UCT’s Child Nurse Practice Development Initiative (CNPDI) critical care education team has been recognised for its excellence in developing paediatric nursing capacity across the continent. The team was the winner of the 2018 Burdett Nursing Award for Global Health Impact.
The inaugural awards ceremony was held on 24 May in London. The charitable Burdett Trust for Nursing supports nurse-led projects and uses its funds to improve the patient-care environment. This award recognises a team that has made an outstanding contribution to patient care outside the United Kingdom (UK).
The CNPDI, which constitutes Africa’s premier nursing training centre, is run in partnership between UCT and the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
The critical care education team, led by UK nurse practitioner Clare Davis, is small but dedicated to its aim of building children’s nursing for Africa, in Africa. Since 2009 this team has trained 121 critical care children’s nurses from six sub-Saharan countries.
“Her diligence and clear thinking helps her team and students find ways to make excellence an achievable goal even for nurses working in the most challenging situations in Africa.”
Such work is crucial, with less than 2% of southern African nurses being trained in paediatrics: a number that falls even lower in other sub-Saharan countries.
Indeed, when Davis joined the CNPDI in 2009 she became the first and only critical care child nursing lecturer in Africa. It was a steep learning curve, but she never looked back.
“One of the big things my experience of working in Africa has taught me is that it doesn’t help to look at situations as being resource-poor. The philosophy of this team is that people, especially nurses, are resource-full. If you keep that in mind, you can usually find a way to get things done,” she said.
In short supply
Equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to save the lives of acutely ill infants and children, the critical care practitioners trained by Davis and her team are a vital resource that is in desperately short supply.
With the programme boasting a 94% graduation rate, so far 100% of graduates have returned to practice in their home countries, with many going on to lead important developments in local and national paediatric health services.
In one such instance, the team supported alumni in Kenya as they worked to set up a second training site for the continent in 2013.
This new centre has become a hub for nurses in east Africa – with 67 nurses already having graduated and a further 33 currently enrolled. Together, these two centres represent the future of critical care child nursing in Africa.
“Clare is a dynamic and astute leader and engaging clinical teacher,” commented CNPDI director Associate Professor Minette Coetzee.
“Her diligence and clear thinking helps her team and students find ways to make excellence an achievable goal even for nurses working in the most challenging situations in Africa.
“It’s wonderful to see that work and dedication being recognised by such a prestigious international body as the Burdett Trust. I’m incredibly proud of them.”
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