The Regulation of Nursing in Nigeria: A Critical Analysis

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe


Nurses provide crucial services and are often, perhaps even more than doctors, in more frequent contact with patients. In Nigeria, the profession and practice of nursing is governed by the law.  Yet much of the literature on ethical and legal responsibilities of healthcare providers in Nigeria typically focuses on doctors. There has been little analysis of the legal and regulatory responsibilities of nurses. As knowledge of rights and obligations increase in the general populace, nurses are likely to begin to face threats of litigation, which will likely result to financial losses for the health establishments in which they work and also terminations of nurses’ employment.  Yet nurses also bear personal risks in delivering care to patients raising the issue of the support and protections available to the professional nurse practitioner within the legal framework. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to provide an overview and analysis of the regulation of the nursing profession in Nigeria.  It also addresses the protections available to nurses in the practice of their profession and existing gaps in both the regulatory framework and in the protections provided by the law and regulation as currently contained in the Code of Conduct. It is hoped that this article contributes to a wider discussion of the need to recognise the crucial roles of nurses as part of the health care team, and understanding of the obligations that are imposed on them by law and ethics.

Keywords: nurses, nurse practitioners, regulation, law, ethics, code of conduct, legal obligations.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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