Responsiveness of nursing education programmes at Lilitha Nursing College to the needs of the Eastern Cape Population.
Mbatha, Nomawethu Adelicia.
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Background: Reviewed literature revealed a number of responses to the calls to reform nursing education to respond to the priority health needs of the country. The 1997 National Health Care Policy served as the basis for the reforms in nursing education. Some of the nursing schools in South Africa embarked on a process of recurriculating to community based, problem based education long before the tabling of the 1997 National Health Care Policy with the aim to respond to priority health needs. Literature however showed that no research has been conducted to explore the concept responsive education within the South African context, especially in nursing education and whether nursing programmes are responding to the needs of the South Africa population. Therefore the purpose of the study was to explore the concept responsive education and responsiveness of the Nursing Education Programmes at Lilitha College of Nursing to the health needs of the Eastern Cape population. Research Methodology: A qualitative research approach with an ethnography design was used to guide the research process in this study. Purposive and convenient sampling was used to select the participants. The participants included policy makers from the Department of Health (Eastern Cape), lecturers and campus heads of Lilitha's three campuses (Umthatha, Port Elizabeth and East London), the professional nurses and the graduates at the primary health clinics, as well as the college principal. Initially, data collection and data analysis took place concurrently, Findings: Responsive education in this study was characterized by relevance to the health needs of the community, responding to national policies, community involvement and participation, use of health priorities to update the curriculum and graduates who can provide quality care. Cultural themes that emerged under responsive nursing programmes included; the special nature of the curriculum used, the innovative teaching strategies used, clinical learning sites which are congruent with the programme outcomes, the role played by all stakeholders in the programme, and assessment strategies used which are in line with the programme outcomes. A number of factors emerged as barriers to the production of responsive graduates. The findings in this study also revealed competencies of graduates from a responsive nursing programme, which included practical and transferable life skills. Recommendations: These included reviewing of existing nursing programmes with the aim of ensuring that they respond to the health needs of the community, revisiting teaching strategies used, building capacity of lectures in the area of innovative teaching and revisiting graduate competencies in nursing programmes to that they are in line with what the community demands.