Quality Improvement and Faculty Development in Nursing and Midwifery Education
Problem Statement, Situation Analysis
The standards and quality of education and training of nurses and midwives are low and poor in many countries, resulting in a health workforce ill-prepared to effectively respond to rapidly changing and complex existing and future health systems and population health challenges. Nursing and midwifery knowledge imparted to students, interpersonal interactions and practices displayed are often out-dated, non-evidence-based and ineffective in enabling students to acquire the necessary astute clinical reasoning skills for safe practice.
Educational institutes in smaller and/or limited resource countries make do with insufficient financial and human resources and overall physical infrastructure limitations, particularly in library holdings, computer and internet access and clinical learning laboratories. Incoming students enter with poor math, science, and writing and problem-solving skills. Faculty often lack both clinical expertise as well as any formal preparation in education, teaching and learning. Basic entry to practice competencies of nursing/midwifery programme graduates are negatively influenced by gaps between classroom learning and mentored clinical learning as well as inadequate clinical supervision and role-modelling, often by non-practising, non-expert clinical nursing/midwifery educators. Safe and quality nursing services are eroded by shortages of formally prepared nurse-midwifery educators as well as inadequacies in the promotion of student-centred, experiential learning, problem-solving and critical thinking, within the clinical context.
Meeting evolving population health needs by increasing the numbers of nurses and midwives alone is not sufficient in the face of inadequate or marginal nursing and midwifery education and training outcomes; insufficient linkages between health service needs and health professional education and training aims and content; as well as severe faculty shortages and skill inadequacies. Special emphasis must be placed on building the capacities of nurses and midwives to deliver, with partners and other team members, high quality care to populations within and across borders, in a variety of settings and rapidly changing environments. Improving capacities, nursing services and health care delivery require concentrated, strategic interventions to improve the quality of nursing and midwifery education.