Beatrix Callardwas born in Windhoek, Namibia. After working in the fields of office administration and asset management, she changed her career direction and graduated from the University of Namibia with a Diploma in Comprehensive Nursing and Midwifery. After working in the Prem Unit for a time, she was awarded an African Paediatric Fellowship (APFP) Bursary and was able to pursue a Postgraduate Diploma in Critical Care Child Nursing (2012) at UCT. After her return to Namibia, she was asked to lead the Prem Unit, in the Maternity Department at the Windhoek Central Hospital. Beatrix managed the Maternity Department for the last three years with two of her colleagues.
In this position she actively lobbied for CNPDI assistance to better understand current practice and care of newborns in this large central Hospital. Committed to improved outcomes for newborns, she also facilitated the initial conversations with the Namibian Ministry of Health and the International University of Management, that has now led the design and accreditation of the first paediatric nursing training in Namibia, starting in January 2019.
Beatrix meanwhile started the MNCN course at the beginning of 2017, again as an APFP Fellow. Beatrix has learnt a lot in the past two years and feels as though she will be able to take back a new set of tools and understanding to her previous post in the Maternity Unit at Windhoek Central Hospital in Namibia. For Beatrix, the MNCN course at UCT has both been a challenging and rewarding experience – believing that the thorough process of the modules in the course have given her a better understanding of her role as a Paediatric Advanced Practice Nurse.
She will return to her post in Namibia and seek entry points and opportunities for her new set of skills to be effectively utilised within her setting. In order to do this, Beatrix realises that she needs to connect with people on the ground and encourage them to own the work that they need to do in order to effect positive change. She believes that finding the common ground between what needs to be changed and what can be changed, as well as a different mind-set and selecting evidence to support what you’re doing will help in the process of leading practice change in any setting.
Evelyne Mvungu is a registered paediatric nurse with 15 years’ experience in nursing children. She lives in Eldoret, Kenya. She successfully completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Paediatric Nursing at Gertrude’s Children Hospital School of Nursing, Kenya in 2007. In 2013 she added Nutrition in Chronic Illness at the University of South Africa to her learning. Most of her paediatric nursing experience was in the busy Neonatal unit at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Eldoret Kenya, in both clinical and clinical educator roles.
Since starting her journey with the Master of Nursing in Child Nursing, Evelyne describes having grown tremendously – both in terms of her career path, and in terms of her own personal growth. Evelyne was impressed with the way that this course began by focusing on her own strengths and how they could benefit her as an Advanced Practice Nurse. Through this, she has seen the advantage of nurses shifting their mind-sets in order to understand the potential that they have and the value that they can bring to the healthcare system.
Despite the challenge of being far away from her family in the past two years, Evelyne believes that she will be taking back all the valuable lessons that she has learnt over this time. When she returns to Kenya, Evelyne will head up the Neonatal Unit at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. However, she is still keen on being involved with clinical nurse education and helping shape the way in which nurses operate in this healthcare setting.
Thobeka Duma is a registered paediatric nurse from the Port Shepstone Regional Hospital, KwaZulu-Natal Province with 10 years’ experience working in the neonatal ICU. She was born in Munster, Port Shepstone and currently lives in Amanzimtoti, Durban. Thobeka graduated from the University of Zululand with a BCur in 2007. She further studied at North West University and completed her Advance Diploma in Health Service Management in 2012. In 2014, she was awarded the Marjorie McIntosh Scholarship to complete her Post-Graduate Diploma in Critical Care Child Nursing at the University of Cape Town. Recently she completed her Master of Nursing in Child Nursing (MNCN) at UCT, this time with a ResMed SleepNet Bursary, which supports the development of advanced paediatric respiratory support and care.
Thobeka believes that the MNCN course has broadened her career horizons as an Advanced Practice Nurse. Thobeka has always been passionate about neonates, but through her experiences of this course, she has a newfound interest in the field of paediatrics and plans on exploring this when returning to her setting of KwaZulu-Natal. As part of the programme she developed an evidence based practice protocol for the use of high-flow oxygen as a supportive intervention at local district hospital level.
According to Thobeka, the MNCN course had plenty of valuable learning experiences, particularly when she was able to compare the Red Cross Children’s Hospital setting to that of other health systems in South Africa and other countries. Through this comparison, Thobeka will be taking away the valuable lesson of patient- and family-centered care.
As a self-described transformational leader, Thobeka believes in the importance of getting buy-in from all stakeholders before any practice change can be enacted – particularly from those stakeholders on the ground in healthcare settings. She hopes to utilise this knowledge if she goes into the Kwazulu Natal district hospital setting so that she may aid in supporting and strengthening the healthcare system.
Virginia Ngugi is a registered paediatric nurse with 7 years’ experience in nursing children. She was born in Kiambu County in the Central province of Kenya. After graduating as a Kenya Registered Community Health Nurse from Consolata Nursing School - Mathari in Nyeri in 2010, she completed a higher national diploma in Kenya Registered Paediatric Nurse at the Gertrude’s Institute of Child Health in 2015. She has been working in the surgical ward at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi from September 2010 and also carries the responsibility of quality assurance in the unit. In 2016 she was awarded a VITOL Bursary as part of the African Paediatric Fellowship Programme, and started the clinical Master of Nursing in Child Nursing at UCT.
The biggest lesson that Virginia has learnt through the two year Master of Nursing in Child Nursing programme has been the importance of speaking up and making yourself heard as nurse practitioner. This lesson is essential for her new role at Gertrude’s Institute of Child Health where she is hoping to assume the role of coordinator within a division of the Clinical Governance. At Gertrude’s this division is called “Infection Control and Quality Assurance”.
Virginia believes that having effective competency in communication, research, leadership, and education is key to leading practice change as an Advanced Practice Nurse. Through the MNCN course, Virginia is certain that she is well-equipped to take on any new role and to develop strategies to teach and train others. She also plans on using research and evidence to help improve the policy and clinical practice on the ground in her healthcare setting.