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A grounded theory analysis of the meaning of community-based education in basic nursing education in South Africa.

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An extensive review of literature revealed that although CBE was a familiar concept and a national policy for health professionals' education in South Africa, there was, however, limited understanding of this phenomenon. Most of the existing CBE programmes were a reaction to the inadequacy of traditional nursing education and had emerged without any intellectual discourse on the phenomenon CBE. The aim of this study was to analyse the phenomenon CBE in basic nursing education and the meaning attached to it. Furthermore, the researcher aimed at developing a middle-range theory of CBE. Strauss and Corbin's (1990) grounded theory approach was used to guide the research process. The South African Nursing Council's (SANC) education committee and seven nursing education institutions with CBE programmes were included for participation in the study. Data were collected by means of observation, interviews and document analysis. Purposive and theoretical sampling was used for selecting interviewees, resulting in a total of 41 interviewees. Data collection and initial analysis took place concurrently. Descriptive analysis followed by conceptual analysis was performed using Strauss and Corbin's paradigm for qualitative data analysis. The primacy of the community as a learning environment, timing of first exposure, duration, frequency and sequencing of community-based learning experiences, as well as service provision, emerged as discriminatory core characteristics of CBE in basic nursing education. Irrelevance of traditional nursing education and political change emerged as antecedents of CBE. The need to respond to national health policies and community health needs was seen as conditions under which CBE had to operate in South Africa. The nature of the CBE educative process, which placed emphasis on active learning and curriculum relevance, emerged as essential for the realization of expected outcomes of CBE in basic nursing education. Based on these results, it was concluded that CBE in basic nursing education in South Africa is (a) relevant education, (b) responsive education, (c) education for social justice, (d) a conscious and deliberate PHC socialisation process and (e) a process and outcomes education. As this was a ground breaking study on the meaning of CBE in basic nursing education in South Africa, a number of further research studies are recommended.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Durban, 2003.


Nursing--Study and teaching--South Africa., Community health nursing--Study and teaching--South Africa., Theses--Nursing.