How to Become a Fellow of the West African College of Nursing BY H.A Okedo

On 12/Nov/2019 / In Articles

The West African College of Nursing (WACN) is a specialized agency of the West African Health Organization (WAHO). WAHO is an international health organization with headquarters in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.
 
BRIEF HISTORY
WACN is a regional professional nursing organization representing nurses and midwives in the West African sub-region. Formally inaugurated in Banjul, The Gambia in 1981. Sub-regional headquarters is at 6, Taylor Drive, Yaba – Lagos, Nigeria
Email: westafricancollegeofnursing@gmail.com
westafricancollegeofnursing@wacn-online.com
Website: www.wacn-online.com
Office Phone No:08081245510
Has five Anglophone countries and one Francophone country for now
West African College of Nursing
MOTTO: Unity, Knowledge and Service
 
THE CREST: Ideas reflected in the College crest are:
Circle - continuity of life
Woven cord -Inter-relatedness of life and the total environment
Nightingale lamp - illuminating a book symbolizing search for knowledge.
Colours  - representing the constituent faculties.
 
CONSTITUENT FACULTIES OF WACN
Nurses of similar specialty/training are grouped together
Medical – Surgical Nursing – Red
Maternal and Child Health/ Reproductive Health Nursing – White
Community Health Nursing – Green
Mental Health/Psychiatric Nursing – Blue
Administration, Management and Education – Gold
                     
STRUCTURE 
Due to the geographical spread of members of the WACN in the West African Sub –region the College is structured into National Chapters and Zones. The College comprises of the Council which is the governing body and the highest decision making organ.
 Constituent faculties
Joint faculties Board
Other Committees that may be appointed 
The Council is chaired by the President. All the officers of the Council and Faculty representatives are elected every two years in rotation among member states.
The members of the College are addressed as Fellows. They meet biennially, with member states hosting in rotation.
 
OBJECTIVES OF THE COLLEGE
To promote excellence in nursing education at the basic and post basic levels.
To maintain the standards of practice of nursing within the community.
To contribute to the improvement of health care within the sub-regional community.
To promote and encourage research in the field of nursing and to disseminate the results to member states
To arrange/advocate for or sponsor in-service educational programmes.
To assist in providing facilities in nursing disciplines in member states where they do not already exist.
In fulfillment of the above stated objectives, the WACN plans and implements workshops and seminars throughout the sub-region. Also through the College Fellowship programme
 
FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME
The WACN fellowship programme is a 4 year programme that prepares Nurses and Midwives for leadership, consultancy and research positions for the provision of quality client care.  A Fellow of the College should be a highly competent, service-oriented expert in clinicals and other areas of specialization. Therefore in-depth knowledge and practical skills developed over a minimum period of two (2) years in clinical practice , would enable him/her demonstrate high level of clinical competence, leadership, research and technical expertise.
 
AIMS OF THE COLLEGE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME
To prepare a clinical nurse/midwife consultant or specialist who would function in a leadership role within the nursing team. Participate in the education of nursing students and other health care personnel. Conduct individual and collaborative research in areas of interest or national/regional health focus.
Utilize research findings for evidence based practice. Plan and implement continuing educational programmes for nursing/midwifery personnel. Provide consultancy and advisory services to local, national and international health organizations and agencies requiring such services
 
ADMISSION/ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Candidates applying for membership through the fellowship programme must have the following requirements:
Candidates must be registered with the regulatory bodies in the member countries – The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Republic of Benin.
Candidates with B.Sc. /B.N.Sc. in Nursing and/or Midwifery degrees with a minimum of 5 years post qualification and proven working experience. Candidates with M.Sc./MPhil. in Nursing, Midwifery and specialties in existing College faculties, and  are functioning in those fields would be exempted from the primaries. They are eligible to challenge the examinations at Part I. However they should have a minimum of two (2) research-based articles published in reputable journals and must attend at least two WACN relevant updates to qualify. 
 
Candidates with PhD in Nursing/Midwifery and specialties in existing College faculties will be eligible to challenge Examinations at Part II. However they should have at least two (2) research-based articles in reputable journals and must attend at least two WACN relevant updates to qualify. 
All Candidates must attend WACN updates to qualify for the levels of examination  
All prospective trainees must be registered with their country’s regulatory body and have current license to practice. 
Obtain, fill and return the College application form either online or to the Secretariat with a non-refundable approved fee and a passport size photograph not more than six months old. 
 
DURATION OF PROGRAMME
The fellowship programme shall be for a period of four (4) years as follows:
Primaries – In-country at approved and accredited centres - 2 years.  There will be four (4) weeks of intensive classes to cover the modules for this part for the 2 years followed by one week of examination in accredited centres. 
Part I (Year 3) – This involves one year of self-directed learning, using course modules in specialty areas, including intensive clinical teaching   and experience in candidates’ own country. Consultants are expected to utilize the modules as a guide for teaching, tutorials, and supervision of the candidates. 
 
Candidates are expected to maintain a logbook used to document relevant experiences in their specialties. Photocopy of logbooks (spiral bound) and duly certified by in - country consultants should be submitted to the Secretariat. The original logbooks appropriately signed, should be brought to the examination centres.  
All Candidates should attend College update programmes in Bio ethics and must show evidence of registration and attendance before examinations.
 
Part II (Year 4) – This involves one year of clinically-based research project in specialty area, with intensive clinical experience.  At this level, candidates must attend the College Proposal writing workshop before the submission of two (2) copies of their project proposals to the College Secretariat for approval before the field work. Candidates should include endorsement from the in-country consultant with evidence of registration and attendance at the College update programme. 
 
Four (4) copies of the final dissertation and a cd rewritable copy of the dissertation should be submitted before defense at the accredited centres by candidates. Successful completion at the examinations and dissertation defense will qualify candidates for the fellowship. 
Candidates who have opportunity of exposure to practice in developed countries to enhance competencies could explore such avenues.
 
Examination regulations
All College examinations shall take place in the last week of September of every year. All candidates must attend the College organized revision courses before any examinations. Certificate of attendance should be attached to the examination application. 
Successful completion of the Primaries is a prerequisite for candidates to advance to Part I of the programme. Failure in the Primary examination after three attempts leads to discontinuation of the programme.
 
Successful completion of all aspects of examinations in Part I is a prerequisite for advancement to Part II of the Programme. Part I examination can be attempted twice only.
Candidates must successfully complete and pass the clinicals, defend their dissertations before award of fellowship.
The conferment of the Fellowship will be at the next Biennial General Meeting (BGM) after successful correction and submission of the dissertation not later  than three (3) months from the date of examination. 
Failure in the final clinical examination will lead to a repeat of the year. 
 
COMPETENCIES OF A FELLOW
Fellows of the WACN must have gained competencies in specialized areas of care that would enable them:
Provide specialist nursing care in accordance with the principles and concepts of the Nursing Process and other approaches to care.
Provide care to clients in accordance with legal and ethical principles.
Assume leadership positions in nursing education, administration, research and clinical practice.
Plan, develop and implement nursing and health programmes with other team members at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of the health care system.
Be potentially active to influence decisions that affect nursing and health at strategic levels.
 
ELIGIBILITY FOR MEMBERSHIP
A Fellow( FWACN ) is a registered professional nurse/midwife who has successfully completed the three (3) Parts of the Fellowship Programme and passed the examinations at  different levels of the programme as approved by the College, and has acquired the competencies outlined by the West African College of Nursing. 
Two other categories are: Foundation Fellows (FFAWN)  and Honorary Fellows
 
CONCLUSION
The WACN will continue to strive to contribute its quota to the maintenance of the highest possible standards of nursing education and practice in the interest of our people in spite of the obvious challenges
 
BRIEF HISTORY,OBJECTIVES,RULES AND REGULATIONS AND FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME OF THE WEST AFRICAN COLLEGE OF NURSING, A PAPER PRESENTED BY MRS. H. A. OKEDO,EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, WEST AFRICAN COLLEGE OF NURSING (WACN) AT THE  ONE WEEK CERTIFICATE COURSE ON DISASTER NURSING: EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS  HELD AT THE  AUDITORUM, RIVERS STATE SCHOOL OF MIDWIFERY, PORT HARCOURT.

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