H 10 SPECIAL SESSION: Transforming Nursing Research, Policy and Leadership in South Africa

Wednesday, 24 July 2013: 1:30 PM-2:45 PM
Description/Overview: Background In South Africa, the centrality of nurses to improved health systems performance is undisputed. However, nurses often bear the brunt of health policy reforms, but are seldom involved in broader health policy advocacy and development. This presentation will focus on the strategies that I have used as a principal investigator in various nursing research projects to maximise the health policy impact. The presentation covers work done over two decades. Session Objectives At the end of the session, participants should be able to: • Understand the strategies used in my work to transform nursing and health policy in South Africa • Understand the key success factors to maximise the health policy impact of nursing research. Methods The research adopted a participatory and inclusive approach that consisted of the following elements: • Consultative meetings with key stakeholders prior to commencement of the research, at the mid-term and at the end of the projects; • The establishment of a research project advisory committee, consisting of key nursing stakeholders, notably nursing scholars; government; the private health sector; the nursing regulatory authority; and the national nursing association; • Ensuring that policy advocacy and engagement and capacity building were key cross-cutting activities of all research components; • Regular feedback to stakeholders over the life-span of the research projects. • Publication of research findings. Results The research has shaped health policy development in a post-apartheid South Africa and it has contributed to health sector transformation. I have led the transformation of health services in the second largest provincial health department in South Africa and a large research programme in the Human Sciences Research Council. I have also contributed to building the capacity of nurse practitioners, managers and health policy scholars, through formal (graduate studies, coaching) and informal mechanisms (role-modeling). The research findings have been used in the development of health services geared towards the needs of poor and vulnerable communities. More recent evidence of the research impact is the inclusion of the study findings in South Africa’s five year human resources for health strategy. The research has also had a conceptual influence by changing the way government and the nursing profession understands and/or approaches certain policy issues e.g. moonlighting or the implementation of financial incentives. In all of this, I have played pioneering role. Conclusion Key success factors to maximise the health policy impact of nursing research are: consultation with key stakeholders; research quality and trustworthiness; providing an independent space to debate policy issues; networking and building strategic alliances; dedicated funding for policy influencing activities; and capacity-building at both formal and informal levels.
Learner Objective #1: Understand the strategies used in in my work over two decades to transform nursing and health policy in South Africa.
Learner Objective #2: Understand the key success factors to maximise the health policy impact of nursing research.
Organizers:  Laetitia C Rispel, PhD, RN, RM, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Moderators:  Colleen A. Leners, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, ENP, Department of Surgical Services C5, Navy Medical Center San Diego, San Diego, CA