The 4th SA Forum for Child Nurse Educators holds value for all participants
Last week, the 4th SA Forum for Child Nurse Educators was held at the UCT Medical School. This forum first took place in 2014 as a way in which child nurse educators in South Africa could get to know each other and understand each other’s approaches. Since then, it has become a time in which these educators can develop their teaching techniques and learn valuable lessons from each other.
For the past two years, this forum has focused on the changing regulatory framework in South Africa with regards to nursing, with this year’s focus being on methods of developing a child nurse curriculum and further training that child nurse educators need in order to keep moving forward.
The four day forum took place from the 17th to the 20th of July 2018 and was a fruitful experience for the participants. Child nurse educators from all over South Africa, as well as Namibia, praised the lessons and messages that came through this year’s forum:
“I think it’s quite unique that this exists,” said Cynthia Spies from the University of the Free State, “not many of the other nursing disciples have a forum like this where we can get together and discuss our own unique problems and challenges and figure out the solutions together. That strengthens what we as paediatric nurses do and our voice can grow stronger as a result of this.”
For Thembi Dlamini, a lecturer from the KZN College of Nursing, this forum has had great value in terms of restructuring their Child Nursing course into a Postgraduate programme. “This has helped us a lot in that we are now upping the game,” said Thembi. “We are looking into what do we want this particular child specialist to be. And, most of the time, we were coming back to say, this needs to be a [nurse who is] independent, able to teach other professionals and also works within the team”
Eunike Mushelenga from the International University of Management in Namibia also said that this forum has been of the utmost value in helping her university develop a Postgraduate course in Paediatric Nursing: “You can imagine, we’ve never taught postgraduates before in a nursing career, so the forum was a mind-opener – it was a learning opportunity and it was good interacting with people who have been doing this for years. I learnt a lot, I learnt how it is to work with other learners, and I learnt different strategies of teaching that are helpful in that learning situation.”
The forum also tackled technical issues in terms of understanding the accreditation process for Child Nursing courses, as well as dealing with any challenges that may arise. Margaret Senatle from the Rahima Moosa Nursing College in Gauteng felt that dealing with these ideas together as child nurse educators was particularly beneficial: “The most important thing that I think about this forum is that it focuses on child lecturers across the country and outside the borders of the country and we are focusing on the same challenges and our strategies are the same – so wherever you go, we will always be sharing the same sentiments and the same goals.”
“All of us are speaking the same language here – which is about children and how we train nurses to work with them” said Minette Coetzee, Associate Professor of CNPDI. “We often talk about building a community of practice, this feels like it’s happened.”