team-based care. Advanced practice nurses work closely with physicians, pharmacists, social workers, and other healthcare professionals to coordinate care, address complex health issues, and improve patient outcomes through a holistic approach.

In addition to their clinical responsibilities, advanced practice nurses play a crucial role in healthcare leadership, research, and policy development. Their expertise and insights contribute to shaping healthcare delivery models, informing evidence-based practices, and advocating for policies that promote health equity and social justice.

However, the successful implementation of ANP in Nigeria is not without its challenges. Key considerations include ensuring adequate resources for education and training, establishing regulatory frameworks to govern advanced practice roles, and addressing barriers to interprofessional collaboration and scope of practice.

Moreover, there is a need for ongoing investment in workforce development, mentorship programs, and continuous professional development opportunities to support the growth and sustainability of ANP in Nigeria.

In conclusion, the introduction of Advanced Nurse Practice represents a transformative opportunity to enhance healthcare delivery, improve patient outcomes, and elevate the status of the nursing profession in Nigeria. By embracing ANP and investing in the development of advanced practice nurses, Nigeria can strengthen its healthcare system, advance health equity, and build a healthier future for all its citizens.

A New Era of Healthcare: Advanced Nurse Practitioners Arrive in Nigeria

In a landmark decision, Nigeria’s health sector is poised for a significant transformation with the introduction of Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs). This long-awaited development, approved by the Minister of Health in March 2024, holds the potential to revolutionize access to quality healthcare for millions of Nigerians.

What are Advanced Nurse Practitioners?

ANPs are registered nurses who have completed additional education and training, allowing them to take on a broader scope of practice. This can include:

  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
  • Prescribing medications
  • Managing chronic conditions
  • Providing primary care services

The introduction of ANPs aligns with global best practices and offers several benefits for the Nigerian healthcare system:

  • Improved access to care: ANPs can bridge the gap in doctor shortages, particularly in rural and underserved areas.
  • Enhanced efficiency: ANPs can manage routine cases, freeing up doctors to focus on complex medical situations.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Utilizing ANPs can provide quality care at a lower cost compared to traditional physician-led models.
  • Patient-centered care: ANPs often provide more holistic and preventive care, focusing on patient education and well-being.

The Road Ahead

While the approval is a positive step, there’s still work to be done. The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) is currently developing a comprehensive implementation plan. This will likely address:

  • Educational pathways: Establishing accredited programs for nurses to become ANPs.
  • Scope of practice: Defining the specific duties and limitations of ANPs within the healthcare system.
  • Collaboration: Ensuring smooth collaboration between ANPs, doctors, and other healthcare professionals.

Challenges and Opportunities

The introduction of ANPs will undoubtedly face challenges. Potential hurdles include:

  • Acceptance from other healthcare professionals: Ensuring doctors and other providers embrace the role of ANPs.
  • Public awareness: Educating the public about the qualifications and expertise of ANPs.
  • Funding for education and training: Providing resources to support the development of qualified ANPs.

However, the potential benefits far outweigh the challenges. By embracing this new era of advanced nursing practice, Nigeria can create a more robust, accessible, and efficient healthcare system for its citizens.

How Much Does A Physician Assistant Make

Physician Assistants have a work schedule that is quite similar to that of general practitioners but according to law, they must practice under physicians or surgeons. Physician Assistant job is a rewarding/lucrative career hence people tend to find out how much does a physician assistant make before venturing into the profession. How much a physician assistant make is dependent on several factors chiefly among which are practice environment and schedule of duty.

Overview of How Much A Physicain Assistant Make

According to the U.S Bureau of Labour and Statistics, physician assistant median pay per year was $98,180 in May 2015, this translates to $47.20 per hour. Median wage is the wage that half of people in an occupation earn less and the other half earned much. It should be noted that the lowest 10 percent earners in this profession earned less than $62,760 while the top 10 percent earners among physician assistants earned more than $139,540 last year.
Like I said earlier, practice environment greatly influenced how much a physician assistant earn. For instance, the U.S Bureau of Labour and Statistics estimated the 2015 annual median wage for physician assistants in outpatient care centers to be $106,010, those that worked in hospitals – state, local and private pocketed the median wage of $101,500, office physicians $96,4300, educational services $95,000 and government $91,260.

Job outlook for physician assistant is bright as employment of physician assistants is expected to grow by 30 percent within the 10year period of between 2014-2024. Physician assistants also work the 3 shifts and their roles is expected to expand in the future as more states will allow them to take on some roles of the primary care providers.

How to Become a Physician Assistant

The healthcare job industry has been noted to provide a constant job opportunities for people with educational qualifications in it field. There is constantly a demand for primary care practitioners which make career in nurse practitioner or physician assistant a lucrative and job-assured ones. How to become a phyiscian assistant? This post outlines the various steps on how to become a physician assistant in the United States of America.

Physician Assistant also known as PA works in team with other healthcare workers to offer preventive and curative services to clients. They conduct physical assessment, order diagnostic investigations, diagnose and treat patients with various kinds of illnesses.

How to Become a Physician Assistant

Physician assistant is a regulated profession which means you must be licensed before you can practice. The education preparedness of physician assistant typically starts by graduating from an accredited undergraduate degree program and having some relevant experience in Healthcare-related field before proceeding to the 2 years Masters degree in Physician Assistant in an accredited institution. The accrediting agency for physician assistant program is the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistant.

How
Admission Requirements

– Completion of undergraduate degree program usually in sciences or completion of at least two years of College coursework usually in the basic and behavioral sciences. Biology, physiology, microbiology, chemistry and anatomy are the physician assistant programs prerequisites in most schools.
– Healthcare-related experience which may be in paramedics, EMT, registered nurse, medical assistant, Peace Corps Volunteer, Certified Nursing Assistant, Surgical Tech,Lab Assistant among others
– You will be required to apply to schools using the centralized application process for physician assistants. It is important you start looking for schools early and be sure you gathered all the necessary documents before you throw in your application.

Note: It is important you apply to accredited schools. This will help to ensure that you are qualified to take the licensure exam for physician assistant which is a prerequisite for obtaining practicing license.
Upon successfully completion of the physician assistant program and passing the national licensure exam, you would be required to obtain a practicing license in the state you wish to practice. You can then look for job and start working while keeping your license renewed as at when due.