Ultimate Guide to Medical Housemanship in Nigeria for Newly Graduated Doctors (2023)

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Medical housemanship is one of the most important phases in the life of a doctor. It is like an extension of the clinical rotations in medical school meant for the acquisition of relevant skills that will help you throughout the rest of your medical career, and this time with pay.

This is a training program that most medical students look forward to, as it is here you actually have your first experience of the things you have been reading in medical school.

Meaning of Housemanship

The term housemanship was first used in graduate medical training programs in the UK and has now spread to many other British colonies. It refers to a graduate medical training where a newly graduated medical doctor called a house officer undergoes a one-year supervisory program under another doctor called a registrar or attending physician.

So the housemanship training program is actually done under a registrar who reports to a senior registrar and then the consultant.

What is Housemanship all About?

During medical housemanship in Nigeria, graduate doctors are under training. As a house officer, you are exposed to various learning experiences and actually have the opportunity to attend to medical and surgical cases.

Some of the Housemanship Experiences in Nigeria include learning:

housemanship in nigeria
housemanship in nigeria
  • How to efficiently clerk a patient and make a working diagnosis
  • How to prescribe medications for common illnesses based on your working diagnosis
  • How to offer first aid and intervene in various medical and surgical emergencies
  • How to perform minor surgeries like; biopsies, lumpectomies, suturing of actively bleeding vessels, etc.
  • Workplace politics like how to handle difficult patient’s relatives, and how to relate with co-workers and other allied health workers.

How to Apply for Medical Housemanship in Nigeria

Currently, applying for medical housemanship in Nigeria is very simple and straightforward with the new MDCN regulation.

However, this is only for centers under the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

Steps for Applying for Housemanship in Nigeria

Step 1: Getting your folio number

To get a folio number, you must have completed medical school in an MDCN-accredited medical school. Check the list of MDCN-accredited medical schools here. If your school is MDCN accredited, then you must have gotten a folio number.

For foreign-trained doctors, you must have passed the MDCN licensing exam for graduate doctors to be able to get a folio number which will be used to open your file on the MDCN portal. So please kindly visit the MDCN exam website for more information on how to book and write the MDCN exam.

Step 2: Visit the MDCN portal and commence registration.

Usually, your medical school sends a list of eligible medical graduates from your school to MDCN after which registration access is granted to you.

To know if registration access has been granted you, you should receive an email containing details of your registration; how to access the portal, and the registration fees.

medical housemanship in Nigeria
Housemanship Experience in Nigeria

Step 3: Confirmation Email

You will then receive a confirmation email like the one below if your registration was successful.

Medical housemanship in Nigeria
Medical housemanship in Nigeria

Step 4: Apply for Housemanship

After you must have filled in all your details correctly and have paid all your MDCN dues as required, then you can proceed to a separate portal (MDCN housemanship portal) to apply for housemanship.

Note: MDCN releases a list of centers available for housemanship in Nigeria every 3 months. But you should endeavor to follow their handles on Twitter for first-hand information about when the portal will be opened.

Step 5: The MDCN Appointment Letter

Finally, when the portal is opened, you will see a list of available hospitals and these are selected by doctors nationwide on a first come first serve basis.

Once you have selected a center, you will receive an appointment letter which is mailed directly to your email. It is with this appointment letter that you visit your center of choice to commence your 1-year housemanship program.

This appointment letter is only valid for 2 weeks and you must report to your center within 2 weeks of receiving your appointment letter.

Also, Read; Things to do before Housemanship

MDCN Approved Hospitals for Housemanship in Nigeria

Currently, there are about 42 approved centers you can apply for housemanship in Nigeria. All are accredited by MDCN.

List of MDCN approved hospitals for housemanship in Nigeria:

  1. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital
  2. Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Shika-Zaria
  3. Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano
  4. Federal Medical Centre Abeokuta
  5. Federal Medical Centre, Jabi
  6. Federal Medical Centre, Katsina
  7. Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki
  8. Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe
  9. Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti
  10. Federal Medical Centre Asaba
  11. Federal Medical Centre Azare
  12. Federal Medical Centre Bida
  13. Federal Medical Centre Birnin Kebbi
  14. Federal Medical Centre Birnin –Kudu
  15. Federal Medical Centre Ebute-Metta
  16. Federal Medical Centre Gusau
  17. Federal Medical Centre Jalingo
  18. Federal Medical Centre Keffi
  19. Federal Medical Centre Lokoja
  20. Federal Medical Centre Makurdi
  21. Federal Medical Centre Nguru
  22. Federal Medical Centre Owerri
  23. Federal Medical Centre Owo
  24. Federal Medical Centre Umuahia
  25. Federal Medical Centre Yenegoa
  26. Federal Medical Centre Yola
  27. Jos University Teaching Hospital
  28. Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba
  29. National Hospital, Abuja
  30. Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi
  31. OAU Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife
  32. Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua, Edo State
  33. University College Hospital, Ibadan
  34. University of Abuja Teaching Hospital
  35. University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City
  36. University of Calabar Teaching Hospital
  37. University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin
  38. University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital
  39. University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu
  40. University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital
  41. University of Uyo Teaching Hospital
  42. Usmanu Danfodio Teaching Hospital, Sokoto

You can check the MDCN website for the updated list yearly.

Housemanship Vacancies in Nigeria

Housemanship Openings in Nigeria are not just for hospitals in the MDCN housemanship portal. There are also approved centers one can apply for housemanship in Nigeria but these centers are not directly under MDCN. This means that you cannot apply for housemanship in these centers from the MDCN portal, but you can apply directly to their centers.

Also, Read; Medical Housemanship Appointment letter template

Frequently Asked Questions About Housemanship in Nigeria

What are the daily tasks of medical house officers?

There is no universal guideline for the activities of house officers in all the MDCN approved centers in Nigeria. Different centers tend to come up with their own guidelines, rules, and regulations for house officers. While in other centers, there are also no specific rules; you just follow the tides based on trends you see older house officers following.
Meanwhile, in the center where I did my housemanship; the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, here are some duties we carried out as house officers:
Taking samples for investigations from patients and sending them to the lab
Retrieving results of the samples taken from the lab
Making arrangements for patient’s blood and transfusing them
Participating in ward rounds
Assist in seeing patients in clinics and in emergency rooms
Giving Intravenous medications to patients
Filling lab forms for patient investigations
Running some investigations in side labs like PCVs and micro ESR
Prescribing medications for patients
Writing out ward round summaries and treatment plans in patients’ case notes. and so on.
These duties may vary from hospital to hospital. But in my center, house officers are at the fore front of patient care, and we carry out nearly all the treatment plans for patients with the help of our registrars. Then for major treatments like surgeries, senior registrars and consultants step in as the case may be.

Is Housemanship the Same as Residency?

No! housemanship is not the same as residency. Residency is a much more advanced training program for medical graduates that come after you must have gotten your permanent license as a doctor and have passed your primaries in your desired medical or surgical specialty.

How Many Years is Housemanship in Nigeria?

Medical housemanship in Nigeria lasts for 1 year (12 months).
You spend 3 months in each of the core specialties that make up medical practice;
3 months in Medicine
3 months in Surgery
3 months in Obstetrics and Gynecology
3 months in Paediatrics, making them a total of 12 months.

How Much are House Officers Paid in Nigeria?

House officers in Nigeria are paid anywhere from NGN NGN 180,000 to NGN230,000 monthly. Learn more about how medical house officers are paid based on centers.

What Happens After Housemanship in Nigeria?

After housemanship in Nigeria, you qualify to receive a permanent medical license. You are upgraded to the rank of a medical officer and can decide to work as a private physician, in a government owned or private hospital or to pursue a residency program in any field of your choice.

How Do I Get my Permanent License after Hosuemanship?

You get your permanent license from the MDCN portal. This is after you must have completed your 12 months of house job and have obtained a clearance certificate from the center you did your housemanship.

Is Housemanship Compulsory?

Yes, housemanship in Nigeria is compulsory. Without housemanship, you cannot obtain a permanent medical license.
I am sure that by now you must have known that the license you obtain after graduating from medical school is a temporary license. So the only way to obtain a permanent one is by completing housemanship in an MDCN approved center.

Why are doctors called House Officers?

The term house officer or house man is of British origin and is used to refer to a qualified doctor practicing under supervision in a hospital in the 1st year of graduating from medical school.

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