Countries in East Africa suffer from a drastic shortage of healthcare providers, especially in the rural regions. For example, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda currently have desperately few nurses and midwives to serve their populations. In many communities in developing countries, nurses do what doctors would do if they were available: treat wounds and illnesses, prescribe medications, set bones, bandage sprains, and deliver babies. But there are far too few nurses available to serve these countries’ populations.
Aga Khan University (AKU) School of Nursing and Midwifery was created to upgrade the qualifications of working nurses from the designation Enrolled Nurse to that of Registered Nurse and from Registered Nurse to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing level. The skills taught in these university programs are desperately needed to meet the health needs of the region.
Enhancing the Student Experience – Nursing and Midwifery
In 2012, AWB undertook a project to enhance the quality of nursing education at the AKU School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa, through a faculty-development program that promotes student engagement in the learning process.
The volunteers assisted faculty members in several ways:
- Increasing their use of student-centred education, discipline, and evaluation mechanisms
- Lesson planning, in-class observation, and co-teaching
- Launching a comprehensive faculty-development plan
- Developing a new curriculum, research planning and design, and student feedback and faculty-evaluation mechanisms
Thanks to the success of the first phase of this project, AKU asked the volunteers, Marilyn Chapman and Pammla Petrucka, to return, extending the project to the summer of 2015.
Upgrading Faculty Research Skills – Nursing and Midwifery
Marilyn Chapman returned to AKU in Nairobi for two subsequent working visits in 2013 and 2014, focusing primarily on helping faculty members use learner-centred and interactive teaching strategies. The project also involved overseeing the development of the curriculum for an innovative, inter-professional undergraduate program – a collaborative project between the nursing and medical nursing studies programs. Marilyn also continued her work with AKU faculty in helping them write articles based on research projects undertaken in 2012.
Pammla Petrucka also continued her role as a faculty mentor, focusing on expanding the research capacity of AKU faculty members. In November 2013, she made a working visit to AKU in Dar es Salaam, and in May 2014 she returned to work on each of AKU’s three East African campuses. In addition to continuing her work mentoring faculty members, she worked with the faculty’s senior leadership on the faculty development plan and the expansion of the nursing program.
- Pammla Petrucka, Associate Professor, the College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Regina, Saskatchewan
- Marilyn Chapman,, Retired Professor, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia