In a country with over 11,000 nurses, there is only one Registration Officer who is supposed to take them through the vetting procedure.
The whole of the National Council of Nurses and Midwives (NCNM) has only five staff (professional) members and two support staff.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, J. Bosco Munyandinda, the Finance and Administration Manager of NCNM, said inadequate staff members was one of their major challenges.
“We requested the Ministry of Health to get us more staff and they have so far promised to bring us two more.
Hopefully, when we get more people to help, the vetting process will be quicker,” he said.
The Nursing council was established in 2008, according to Munyandinda. Before then, there were no policies, nursing procedures, scope of practice and code of conduct for Nurses and required standard of education for nursing schools.
However, all that is in place today since the establishment of the council.
“We want all nurses in Rwanda to go through the vetting process since some of them were working before the council was set up.
Some Nurses could be doing Doctor’s work so there’s need for all of them to be scrutinised,” he added.
This council ensures that professional and qualified nurses are deployed to Rwandan health facilities. The Nursing Council therefore regulates the industry partly by scrutinizing the academic papers and approving those duly qualified. It also has the powers to lay off nurses who commit malpractices.
These nurses are required to have a notified certificate from a recognized nursing school or a diploma or degree in Nursing.
After going through the process of checking if they have the required credentials, the registration officer is supposed to give them feedback within 30 days.
Munyandinda noted that one of the reasons they are short of staff is because they can’t afford to pay them since they have financial challenges as well.
He stated that the council doesn’t have enough money which has also delayed the process of certifying qualified nurses and laying off those who are not.
The Ministry of Health contributed 41 percent to the Nursing council budget, as of last year.
However, there have been fears among some members of the public that some of the nurses are coming from neighboring countries and their papers need to be verified.
In response to this, Munyandinda noted that indeed it’s another challenge but the nurses are given forms to take to their nursing schools where they graduated from, in order for those schools to confirm if these nurses’ documents are authentic.
Currently, there are 7 nursing schools in Rwanda of which five are public.