A Conversation with a Nigerian Nurse and Administrator Who Uses iHRIS

This is an excerpt of a post that originally appeared on the iHRIS Blog.

Oluchukwu Ifele is a nurse by training, with a focus on nursing and midwifery. She’s now part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, where she supervises the clerical staff who use the open source iHRIS software to track licensure information for Nigerian-trained nurses and midwives. I recently interviewed her to find out more about her work and how she benefits from using iHRIS.

Oluchukwu IfeleWhy did you become a nurse?

One of my mom’s sisters is a nurse. While I was growing up, anytime we were sick, my mom would take us to her, and she took care of us. My mom is a very strict person, but my auntie is so kind and caring. I remember thinking that I wanted to be like her, to have her serenity and her caring nature.

How did you transition from nursing to administration?
I was trained to be a nurse who can work in different areas in the nursing profession—to work bedside and as an educator. I also took some management courses and administration courses when I was in the university.

I believe in perfection, and I was of the opinion that I could do good in administration, that I could make a difference for my country there. And so far so good. I love my job.

What was it like in your office when you began work as an administrator?
There were very big registers. They were large books that contained the information of registered nurses and midwives. We were the custodians of those registers. We accessed the records manually, going through the registers and looking for the registration numbers.

Were you using a paper system exclusively, or were you also using spreadsheets on a computer system?
We just used paper. And these registers really are quite big. If you’re not in the right state of health, I don’t think you’ll be able to lift them at all. Even the people who are healthy complain about it. My organization commenced a full computerization of our activities in 2010, and it was then that I got involved with iHRIS. I was among the first group of people to be trained in the use of iHRIS. Since switching to iHRIS, there is quite an improvement. We do things better. We do more things also. It has changed our job greatly. It has really improved our work, made it easier, and given us time to do a whole lot of other things.

What do you want to achieve through your work?
My highest hope for my organization is to make our work easier and more efficient. That can be as simple as not having to carry heavy registers. I once had to work on a Saturday; there was nobody to help me with those registers. It’s hard work. Now, I just click my computer and I see what I’m looking for and effect the necessary changes.

My aspiration for my country is that everybody be aware of iHRIS and use it so that we can achieve a high degree of efficiency. Right now, there is a lot of unnecessary work. Let me give you an example. This afternoon a colleague from a regional office inquired about a registration number to verify a practitioner’s identity. I checked and found out that that person was not the owner of that license. Ideally, my colleague should not have had to call me. She should be able, wherever she is, to just click a button and get the information she needs. So there is work to be done.

Read the full interview here.

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Photo courtesy of Oluchukwu Ifele