THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF NURSE EDUCATORS IN SOUTH AFRICA
AbstractHuman resource for health is a global concern, with a shortage of doctors, nurses and midwives to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Nurses form the bulk of the healthcare workforce and are found to service remote areas where doctors are not available. The World Health Assembly in recognition of the human resource crisis passed resolutions for strengthening nursing and midwifery services. Nationally, the Forum for University Nursing Deans in South Africa (FUNDISA) realized that it was impossible to respond to the human resource crisis before ensuring that there is a supply of adequately trained nurse educators to train nurses and midwives in the country. Of specific concern was the lack of mentoring of young nurse educators and the high number of nurse educators who are within nine years of retirement which will potentially leave colleges and universities with inexperienced young nurse educators. These challenges incited FUNDISA to conduct a survey in 2011, to determine the current status of nurse educator education and training in South Africa. Newly qualified nurse educators, heads of colleges and university nursing departments and heads of higher education institutions which offer nursing education programmes participated in 3 separate surveys. Senior nursing academics conducted the document review and evaluated nine sample curricula. The results revealed that nurse education programmes are offered at Diploma, Degree, and Master’s level. Educators felt better equipped in certain educational activities than in others. Their orientation to an academic setting and performing new tasks was reported as inadequate. Their self-rating of their competency fell between “poorly prepared” and “adequately prepared” with the lowest rating on curriculum development and highest rating on being a role model. On average the heads of NEI rated the neophytes higher than they rate themselves, however they rate the neophytes lower on role modeling professional behaviour, participating in scholarly activities and participating in the activities of the NEI. Conference attendance, in-service training and formal mentorship were the most common support offered to neophytes. Review of existing curricular highlighted several gaps in programmes offered at diploma, degree and master’s level. The study recommends standardization of nursing education curricular; increased practical exposure for nursing education students; increased capacity-building programmes and regular assessment of core competencies of nurse educators to ensure relevance and currency.
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