Nursing Discipline Celebrates 60th Anniversary with Conference and DinnerHealth Sciences

UKZN Nursing Discipline Staff.UKZN Nursing Discipline Staff.

UKZN’s Nursing Discipline celebrated its 60th anniversary with a Conference - titled: “Innovative Strategies to Advance Nursing Leadership” - followed by a gala dinner.

The Conference at the Elangeni Hotel on Durban’s beachfront which attracted about 150 delegates, aimed to stimulate a critical reflection on achievements in terms of developing nurse leaders and the limitations of initiatives in that area.

The goal was also to stimulate a dialogue to develop nurse leaders who are responsive to the needs of the profession and population.

Leader of the organising committee,  Professor Ntombi Mtshali, said: ‘The Conference was organised to recognise the significant contribution the Nursing Discipline has made over the years in developing nursing and midwifery leaders locally, regionally and internationally.’ 

Speakers focused on case-studies of successes, challenges and best practices of innovative leadership strategies in the areas of: Nursing Education, Clinical Practice, Research and Leadership, and Management Strategies for the health care workforce.

Welcoming delegates, Nursing HoD, Professor Gugu Mchunu, said for nurses to be accepted at institutions of higher learning they needed to be excellent.

Quoting Damon Raskin, a gerontologist and anti-aging specialist, she said being 60 was a ‘time of major transition.  So as a Discipline we can choose to be sad and perish or be merry and embrace this transition and celebrate our achievements while also looking at ways to survive for another 60 years,’ Mchunu said.

Dean and Head of the School, Professor Busi Ncama, said: ‘A lot has been achieved by the Nursing Discipline in the past 60 years, however, the investment needs to be evident and documented,’ said Ncama. She outlined courses offered by the Discipline in partnership with the KZN Department of Health and the decentralised clinical training programme.

Guest speakers included nursing experts Dr N Makhanya, who presented on “Relevant and Responsive Nursing Leadership”; Professor Anita van der Merwe, who spoke on “Advancing Meaningful and Responsive Nursing Leadership – Concepts, Caveats and Catalysts”; Dr L Campbell and Professor P Brysiewicz,  who presented on “Transformative Education and Developing Leadership Skills”; Professor H Klopper on “Leadership in Nursing Research”; Mrs P Dladla on “Developing Nurses for Strategic Leadership in Health Systems Management”,  and Mrs L Mkize and Mrs N Isaacs on “Leadership in Nursing Practice: Changing Mental Health Care Outcomes, the Clinical Specialist Mental Health Nurse”.

Formerly known as the Department of Nursing, the Discipline introduced the Advanced Diploma in Nursing Education at the then University of Natal.

Mtshali said there were now almost 2 000 students doing undergraduate degrees and diploma programmes and about 150 students in postgraduate programmes - a long way since its first admission in 1962 of 10 students for the BSoc Sc Degree in Nursing.

Over the years the Discipline had earned a reputation, both nationally and internationally, for academic rigour and innovative leadership.   ‘The diverse and relevant suite of postgraduate programmes reflects the training needs of South Africa and indeed the African continent.’

In 1998 the Discipline received the accolade of being the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) for Nursing and Midwifery Development in the African Region and was elevated into a position of continental leadership. This has been continually renewed up to date based on rigorous reviews. 

Nombuso Dlamini