The pioneer students admitted to JKUAT to pursue Bachelor of Science in Nursing programme in the College of Health Sciences, are set to graduate this year.
The over 20 students who were admitted in the four-year programme which is regulated by the Nursing Council of Kenya, were admitted in 2011.
Since its inception, the department has registered a positive trajectory in terms of student enrollment and teaching staff.
According to Dr. Peter Mwaniki, Chairman, Department of Nursing, currently, the department of nursing, which is presently domiciled in the School of Medicine, has over 200 students spread across the academic years.
Recently eight (8) new teaching staff members were appointed, a move the Chair, reckons, is a major boost to the departmental bid to offer students quality teaching and learning experience, that lays heavy emphasis on the practical dimension of learning given that the nurse plays a very critical role in addressing the three Millennium Development Goals related to health.
As a way of ensuring that the nursing graduates contribute in terms of addressing the health related challenges facing the community, Dr. Mwaniki says, the University through the nursing department is already reaching out to the communities through the nursing students who are in their third year of study on Rural Health and Attachment Program in Maragua, Kiambu, and Gachororo health facilities.
In addition, the health promotion and health education concept for wellness living is currently being actualized in collaboration with several health centres in rural settings such as Maragua, Kiambu, Igegania, Gatundu and Thika. The program is a viable platform for JKUAT to empower communities to embrace health living as a way of addressing avoidable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and nutritional related illnesses among others.
Dr. Mwaniki further reveals, the Nursing Department is also set to mount nursing upgrading programme from diploma to degree for practicing nurses.
The move, Dr. Mwaniki intimates, will be a positive contribution not only to the national priority to human resource capacity building to address national health needs, but also part of the continuous professional development for the nursing professionals in the country.
Furthermore, the department is at an advanced stage in designing a Masters of Science in Nursing, which is tailored for the nursing graduates keen on enhancing their professional skills, by acquiring more specialized skills, and knowledge to confront the challenges in healthcare sector across the country.
The department is exploring collaborations/partnerships opportunities with other institutions and players in the health sector geared towards, staff and students exchange, joint research collaborations, among others.
Asked to explain how the pioneer nursing students are prepared for the world of service to humanity, the Chair says: “our students are equipped with the requisite solid scientific base in nursing sciences, biomedical sciences, behavioural and clinical sciences and skills in reflective practice, critical and creative thinking.”
He adds: “the nursing students rotate in a variety of clinical settings as per the requirements of the Nursing Council of Kenya. These placements include: Medical-Surgical Nursing, Maternal and Child Health, Accident and Emergency Care, Specialized areas (Operating room, Intensive Care and Renal Nursing), Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing and management of Rural Health and County Health Services.
The students are also attached to Schools of Nursing in their final year for teaching experience and upon graduation; the graduates go through a prescribed one year internship programme after which they are licensed to practice Nursing.