What Is Accreditation And Why Is It Important In Health Profession Education?

What Is Accreditation And Why Is It Important In Health Profession Education?
What Is Accreditation And Why Is It Important In Health Profession Education?

Have you ever wondered, “What Is Accreditation And Why Is It Important In Health Profession Education”?


In this blog post we are going to be talking about accreditation and we’ll then look at why it’s an important process for health profession education.


What is accreditation?

This may or may not be your first time of hearing the word “accreditation”.

Now we’re going to explain what it means.

Accreditation is just simply a seal of approval upon an institution or an establishment.

This is basically what we mean when we say an organization or a school has been accredited.

It means that the school has been assessed by the regulatory authorities and found to maintain standards or the qualities that are expected of it.

In this blog post, we are going to be looking at the accreditation process and the importance of accreditation for health profession education institutions

What are the courses that are under the health profession education in Nigeria?

There are different courses that are available or that one can find in the field of health profession education in Nigeria.

Some of them include

1) Medicine and Surgery.
2) Nursing
3) Pharmacy
4) Dentistry
5) Medical Laboratory Science
6) Physiotherapy
7) Radiography
8) Optometry
9) Health Information Management

This is just some examples of the courses that are available or that are under the field of health profession education in Nigeria.

Who is responsible for accreditation of health profession education institutions in Nigeria?

When we talk of accreditation, there are bodies or agencies whose responsibility it is to accredit institutions. These vary from one profession to the other.

We are going to look at some of them and they include

1) The National Universities Commission (NUC)

The National Universities Commission is a body that is responsible for accreditation of virtually all the courses in most tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

If you want to train as a medical doctor in Nigeria, note that this agency will play a very important part in the process.

The job of this agency is to accredit courses in Nigerian universities, including health professional courses that are offered in these universities.

2) Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN)

The MDCN is a regulatory agency that deals basically with medical doctors and dentists.

They are involved in accreditation of medical and dental education programs in Nigeria.

They do this in collaboration with the National Universities Commission.

They also regulate conduct of medical professionals in Nigeria.

3) The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN)

This is a regulatory agency that oversees the education and training and even the conduct of nurses in Nigeria.

4) Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN)

This one is in charge of Pharmacists pharmacy students and pharmacy education in Nigeria.

5) Health Record Officers Registration Board of Nigeria

This particular agency deals with accreditation of health records officers programs in Nigeria.

6) Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN)

This caters for education standards for medical laboratory science students.

They also specify code of conduct for practicing medical laboratory scientists in Nigeria.

How often do the regulatory agencies carry out the accreditation exercise?

The frequency of accreditation differs from profession to profession.

However, most times the accreditation visits occurs every few years, say five years.

This will also depend on the results of the accreditation, whether the institution mets the complete requirements or if they are lacking.

However, we should note that accreditation is a continuous process.

It’s not just about a few days visit for accreditation. There is also a regular standard that they should maintain, which is set by relevant regulatory bodies.

Seven reasons why accreditation is important for health profession education institutions

1) Quality

Having an accreditation done ensures that health profession education institutions meet the minimum standards of quality and excellence.

This ensures that the students they train are not just of nationally relevant, but they can compete internationally with people that study the same courses in other countries.

2) Reputation

When an institution is accredited, this gives it more reputation.

Imagine an institution that has failed an accreditation.

It makes people panicky and they don’t know when they are going to get their accreditation again, or if they are even going to succeed with the accreditation process.

It makes people unwilling to to apply, to enter those schools.

Even people that are in this school will be looking at elsewhere as alternative options to take

3) Recognition within the profession

When an institution has full accreditation, for instance, it makes it easy for the graduates of the institution to be eligible for certification or licensing by the relevant professional bodies.

For instance, if you talk of some medical schools where their students do not get accreditation, those people cannot even write the final examination and they cannot be given the professional registration as medical doctors until they get accreditation.

4) Credibility

Having accreditation by an institution shows the students, even the general public, that the health professional education institution is standard and trustworthy.

Imagine an institution that does not have accreditation.

People will find it difficult to even believe what comes out of that institution.

5) Resources

When an institution is accredited, they have easier access to the resources and opportunities that will help both the institution and their students.

These opportunities may not be available to other institutions that are not accredited.

6) Better student outcomes

Having an accreditation by an institution helps students to receive higher quality education.

What happens in accreditation when an institution is fully accredited?

It means that they have the quality both in terms of physical structures, facilities, manpower and lecturers.

These lecturers can be able to impact knowledge in the students.

However, an institution that does not have enough lecturers, for instance, and does not meet up accreditation, the few lecturers would struggle to teach the large number of students.

However, when an institution is accredited, it makes it easier for the students to succeed and even to get better work opportunities after graduation.

7) Good perception from the public

Having an accreditation by an institution makes the graduates of that institution to be seen as really qualified by the public.

Imagine a student staying in an institution that does not have accreditation, and instead of staying five years for a five year program, the student stays eight years or nine years and there is still no accreditation.

The student may begin to be looked down on by members of the public as a dullard, not knowing it is not the student’s fault.

However, for a student that is studies in an accredited institution, he graduates at the time he is supposed to and he is well respected by the members of the public.

What are the requirements for accreditation for health profession education institutions in Nigeria?

So, the requirements may vary from profession to profession depending on some specific things they need.

However, some general accreditation requirements may be as follows:

1) Facilities

The institutions are supposed to have basic structures and facilities, as well as other resources that to enable for the training and education of the students.

Some of these facilities may include hostels, lecture halls, laboratories, libraries, in addition to others.

2) Curriculum

The curriculum must be up to dates and they should be taught what is specified by the regulatory body.

3) Number of staff

The institution must have qualified staff, especially academic staff.

In some cases, there will be a teacher to student ratio that is required and this staff will have the relevant qualifications that is needed in order to be able to impart knowledge in the students.

4) Continuous improvement

The institutions will have structures or system in place in order to enhance its services, meaning that institutions should not be static.

Things change every day, so the institution must be seen as having the urge or the desire to improve day by day.

What happens when a health profession education institution fails an accreditation in Nigeria?

If a health professional education institution fails to meet up with the accreditation requirements in Nigeria, the regulatory body may give them some time to make some necessary changes to adjustments.

They have noted the areas in which they have failed and they point this out to them and give them a time frame within which to make the necessary adjustments, after which they will come back for another visit.

If, after the time has elapsed, the regulatory body will come back for another accreditation visit.

If, during this time around, they have not made the necessary progress, the regulatory institution may be forced to withdraw their accreditation for some time.

This means that during that period, the health professional education institution will not be able to admit new students and even the students that are there will not be able to graduate.

What it will result is lack loss of reputation by the institution, loss of professional recognition, even loss of funding, as well as loss of the ability to admit new students.

At the end of the day, the institution is going to lose from all angles.

Wrapping Up

Accreditation of professional health education professional institutions in Nigeria is very important and it’s something that should not be taken for granted.

Once an institution has decided to run some of these health professional programs, they should be able to meet up with the necessary requirements.

This will allow for a seamless learning for their students and the students will be able to graduate on time and be able to compete favorably with their counterparts all over the world.


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