Description and analysis of the process of implemetation of the national qualifications framework (NQF) in nursing education (NE) in South Africa.
Maqutu, Lucy Kathleen Nonkosi.
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The intention of this study was to describe the implementation process of the NQF in nursing education at central and provincial levels in order to explore the change process. It deals with this process as follows: Implementation of NQF in nursing education.; Organizational health at central and provincial levels.; The change strategies used at these levels.; The implementation level reached. It is a qualitative study of an enthographic type to describe and document the implementation of the NQF as it occurred. The researcher who was part of the group that generated the culture of learning in nursing, directly participated in the activities and events as they occurred at this initial stage of implementation of the NQF. A discussion between the researcher and nurse educators took place on strategies used and whether they find the existing environment promoting changes. The research techniques used for gathering information were interviews and documents. With this information the researcher was able to reflect, make inferences and interpretations. The state of nursing education was described within the organizational self-renewal strategies described by Owens (1998). The description of the process of implementing the NQF was viewed against the change strategies as described by Bennis, Benne and Chin (1969), which are the empirical rational, normative re-educative and power coercive. The stage of implementation of the NQF in NE that has been achieved has been assessed using the NQF principles as a yardstick. The data collected is largely qualitative and its analysis has been qualitative. The categories of the theoretical framework which are inputs (organizational health); process (change theories); and outcomes (awareness, planning, use and refinement) of the NQF principles, have been used to analyze the data. The findings on organizational health reveal that nursing education is a healthy organization at both central and provincial levels. It has taken the opportunity presented by the NQF to address some of its organizational problems such as the Scope of Practice for nurses and midwives. There are, however, problems in making final decisions about the planned implementation of the NQF because of differences in vision about the future of nursing education. The movement of nursing education (NE) to higher education (HE) is hampering progress because the National Government is not implementing the Education Act No. 101 of 1997 which has moved NE to HE. Both the South African Nursing Council (SANC) and Natal College of Nursing (NCN) have no coherent human resources development policy. At both the central and provincial levels of NE normative re-educative strategies are ones that have been used extensively rather than power coercive strategies. Empirical rational strategies were also made use of to identify the advantages of the NQF policy and to incorporate them into the planned changes. There is full awareness and planning for the implementation of all the principles of the NQF. The principles of the NQF that are already in use and are being refined are integration of education and training, relevance, credibility and legitimacy.This is because they had already been in use in nursing education and practice before the inception of the NQF policy.