On 10th September 2023, on the second episode of Champions Gathering, we had the privilege of inviting an exceptional nurse in person of Nurse Olowu Oluwafisayomi to speak on the topic “Transitioning from being a Student to Becoming a Practicing Nurse, Navigating the Bridge to Professional Nursing”. This is a common question being asked by student Nurses, or final year nurses on what the real life is after school, and what next steps to take after adding RM/RM to one’s name. Our speaker did justice to this, and we hope you will enjoy it. Outlined below are notes from the session.

Nurse Olowu Fisayo

Good evening, everyone.

My name is Oluwafisayomi Olowu, and I’m excited to facilitate today’s session.

I’d like to express my gratitude to the leadership of NCI for giving me this opportunity. Thanks also to the participants of this community for joining this meeting. I’m confident it will be an insightful session, and we will have a chance to learn from each other.

I’m pleased that Nurse Adeleke was here earlier to discuss leadership. He was my Class Representative in University, an exceptional leader!

Today, we’ll be delving into the topic of transitioning from being a student to becoming a practicing nurse, navigating the bridge to professional nursing.

This session will be interactive, and I’ll pose questions at intervals. Please type your answers as quickly as possible so that we can finish early. Additionally, kindly include your name at the end of your responses. The most engaged participant will be rewarded at the end of the session.

Dear Nursing Student,

Please pay close attention. Today’s topic is tailored for you. It’s crucial to emphasize that you are a Nursing Student, not merely a student nurse.

Imagine your journey from being a student (Point A) to becoming a professional nurse (Point B) as a bridge. Crossing this bridge requires effort and dedication.

One of the most significant milestones is passing your general nursing professional exam. Following this, you can proceed to register for the professional exam in your chosen specialty (RN/RM).

The moment your name is entered into the NMCN register after passing the general nursing professional exam, the reality of nursing life will start to sink in.

Let’s begin with a quick icebreaker:

  • For those yet to take the general nursing professional exam, what’s the first thing you plan to do when you pass?
  • For those who have passed, what did you do when you achieved this milestone? Would anyone like to share their experiences?

For those who never intended to work in Nigeria at any point in their career, whether immediately after school or later in the future, you might focus on the JAPA (Just After Passing Away) movement after passing the general nursing professional exam. Once you arrive in your chosen country, you can pursue a Bachelor of Nursing (if you’re a Diploma Nurse) or a master’s degree (if you’re a graduate nurse).

The truth is, acquiring various nursing certifications is not advisable if you don’t plan to work in Nigeria at any point in your career.

For those truly passionate about clinical nursing practice for spiritual, family, personal, or financial reasons, your dreams are valid. Please consider practicing outside of Nigeria. The international environment encourages career progression, competitive compensation, and excellent welfare packages.

Clinical nursing offers various specialties beyond Peri-op and Med-Surg. Start researching the specialty that interests you. Here’s a quick challenge: can you name a nursing specialty that’s not commonly known? Please educate us.

Once you’ve researched and decided on your specialty, channel your energy into specialization by pursuing a Master’s in that field. This is how you progress professionally. Avoid settling for post-basic courses; think bigger! Seek scholarship opportunities and go for a Master’s degree.

If you can’t afford your dream studies now, start the process of JAPA. Work abroad and build wealth for yourself. Many opportunities and sponsorships are available for nurses in the UK, US, Canada, and other countries. Begin your research; use search engines to ask the most basic questions about your career.

Don’t limit yourself to a diploma or degree. Expand your horizons and grow.

When you think of Oluwafisayomi Olowu, think of a young nurse who wants to see all nurses flourish. Many of you mentioned specialties not yet studied at the Master’s degree level in Nigerian universities. This underscores the importance of thinking big and not letting Nigeria limit your potential. Chase your dreams relentlessly.

For those like me who want to explore non-traditional paths, such as non-clinical practice, it’s essential to prayerfully decide your desired field. Then, research mentors in that area, connect with them, volunteer, and learn from their experiences. Non-clinical practice can be challenging to enter, so standing on the shoulders of experienced professionals in the field is crucial. Can you name a non-clinical nursing space?

Many young nurses overlook the value of mentorship. Seek mentors who are accessible and genuinely interested in your career growth. Mentorship is vital for career progression.

For instance, in my case, I work in the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights space. During my undergraduate years, I actively researched professionals in this field, volunteered, and invested in projects to build my network. I’m passionate about the NGO sector and have charted my career in that direction.

Remember that you can’t navigate your career journey alone; you need people. Build intentional friendships and networks within your area of interest. Leverage social media wisely, and remember that your network is your net worth.

In closing, remember that you can achieve your goals. Thank you for having me.

You can also check key points on this session posted on our Instagram page. We hope to see you in the next session. Have comments? Kindly use the comments section. Thank you.

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