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Expertise and leadership earns Prof Jordan top position at FUNDISA
Author: FMHS Marketing & Communications / FGGW Bemarking & Kommunikasie – Jackie Pienaar-Brink
Published: 06/05/2021

Prof Portia Jordan, executive head of the Department of Nursing and Midwifery at Stellenbosch University (SU), is the new board chairperson of the Forum of University Nursing Deans of South Africa (FUNDISA).

Jordan previously served two terms as treasurer and executive board member and was appointed in her current capacity in February this year. FUNDISA represents 21 university nursing departments.

Jordan's aim is to promote, support, develop and create a transformative landscape for nursing scholarship, education and clinical practice in South Africa in collaboration with the executive board and the heads of the university nursing schools in the country.

“Within the last two years, the nursing profession introduced new undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications aimed at producing graduate nurses as well as specialist nurses in diverse fields. It is an absolute privilege to be part of this transformation, and support other nursing schools in preparing cadres of nurses who will provide the best quality of care to patients." 

Her work as chair entails, among other things, collaboration and liaison with stakeholders such as the South African Nursing Council, nursing colleges and associations, and the South African Committee of Health Sciences Deans. 

Jordan studied nursing at the then University of Port Elizabeth. After working mainly in intensive care, she was a lecturer and later head at the Department of Nursing at Nelson Mandela University. In March 2019 she was appointed to her current position at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at SU.

Jordan holds a PhD in Nursing, Master's of Business Administration, Master's Curationis in Critical Care Nursing (cum laude), Baccalaureus Curationis, Diploma in Nursing Education (cum laude) and Diploma in Nephrology Nursing.

Her research programme focuses on the implementation of best practices and evidence-based guidelines in critical care units in order to promote patient safety, particularly in mechanically ventilated patients. She has 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.

According to Jordan FUNDISA seeks to be a unified platform to pursue excellence in nursing scholarship and midwifery and innovative leadership at higher education institutions in South Africa and beyond. 

FUNDISA acts as a consultant for various projects within the health care profession, which is inclusive but not limited to training, capacity development, project management, development of scholarship in nursing by means of providing a platform for publication and dissemination of research, mentoring, workshops and hosting scientific conferences. 

FUNDISA provides, in a consultancy role, Covid-19 training to approximately 1 500 nurses across the country, says Jordan, who is currently vice-chair for the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19. 

Through the PLUME project FUNDISA also contributes greatly to the research community in higher education institutions. In collaboration with the National Research Foundation (NRF) the forum assists academics in nursing schools across the country to develop and lead research programmes, obtain research grants, and work towards NRF ratings.

Several other projects that enhance nursing and midwifery on the continent is coordinated and implemented by FUNDISA, says Jordan.

In addition, FUNDISA supports the activities, mentoring and development of leadership amongst nursing students at universities by means of the student organisation SANSA, a student-led FUNDISA committee. 

“It is an honour to be the chairperson. It gives me the opportunity to be a custodian and advocate in promoting nursing as a profession in the country and beyond the African borders."

Photo credit: Damien Schumann