Establishing and supporting locally-based, paediatric nurse training programmes in Uganda.

18 Jun 2015 - 14:15

This strategic visit to the Departments of Paediatrics and Nursing at the Makerere University (MU), and the International Health Sciences University (IHSU) also ascertained whether sufficient health service needs and university and academic hospital support exist for a locally-based training programme.

Ways in which this programme could be aligned with Ugandan Ministry of Health directives and service requirements were also explored. Staff training and a facility-wide, practice development process followed at the CURE Children’s Hospital in Mbale from the 18 – 22 May 2015.

Strategic partnerships:

Coetzee’s visit to Uganda was mediated by UCT Alumnae, Elizabeth Ayebare and Lydia Ssenyonga, both Masters prepared nurses with postgraduate paediatric nurse training. A visit from Coetzee with the Acting Chair of the Department of Nursing at Makerere University, Dr Gorrette Nalwadda, helped to clarify the nursing Department’s strategic plan, which now includes the development of clinical paediatric nursing programmes at MU. A meeting with Professor Sarah Kiguli, the Chair of the Department of Paediatrics, in the College of Health Sciences, at MU, assisted in a better understanding the process for African Paediatric Fellowship Programme (APFP) fellow recruitment and selection to UCT from Uganda, according to an in-country, strategic plan.

Coetzee’s visit with the IHSU and the International Hospital Group generated further interest from nursing leaders in sending nurses from these facilities to UCT for paediatric nurse training.

“The IHSU offers programmes that are directly linked to the hospital’s training needs,” Coetzee shares. “In this way, programmes maintain a relevant edge for meeting actual service requirements.”

According to Coetzee, the School is particularly interested in establishing paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) training at the University Hospital.

“A good connection has been established between the Initiative and the IHSU and we look forward to further discussions.”

Staff Training at CURE, Uganda.

Coetzee and colleague, Mrs Angela Leonard (a Practice Development Research Nurse from the Initiative), were invited by the Executive Director of the CURE Children’s Hospital, Mr Derek Johnson, to offer a refresher course to CURE nursing staff on children’s nursing care and child development and growth.

On request, Coetzee and Leonard ran an additional, facility-wide practice development process with multidisciplinary staff teams from the hospital to track pathways of care within the hospital, as well as organizational and communication norms.

Perspectives from CURE Uganda

Ssenyonga, an APFP Child Nursing fellow who has recently returned to the CURE Children’s Hospital to take up a position as one of two Assistant Directors of Nursing at the hospital, shares that the visit from Coetzee and Leonard has been valuable in terms of initiating further collaboration between the Child Nurse Practice Development Initiative and CURE:

 “This relationship has always been between me and the Initiative but, by the end of the visit, there was lot of buy-in from other staff members. The visit helped me and the CURE staff to track our patient pathway; we had never had someone observe and reflect back to us our model of care before.

“We are hoping that the Initiative can help the nursing staff to write and publish what we do at CURE and to help us keep current with new models of care and ways in which to improve our practice.”

 On CURE’s contribution to children’s nursing practice, teaching and research within the wider African context, Ssenyonga feels that, while CURE has the potential to strengthen and add to the existing body of knowledge and training support, these possibilities have not yet been explored.

 "Some Universities have contacted us to be one of the practical training centers where they can send doctors and nursing students to practice. CURE agreed and signed a memorandum of understanding between the two parties, but the training has yet to happen.”

 Coetzee shares that insights gained from her and Leonard’s visit to CURE will be central to helping the Child Nurse Practice Development Initiative better understand best practice models in local African contexts:

 “We are excited about working with the nursing and facility team at CURE to describe their model of caring for children with family assistance to form a well-coordinated community of care. This model has been intentionally developed by the dedicated team at CURE and is an excellent example of the collaborative possibilities between health services and faith-based organisations as resources throughout the region.”