Steps to become a Registered Nurse in Nigeria

Do you aspire to become a Registered nurse in Nigeria? This post will clearly explain to you how to achieve that. Before you go ahead to purchase any nursing form, be sure to go through this post and get the best insight on how to become a nurse in Nigeria. Nursing was included as one of thebest science courses with high employment rate

Do you know that there are three (3) ways to become a registered midwife or nurse in Nigeria? They are;

  • The 3-year basic Midwifery Training Program
  • The 3 year basic General Nursing Program and
  • The 5-year BSc Nursing Degree Program

The advantage is that these three routes have the same entry requirement of five credits in five subjects which are; English, Maths, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry in not more than 2 sittings. To enter major universities to study nursing, you must have credits in the above courses listed above. The difference is the Jamb requirements for the BNSc programme. This means that you have the choice to either basic nursing/midwife program, or you sit for Jamb for the BNSc program.

how to become a registered nurse in Nigeria

The 5-year Generic BNSc Nursing Program

This program is designed to make you a polyvalent nursing practitioner. At the end of your program, you graduate with the General Nursing program qualification, the Midwifery program qualification, and a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BNSc). Depending on your institution, you can equally graduate with an extra qualification in public health nursing. With these qualifications, you can easily move on to earn your masters in Nursing before a PhD in Nursing. This is one of the routes to become a registered nurse in Nigeria.

The 3 year Basic Midwifery Training Program

The obvious drawback to this route is the fact that after qualifying as a registered midwife in this way, most recruiting organizations still request a double qualified practitioner. This means that you still have to go back for another 18 months post basic general nursing course. Another fact to note before using this route to become a registered nurse in Nigeria is that most Nigerian universities don’t accept RN for direct entry purposes.

The 3 year Basic General Nursing Program

For the basic general nursing program, an average of N250, 000 is needed for the admission fee. You should also know that the 3-year duration isn’t inclusive of the 6 months that you would spend in PTS. The 3 years can be extended to 4, 5 years in different guises such as demotion, pregnancy, suspension by SON principals, accreditation issues, failure in your exams, and other endless reasons.

Even after writing the NMCN exams, you would be required to spend some extra months working for free in hospital wards pending when the council releases your final qualifying result.

Another important fact to note is that the general nursing and basic midwifery routes are both hospital-based programs with professional licensure and it was only in October of 2007 that an expert assessors committee accorded the qualifications obtained therein the same as HND attracting a grade level08 (step 1) for employment purposes only and NOT for academic purposes.

A major advantage though, of obtaining an RN qualification either via route 1,2 or 3 to become a registered nurse in Nigeria is that it qualifies you to practice as a nurse abroad. RN qualification is also a valid requirement for further studies in the Nigerian university system for direct entry (DE) into degree programs in philosophy, psychology, social works etc


The major drawback for those who aspire to become a registered nurse in Nigeria at the moment is embroiled in a bitter fight for the soul of Nursing professionalism. Earning a degree in these previously and erroneously tagged “degrees allied to Nursing” according to our statutory regulatory body NMCN does not qualify one to progress to the directorate Nursing cadre. This stance by the NMCN reinforced the position of the National Council on the establishment (NCE) at its 37th Meeting in Akure where it stated that “Possession of a first degree in NURSING, not allied courses is a sine qua non of running the nursing officers cadre.

LUTH management also reaffirmed this when it refused accepting Masters degrees in these “allied course” obtained by lecturers in its school of Midwifery insisting that professional progression must be dependent on the acquisition of masters degree in core Nursing courses for holders of BNSc qualification, not masters in an allied course. Thus the route may provide an avenue for further degrees in other professional domains but these degrees outside of Nursing may count for nothing professionally.

how students can become nurses in Nigeria

In the long run, the abysmal remuneration of being a single qualified (RN) nurse would force you to seek further post basic qualification which costs an average of another N250,000 to N300,000 in admission costs. I forgot to add that most post basic programs would insist that you should have practised for at least 2 years before applying; a two-year experience you would gain trolling from one private hospital to another where you would be overworked and underpaid.

Remember, this post basic qualification to become a registered nurse in Nigeria is a prerequisite if you would want to be employed on GL 08 step 4 instead of step 1 if you had only an RN. What this means is that you may never get to the peak as your professional growth terminates abruptly at grade level 14 and you can only go beyond this on lateral conversion to the officer’s cadre following acquisition of a Nursing degree


By this time, six years or more would have rolled by. You probably have gotten married with kids and wishing you went with route 3 (BNSc Nursing). Albeit late, you decide to start the 4-year university route. If financially buoyant, you probably enrol in a neighbouring country like Benin Republic, Ghana, niger for a BNSc program or you spend another two years battling to get a DE admission to a Nigerian university.


Adult education at this time puts your marriage under strain, your life is put at risk as you make multiple treacherous travels to the university, the emotional and psychological torture cannot be quantified not to talk of the financial burden of university admission. The entire rigmarole is just time wasting, psychologically demeaning and heart-wrenching.


Globally, the system of education in nursing is changing. I sincerely hope that this article on enlightens you to make an informed decision on which route suits you best. I wish you best of luck. (source: Nursing world)


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