More than 80 nursing educators from the Western Cape and beyond converged on Stellenbosch University's (SU) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) in March for what has been hailed as a “very successful" seminar of the Nursing Education Association's (NEA) Western Cape chapter.
This was the first time the event was hosted by SU. The theme was “Voices of Health Professions Education".
It was also the first time that a seminar was included in the post-graduate diploma course in nursing education at SU, said Dr Guin Lourens of the Department of Nursing and Midwifery, programme co-ordinator of the diploma.
Prof Portia Jordan, the new Head of the Department, welcomed all delegates to the seminar.
Lourens said about half of the attendants were SU post-graduate nursing education students from all over South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho. Others hailed from universities including the University of Cape Town (UCT), the University of the Western Cape, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), the Western Cape College of Nursing, as well as nurse educators from the Western Cape Health Department.
She said she had collaborated with NEA chairperson Gohwa Fisher and deputy chair Linda Jonker to realise this historic event.
The speaker line-up included an international keynote address on global nursing education trends by Prof Phillip Moons of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium; a talk on effective clinical supervision by Dr Elize Archer of the SU's Centre for Health Professions Education (CHPE), and a talk by the CHPE's Justine Geiger on a framework for fit-for-purpose training.
In his talk, Moons discussed the main competencies required of nurses once they graduate as professionals. These include making nursing diagnoses independently; collaborating with other professionals; teaching the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, as well as ensuring and evaluating the quality of nursing care.
Other presentations included cutting-edge work emanating from various master's studies, such as Fisher on learning styles and Penny Gill on digital storytelling at CPUT. Groote Schuur's Terry Wulff shared an innovation on game boarding as a teaching strategy.
Commenting on the symposium's success, Lourens said: “We received positive feedback from the students and other attendees. The general consensus was that it should become an annual event."
According to Lourens, a key achievement of the symposium was that it drew together the local higher education stakeholders in nursing education.
“It also introduced the next generation of nursing educators to the network of the NEA and showcased local expertise in the field of nursing education teaching and learning strategies, as well as providing an international perspective."
On international nursing education trends, Lourens said: “We are all grappling with an international shortage of nurses, which means nursing educators are also in short supply, especially those with master's or PhD degrees. The shift is towards a four-year degree in nursing globally for training of professional nurses and many countries abroad are still in transition."
Caption: Dr Guin Lourens, Gohwa Fisher (NEA chair), Prof Portia Jordan and
Dr Elize Archer.