With an undergraduate nursing programme having been reinstated this year at Stellenbosch University (SU), it is an exciting time to be at the helm of the Department of Nursing and Midwifery.
“The programme offers a transformative journey for the candidates, as it includes transformative pedagogies and learning and teaching methodologies," says Prof Portia Jordan, who commenced as new executive head of this department in March.
It has been 15 years since a graduate degree in nursing has been on offer at SU. The new Bachelor of Nursing is a four-year degree that would enable a graduate to register with the South African Nursing Council as a professional nurse and midwife.
A total of 54 nursing students were accepted at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences for this new programme, which is offered on the Tygerberg campus and its associated distributed clinical platform. “It is exciting that SU is one of only two universities in the country that has been granted accreditation to present the programme in 2019," says Jordan.
Her vision is to strengthen and grow the Department of Nursing and Midwifery in the delivery of excellence in leadership, scholarship and clinically competent graduates who are prepared for future work. In collaboration with other stakeholders and academia in the Western Cape and nationally, she intends to create a hub for excellence at SU in order to strengthen the nursing profession in general.
Jordan was born and bred in Port Elizabeth, where she completed her basic nursing degree at the University of Port Elizabeth. “After completion of the degree I worked at Tygerberg Hospital in the intensive care and renal units for a period of one year."
She returned to Port Elizabeth and a decade in intensive care units at the local provincial hospital followed. Jordan then joined the Department of Nursing at Nelson Mandela University as a lecturer. She worked there for 15 years and was promoted to department head in 2016.
Jordan holds a PhD in Nursing, Masters of Business Administration, Masters Curationis in Critical Care Nursing (cum laude), Baccalaureus Curationis, Diploma in Nursing Education (cum laude) and Diploma in Nephrology Nursing.
Why did she take up this specific career? “I chose nursing, in particular intensive care and nephrology nursing science, in order to deliver quality and safe care to those who are entrusted to our care by loved ones. As nurses we are in a privileged position to be part of the delivery of a new born, the developmental stages from toddler to geriatric, and to be part of either a good recovery and/or rehabilitation or a peaceful death of a patient."
Jordan, who has supervised more than 45 postgraduate students, is a National Research Foundation (NRF) Thuthuka research grant holder and PLUME research fellow. PLUME - a structured support programme – is designed to support nursing schools to develop research programmes and produce lead researchers who will not only create research intensive programmes in their nursing schools, but also enhance their own skills, working towards the NRF scientific rating.
Jordan's research programme focusses on the implementation of best practices and evidence-based guidelines to promote patient safety, particularly in mechanically ventilated patients. She has and published several peer reviewed articles in this research area. She is the co-editor of the book “Foundation of Nursing Practice: Fundamentals of Holistic Care," of which she has written three chapters in the two editions of the book.