Leadership in Nursing Education: championing policy and development initiatives

Sunday, 17 November 2013: 3:25 PM

Nelouise Geyer, MCur, BCur
Nursing Education Association, Pretoria, South Africa
Sharon Vasuthevan, PhD
Nursing, Life Healthcare, Pretoria, South Africa

Learning Objective 1: To describe projects to strengthen leadership in nursing education in South Africa

Learning Objective 2: To share initiatives strengthening the capacity of nurse educators.

BACKGROUND: The South African health system is a nurse-based healthcare system challenged by an extensive and changing burden of disease; poor health outcomes, particularly mother and child care, serious shortages of health professionals and a variety of other factors. South Africa has undergone significant legislative and policy changes during the last two decades, particularly in the health sector, to address these challenges. This includes the incorporation of all nursing programmes into the higher education system. These factors highlighted the role and influence of nurse as a crucial component of human resources to address these challenges.

OBJECTIVE: To describe two projects to strengthen leadership in nursing education in South Africa and to share initiatives addressing the capacity building needs of nurse educators.

METHODS: A professional organization for nurse educators was involved in a national, country project and championed an organizational initiative to strengthen leadership in nursing education. The national initiative in the form of a Nursing Summit, was undertaken by the Ministry of Health where nurses could consider the challenges and collectively propose strategies to address these. This initiative addressed (i) policy changes required to promote nursing and midwifery; (ii) improvement of planning and development of nursing resources; (iii) promoting education and clinical practice. Parallel to this process the organization developed a capacity building programme addressing (i) innovative teaching and learning; (ii) promoting scholarship and a research culture at nursing education institutions; (iii) strengthening leadership skills amongst nurse educators in the quest to take all nursing programmes to higher education.    

RESULTS: There is evidence of growth in education and research capacity with an increase of nurse educators willing to take up leadership positions in the professional organization.

CONCLUSION: Championing growth and development of the leadership of nurse educators can be successful.