School of Nursing, Mater Misericordiae Hospital Afikpo, a pace setter in the training of qualified Nur.sing manpower within and outside Nigeria was established in January 1952 after five years of official opening of Mater Misericordiae Hospital Afikpo in Ebonyi State
This manpower/professional institution was established due to the following reasons:
- The acute need for trained nurses manpowers to cope with the daily expansion of the hospital.
- Because of the geometrical increase in the number of persons seeking medical attention in the orthodox Medicare.
- There were very few schools of nursing in Nigeria then to train Nurses, hence, few nurses to be employed even when the hospital had the resources.
Considering the above reasons, the school was borne out of necessity. The school started with one building and an adjoining block to serve as an office. The additional lecture hall with a library was built in 1965. The first two student nurses who started the programme were males. They were Alexander Iroha from Ishiagu in Ebonyi State and Francis Ogar from Ogoja in Cross River State. They both qualified in 1954 and were given the special permission to sit for the final stage examination after one year, considering the experience they had.
School Of Nursing, Mater Misericordiae Hospital Afikpo Runs Two Programmes:
- Basic General Nursing which is a three-year programme and
- Post Basic Programme in General Nursing which is a two-year programme for nurses who have had their basic Midwifery training.
The entry requirement for the both programme are usually determined by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN). In the past, good standard six Certificate was all that was required but today, a minimum of five credits in not more than two sittings comprising of English language, Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and Chemistry are required.
School of Nursing, Mater Misericordiae Hospital Afikpo as a mission hospital is very conscious of the quality of her products. To this end, it strives to maintain a very high standard of Nursing Education which starts at the entry point. The students admitted into this school of Nursing must in addition to the entry requirements by Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN); pass the school’s written examination and oral interview. The selection board usually consist of the principal of the school, two Principal Officers, the Hospital Administrator, the hospital DDNS and a nurse delegate from the State Ministry of Health.
Successful graduates from the school are licensed by Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria to practice in any health Institution within and outside Nigeria.
This renowned Institution has made progresses before and after Nigerian Civil War.
In 1957, a new ruling of the NMCN demanded that a minimum of 100 beds were required to meet the requirement for general Nursing training, therefore, further lands were negotiated and work began and building were completed in 1959 raising the bed capacity of the hospital to 129.
Within 1960, 1961, PTS classroom were enlarged, covered path ways were created to link up the wards and a story building comprising the nurses hostel (dormitory), refectory and kitchen were erected). In 1962, the main classroom was built.
The School of Nursing and the hospital both saw the start of Nigeria-Biafra War in July 1967. Staff and students were greatly affected and the activities of the school got disrupted.
Immediately after the civil war in 1970, rehabilitation of the aftermath of the civil war started, Sister Catherine Theresa Onyeugo from Medical Missionaries of Mary became the first indigenous Rev. Sr. Matron of the School of Nursing, she negotiated the construction of blue student hostel which was commissioned by Rev. Sr. Asuzu who took over from her in 1977.
A major change visited the image of the school and the hospital in 1985 when Medical Missionary of Mary – Sisters ceased to administer the hospital and the school. Rev. Dr. M.N. Okoro, the Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese reluctantly accepted the fact of reality that lack of personnel made it essential that the sisters be relieved of their enormous responsibilities which they have carried for so long. Following this, a five year transition programme were undertaken to ensure a smooth handover of the school and the hospital. The Nursing division was put under the care of the Chief Matron Mrs. Philomena O. Inya and the transition completed when Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Iweke took over as the Hospital Administrator.
In October 1991, Rev. Fr. Iweke handed over to Rev. Fr. Dr. Innocent Ekumauche Oko, an indigenous Priest from Afikpo and the Chief Matron was moved from Chief Mrs. Inya (Ugoeze) to Miss Theresa Chidimma Akpelu, a product of the School of Nursing, Mater Misericordiae Hospital Afikpo. Chief Theresa C. Akpelu (DDNS) the longest serving nurse in the hospital and school is infact the effective link between the pre-war and the post war era. There have been several administrators since then but the present one is Rev. Fr. Wisdom Ohuche, another indigenous priest.
Administration of the school is mainly a direct responsibility of the principal and school academic staff, the nurse educator/tutors and clinical instructors under serious regulation by the hospital administrator.
From 1952 to 2016, over 10,000 nurses have graduated from the school and are doing well in Nigeria, USA, Britain, Germany, Tanzania and others scattered all over different countries in search of greener pasture.
The school has survived several accreditations by the N&MCN, in 2015 it obtained full Accreditation with a right to admit 75 students each academic year.