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RN vs RM: Learn the Differences and Which Is Right for You.

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Nurses can function in almost any healthcare setting or medical field. In other words, the duty of a nurse is multifaceted with a wide range of scope of practice. Nursing education programs, specialized training, and certifications are designed to help nurse professionals develop the necessary expertise for competent practice. Thence, the aim of the RN Registered Nurse/Midwife program in Nigeria aligns with this.

However, over the years, there have been rising concerns about the disparities between the Registered Nurse RN and Registered Midwife RM qualifications in the country.

It is proven that having the right information can aid in better decision-making for individuals as well as nurse professionals. Hence, in this article, you will get to know about the RN and RM qualifications in Nigeria, the differences, career outlook, and the right one for you.

REGISTERED NURSE (RN) QUALIFICATION IN NIGERIA

Who Is A RN?

A Registered Nurse (RN) is a professional graduate of a nursing program who has met the requirements outlined by a country, state, province, or similar government-authorized licensing body to obtain a nursing license.

Registered Nurse Education In Nigeria

The General Nursing (RN) qualification is awarded after three (3) years of the Basic General Nursing Program in a recognized School of Nursing (SON) in Nigeria.

The School of Nursing (SON) is majorly run by a University Teaching Hospital except for a few that are private.

The program is designed to equip students with theoretical knowledge and practical nursing skills needed to gain clinical competence as Registered Nurses.

Read Also: RN to BSN Nursing programs in Nigeria

Upon completion of the hospital-based program, students will have to sit for the professional examination by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) which is the regulatory professional body for all cadres of nurse professionals in the country. After successfully passing the examination, the students will be deemed Registered Nurses.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Registered Nurse (RN)?

A Registered Nurse works in diverse healthcare settings to provide direct patient care. The individualized care is tailored towards early detection, prompt interventions, rehabilitation, and a continuous preventive approach. Additionally, they work hand-in-hand with other healthcare professionals to promote a positive care outcome. The duty of a Registered Nurse is multidimensional and involves;

  • Assessment and monitoring of patients’ condition.
  • Coordination and provision of individualized patient care.
  • Administration of treatment and medications as prescribed by the physician.
  • Performing diagnostic procedures for early identification of disorders in patients.
  • Educating patients and the public on care modalities, preventive approaches, rehabilitativmodalitiesty, and follow-up care.
  • Advocating for patients’ safety and well-being.
  • Advising and provision of emotional and psychological support to patients and caregivers.
  • Conducting clinical research.
  • Preceptorship/training of student nurses.

Scope of Practice For a Registered Nurse

Registered Nurses can work in a wide variety of healthcare settings globally. These include;

  • Schools
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Hospitals such as Tertiary Healthcare Institutions (e.g teaching hospitals, federal medical centers, etc), General Hospitals, Primary healthcare centers, and Comprehensive healthcare centers.
  • Home care facilities
  • Companies or industrial healthcare facilities
  • Insurance companies and so on.

Career Outlook

There are different pathways to career progression for Registered Nurses. The choice of an advanced specialty is dependent on an individual’s career goals. Nevertheless, to advance as a Registered Nurse, gaining additional qualifications is essential.

For Registered Nurses in Nigeria, the pathway to career growth involves; either enrolling in the Post-Basic Nursing programs or Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing programs to be awarded a professional certification in various specialties or direct admission into the University to obtain the Bachelor of Nursing Science (B.NSc) degree qualification.

To specialize in the Post-Basic Nursing programs or Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing programs in Nigeria, you can register for these training in Schools of Post-Basic Nursing. Most of these programs usually run for one year, while others may last for over 18 months to 2 years. Whereas, the University B.NSc degree qualification admission is through direct entry using the final year results from the School of Nursing in addition to a good O’level result. For this route, you will begin at 200level and complete the program in 4 years.


It is usually advisable to go through this route if you have the prospect of going further in the profession as only a B.NSc or Postgraduate Diploma holder is qualified to go for a master’s degree in Nursing Science in Nigeria currently.

The following are the areas of specialties for the Post-Basic Nursing programs or Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing programs in Nigeria;

  • Accident and Emergency Nursing
  • Anaesthetic Nursing
  • Burns and Plastic Nursing
  • Cardiothoracic Nursing
  • Clinical Research Nursing
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Geriatric Nursing
  • Intensive Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing or Psychiatric Nursing
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecological Nursing (midwifery)
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Ophthalmic Nursing
  • Orthopaedic Nursing
  • Paediatric Nursing
  • Perioperative Nursing
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Renal Nursing

Registered Midwife RM Qualification In Nigeria

Who Is A Registered Midwife RM?

A Registered Midwife RM provides care for mothers during pregnancy through the postpartum period including reproductive and general healthcare services to women across their lifespan.

Registered Midwife Education In Nigeria

The Registered Midwife qualification can be obtained in two ways in Nigeria, viz:

  • Basic Midwifery Education
  • Post-Basic Midwifery Education

The School of Midwifery or Post-Basic Midwifery is majorly run by a University Teaching Hospital except for a few that are private and upon graduation diploma certificates in addition to a professional RM license are awarded.

The programs are designed to aid students in obtaining hands-on clinical experience for their professional practice.

Basic Midwifery Education

This is a three (3) year program, at the end of which students are awarded a diploma in General Midwifery and upon completion regarded as Registered Midwives (RM).

Post-Basic Midwifery Education

This is an advanced specialty program for Registered Nurses with Basic Nursing qualifications, who require an additional RM qualification. The program usually runs for about 18 months.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Registered Midwife RM?

Nurse midwives act as primary healthcare providers in various hospital settings, birthing centers, medical centers, and so on. They work in collaboration with other healthcare practitioners to meet the needs of an individual woman, patients with sexual or reproductive health concerns, and neonates. They also carry out routine investigations, contraception, well woman care amongst others. The duty of a Registered Midwife is all-dimensional, (s)he;

  • Provide antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum care for mothers and neonates.
  • Provide health education on breastfeeding and its importance.
  • Educate women on birth control and methods of contraception.
  • Carry out routine examinations for therapeutic and diagnostic measures for prospective, expecting, and new parents.
  • Provide gynecological care for females from puberty to menopause.
  • Treatment of STDs and other sexually related disorders for both partners.
  • Training/preceptorship for student midwives.

Scope Of Practice For A Registered Midwife

Registered Midwives can work in any of the following settings;

  • Hospitals such as Tertiary Healthcare Institutions (e.g teaching hospitals, federal medical centers, etc), General Hospitals, Primary healthcare centers, and Comprehensive healthcare centers.
  • Home births
  • Private clinics
  • Obstetrics and gynecology outpatient Departments
  • Fertility clinics
  • Labour complexes or birthing centers and so on.

Career Outlook

Unlike in other countries, the pathway for career progression for Registered Midwives in Nigeria is narrow. For a Registered Midwife to earn an additional specialty qualification, (s)he will have to enroll in the Post-Basic Nursing program for 18 months.

Moreover, the pathway to acquiring a University Degree is similar to that of a Registered Nurse.

Differences Between Basic Nursing (RN) And Basic Midwifery (RM) In Nigeria

Basic Nursing education is designed to help students gain knowledge and expertise in handling various medical and surgical-related cases while Basic Midwifery training equips students with clinical experience in handling cases related to pregnancies and reproductive health.

A Registered Nurse can work in diverse medical or surgical units, whereas the scope of practice of a Registered Midwife is within the female and reproductive health specialty.

Registered Nurses can gain additional specialty qualifications in various fields such as Occupational Health Nursing, Ophthalmic Nursing, Orthopaedic Nursing, Paediatric Nursing, Peri-operative Nursing, Public Health Nursing, Renal Nursing, and so on. However, Registered Midwives cannot unless they undergo training in Nursing e.g Post Basic Nursing program, and are licensed as Registered Nurse. Also, there are limited options for Midwifery specialty certifications in the country.

On the one hand, a Registered Nurse who wishes to become a Midwife will have to enroll in the Post Basic Midwifery program which is for 18 months, and pass the professional qualifying examination. On the other hand, a Registered Midwife who wishes to become a Nurse will have to enroll in the Post Basic Nursing program which is for 18 months, and pass the professional qualifying examination.

Both Basic Nursing and Basic Midwifery are three (3) years programs. In addition, students who completed any of the programs can gain direct entry admission into University for the Bachelor of Nursing Science degree program.

Written By: Mayowa Racheal Popoola
RN, Content Writer

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