Original Research

Re-envisioning paediatric nurse training in a re-engineered health care system

Minette Coetzee
Curationis | Vol 37, No 2 | a1261 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v37i2.1261 | © 2014 Minette Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 December 2013 | Published: 29 October 2014

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Minette Coetzee, Child Nurse Practice Development Initiative, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Background: South African’s infant and child mortality rates remain high and at the current rate of decline will not meet the Millennium Development Goals of a two thirds decrease by 2015. At the latest available count, there were fewer than 1500 qualified paediatric nurses on the National South African Nursing Council register, with only about 100 nurses graduating with this qualification from South African nursing schools annually. It is not clear, however, if current paediatric nurse training programmes adequately equip nurses to make a real impact on reducing the under-5 mortality rate. In their 2011 interim report, the Ministerial Committee on Morbidity and Mortality in Children under 5 years recommended strengthening paediatric nurses’ training as a strategy to reduce the under-5 mortality rate.

Method: In response to the Committee on Morbidity and Mortality in Children recommendation, a colloquium was convened as a national forum for schools of nursing, departments of health, health care facilities, clinicians and regulatory bodies to advance children’s nursing in South Africa.

Objectives: The goals of the colloquium were to thoroughly investigate the situation in South Africa’s paediatric nurse training, plot ways to strengthen and expand postgraduate paediatric programmes to meet priority child health needs, and to build relationships between the various schools and stakeholders.

Results: Outcomes included the clarification and strengthening of a ‘stakeholder grid’ in nurse training, recognition of the need for more active teaching and learning strategies in curricula linked to national child health priorities, as well as the need to develop and support clinical nursing practice in facilities.


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