nursing schools zambia
Nursing schools in Zambia
If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, Zambia offers many excellent nursing schools to choose from. The program duration varies from three years to five years depending on the level of education that you wish to achieve and whether or not you already have a degree. Generally speaking, students with no prior post-secondary education will be required to complete a bachelor’s degree in order for their qualifications to be recognized internationally. In contrast, individuals who already have some sort of undergraduate degree – even if it is unrelated – may qualify for an accelerated two-year diploma program instead.
Students at the University of Zambia must complete the following courses in addition to clinical rotations:
- Health Assessment and Promotion * Pharmacology * Pathophysiology
- Nursing Practice and Communication Skills * Nursing Care Management I-IV
Govt makes slow progress on health system
The Government should provide more resources for healthcare training and improve on the health system in order to find lasting solutions to the shortage of skilled workers in the country.
A recent report by a non-governmental organisation, Action Aid Zambia, has revealed that it takes an average of 10 years to train a medical doctor but with attrition rates standing at 50 per cent, there is need for Government to increase resources so that people can be trained quickly.
The lack of human resource capacity undermines efforts at improving access by all citizens to quality healthcare services as well as reduce maternal mortality which remains high.
Government has made slow progress on strengthening the health system and this is something they should address in order to realise various goals set under Vision 2030.
‘Ministry of Health has been supportive’
In terms of the Ministry of Health, it has been very supportive. They have provided a lot of support to the schools and colleges. The Ministry has been supportive in improving the quality of these institutions.
‘Quality of teachers is very high’
“The quality of teachers is very high,” said Chibuye. “We do a lot of work to ensure we maintain the standards and that is through the process we go through for recruitment and also the continuous check on their performance. The teaching profession is one where you have to constantly be updating yourself as well, so research is part of what will keep you up to date and relevant in your area. We’re always encouraging our staff not just to teach but also do research because nowadays if you don’t have research it’s like you don’t have anything!
Risks with nursing school students
Once through their initial training and into the profession, nurses are at risk of infection.
HIV/AIDS has been a significant issue for nurses, who have often been affected by blood-borne pathogens because of their close contact with patients.
The government has increased efforts in recent years to fight HIV/AIDS among nursing school students through programs such as the Zambia Nursing School HIV program (ZNSHINP).
The Zambian government is also working to increase access to nursing education and improve its quality. In 2011, it created a new National Board of Nursing Education Examination that students must pass before they can receive their diplomas.
‘Obstacles to training are financial in nature’
Costs for tuition, and required items such as books, lab coats, scrubs and stethoscopes, can add up quickly. The cost of travel from one’s home to the school campus can also be a financial barrier. In addition to these costs, many students find it necessary to pay for housing near the school campus because their homes are too far away. Eating in cafeterias or restaurants is often an additional cost for nursing students who do not live with family.
‘We need more practical experience outside the classroom’
- What is the problem with the current system?
We need more practical experience outside the classroom. The theory we learn here is important and what we do in our clinical is also very good, but we don’t get enough time to actually practice before entering a real healthcare environment. We need that preparation and guidance—and they’re not giving it to us.
- Why do you think this is so important?
People’s lives are at stake! You should be able to look at someone and say: “If I give him this medication he may collapse.” Or “How frail, or how strong she is.” These things are important because it will help save lives if people know these things beforehand.
- Do you think anything should be done to improve this? If so, what would an ideal solution be like? How much more time would you need? How much would it cost?
I think they should be doing internships for the students in their final year, maybe six months or one year. Yes I think this would cost more money because some of the hospitals cannot cater for all these people even if they wanted to. So maybe if there were more hospitals or clinics in each province where students could practice that would help with costs on both sides.
Zambia’s government is making progress in improving nursing schools.
In recent years, Zambia has attempted to improve its nursing schools and training programs. In 2009, the national government announced plans to increase the number of nurses it trained from 600 to 1,200 annually. In order to do this, the Ministry of Health partnered with two universities in the United Kingdom: London South Bank University and the University of Northampton.
The partnership allowed for more nurses than ever before to receive professional training through scholarships provided by the government’s Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM). The scholarship program was created in 2002 as a way to provide financial assistance for students pursuing primary education. Today, BEAM provides similar scholarships for health care professionals who would otherwise be unable to afford medical training. Through this program, Zambia hopes to reduce its severe shortage of health care workers by sending more people into the field each year.