• Dalena van Rooyen Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • Esmeralda Ricks Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • David Morton Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • National Nursing Research Advisory Committee (NNRAC)
Keywords: Research in nursing, NRF rating


The development of research programmes is a relatively novel phenomenon amongst nurse researchers in developing countries. Academics and researchers are faced with the demands for postgraduate and publication outputs, but with little or no support. In South Africa, benchmarks have been set for expected research outputs per university and per academic. However, nursing schools are finding it a challenge to meet these targets.This chapter provides an overview of the status of nursing research in South Africa and determines the overall research outputs for the various South African nursing schools.The data was collected through a structured self-administered questionnaire. The survey was distributed to all 22 university nursing schools in South Africa of which 17 completed surveys were returned (77% response rate). The nursing dean was expected to verify all information submitted. Data collected reflects the years 2008-2010.Only 23.54% of nurse academics in South Africa have doctoral degrees impacting on the throughput rates of doctoral and master’s degree students. There are high intakes for doctoral and master’s degree programmes with limited availability of research supervisors. The results also revealed that almost half (46%) of the academics employed at nursing schools are employed in a full-time contract position. In South Africa, each year 4.7 articles per nursing school per year are published in accredited journals.It is evident from the results that there is an increase in the output of publications and funding for research, but that the output rate of postgraduate students has shown nominal improvement, especially regarding doctorates. Problems affecting research outputs included writing challenges, a lack of stability or constant change in management in many nursing schools, as well as a shortage of experienced supervisors. Unrealistic workloads were also singled out as challenges that impact on research outputs. However, support programmes have been established to support researchers, and this seems to have had a positive impact.


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