Can a nurse own a hospital in Nigeria? Other than medical doctors, Are nurses permitted to open a hospital or clinic?

Nursing is very key to the health of the a nation. Nurses are the thread that holds medicine and patient care together. There is this grey area on the legality of nurses owning a private hospital in Nigeria but before I answer this, let me go in-depth about the scope of nursing.

Can a nurse own a hospital in Nigeria?
A registered nurse

What exactly do nurses do?

In a field as varied as nursing, there is no typical answer. Responsibilities can range from making acute treatment decisions to providing inoculations in schools. The key unifying characteristic in every role is the skill and drive that it takes to be a nurse. Through long-term monitoring of patients’ behavior and knowledge-based expertise, nurses are best placed to take an all-encompassing view of a patient’s wellbeing.

What types of nurses are there?

All nurses complete a rigorous program of extensive education and study, and work directly with patients, families, and communities using the core values of the nursing process. In the Nigeria today, nursing roles can be divided into three categories by the specific responsibilities they undertake.

They include: midwives, registered nurses, advanced registered nurses, specialist nurses like nurse anesthetist.

Basic functions of a nurse

No matter what their field or specialty, all nurses utilize the same nursing process and perform very similar functions like;

Assessment – Nurses assess patients on an in-depth physiological, economic, social and lifestyle basis.

Diagnosis – Through careful consideration of both physical symptoms and patient behavior, the nurse forms a diagnosis.

Outcomes / Planning – The nurse uses their expertise to set realistic goals for the patient’s recovery. These objectives are then closely monitored.

Implementation – By accurately implementing the care plan, nurses guarantee consistency of care for the patient whilst meticulously documenting their progress.

Evaluation – By closely analyzing the effectiveness of the care plan and studying patient response, the nurse hones the plan to achieve the very best patient outcomes.

Others: A nurse may perform other functions not stipulated above like immunizations and health education.

Can a nurse own a hospital in Nigeria?

Many people have asked me this very important question and it has become somewhat controversial. The law is however, clear on who is permitted to open a private clinic in Nigeria… Only a certified medical doctor with many years of practicing medicine post graduation (at least 5 years of practice) is permitted by law to own or establish a private hospital. A nurse cannot own a private hospital in Nigeria. Same with a pharmacist, CHEW and even a lab scientist. Registered Nurses especially midwives are however, backed by law to start or open a maternity home where they can take deliveries and attend to other pregnancy needs like antenatal services and even vaccinations.

Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) recently said that a nurse with 5 years working experience can set up a clinic to handle minor medical cases. They however, did not state the extent of this “minor medical cases”.

PS: It is an open secret that many hospitals in Nigeria are owned by nurses. They use a doctor’s practicing licence to establish a private hospital —-they open the hospital in a doctor’s name. It is still illegal. I won’t go further than this. I don’t want controversy.


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