A Nursing or Community Health Extension Workers’ (CHEW) Career?

Are you confused about whether to pursue Nursing or Community Health Extension Workers’ (CHEW) as a career?

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Scope of Practice:

CHEWs are trained to provide primary healthcare services at the community level. These services include preventive health education, immunization, maternal and child health services, family planning, and basic curative services.

When treating patients, CHEWs are guided by the standing order, which provides guidelines for carrying out assessments and providing standardized treatment.

Nurses have a more extensive scope of practice, including nursing diagnosis and treating illnesses, managing chronic diseases, administering medications, and providing advanced nursing care.

Community health extension worker
Registered nurse
2. Level of Supervision:

CHEWs are supervised by higher-level healthcare professionals, including medical officers or nurses, depending on the service being performed at a health facility.

A registered midwife would probably supervise a birthing facility in a Primary Health Care (PHC) center, as an instance.

Nurses, on the other hand, work under the direction and supervision of doctors or senior nursing staff.

3. Work settings:

Work settings are another area of contrast.

CHEWs work primarily in rural and disadvantaged communities, where access to healthcare services is limited. They have a place in the community health extension units of secondary and tertiary health institution too.

Nurses, on the other hand, work in secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities.

4. Career progression:

In terms of career progression, nurses generally have better opportunities for advancement compared to CHEWs.

Nurses can specialize in different areas of nursing practice, such as pediatric nursing, community health nursing etc.  Likewise, they can pursue advanced degrees in nursing or related fields.

However, in recent years, some universities in Nigeria, like Lead City University, have begun offering BSc programs in Community health, admitting CHEWs and CHOs.

Now for the most asked question! Which is the best, nursing or community health extension workers’ (CHEW)?

None is more qualified than the other because they have entirely different roles to perform according to the Health Act!

So is it nursing or Community Health Extension Workers’ career that is best for you?

It depends on your interests, career goals, and personal preferences. If you’re passionate about community health and want to make a difference at the community level, becoming a CHEW may be a great choice.

It’s important to note that the differences between CHEWs and nurses training is specific to Nigeria and may vary in other countries. 

At Wecare College of Health Technology, you can pursue a Community health extension workers’ program that will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to make a difference in the community.