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Nursing education in South Africa receives an R70m boost

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Four universities will divide among them a sum of R70m, donated to help improve nursing education in the country over the next four years, the Inyathelo organisation announced on Thursday.

The grants, courtesy of The Atlantic Philanthropies, an international philanthropic organisation, are aimed at elevating nursing education and uplifting the quality of healthcare delivery in the country.

“Through this programme, South African nursing will compete internationally, attract the best candidates for the profession and encourage nurses who have moved abroad to return to the country,” said Minister of Health Barbara Hogan.

According to Inyathelo, the universities will use the money from 2009 to the end of 2012. “The initiative will elevate nursing education and uplift the quality of health care delivery in the country and transforming current and future generations of nurses to highest levels of doctoral study and beyond.” More specifically, it is hoped that the investment will improve many areas of nursing specialisation, including maternal and child health, community health, and critical care nursing.

The money was given to the departments of nursing at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), University of Fort Hare, University of Free State, and University of the Western Cape. In addition, seed grants of R1-million each are being awarded to three additional universities: North West University, Stellenbosch University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The grants were awarded through the University Nursing Education Programme (Unedsa) and are managed by Inyathelo – The South African Institute for Advancement, a non-profit trust that promotes philanthropy and strengthens the NGO sector and institutions such as universities.

“Nurses literally deliver more health care in South Africa than the members of any other profession, and this support for advancing nursing education, academics, research and clinical practice will empower nurses and strengthen nursing as a profession and ensure higher quality care for South Africans,” said UNESDA programme manager Dr Vicki Pinkney Atkinson.

Each university that applied for a grant was required to address the needs of a particular institution and its community.

The awards will be celebrated at a function in Cape Town on December 12.

What the Universities will do:

The Adelaide Tambo School of Nursing Science at the Tshwane University of Technology will render nursing services to the community in Shoshanguve Ext 12 and 13 by means of mobile clinics offering primary health care, cancer and palliative care, management of lifestyle diseases, and early childhood development.

The Department of Nursing Sciences at the University of Fort Hare will introduce new doctoral and research masters programmes, enhance the capacity of its current staff, and assist in increasing the number of students enrolled in postgraduate studies. In conjunction with this grant, the University committed an additional R40million of its own to build a centre of nursing excellence, designed to develop post-graduate programmes.

The School of Nursing at the University of the Free State will establish a unique Virtual Health Teaching and Learning facility, which will provide hands-on clinical training for students by bringing volunteers from the communities into the classroom to play the roles of people with specific illnesses and disorders. It will also serve practising nurses and staff members by establishing a new unit for continued professional and research capacity development. A new masters degree in nursing education will be introduced.

The School of Nursing at the University of the Western Cape plans to create a centre for teaching and learning with the aim of increasing research capacity and to provide academic support for postgraduate students. It will also place a strong emphasis on research and publications.

Source: Sapa & SAGN

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University of the Western Cape, UNSEDA