Friday, May 31, 2024

Erring nursing schools risk recruitment suspension-Kasonka

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The Ministry of Health is concerned that the standards of the nursing profession are going down because institutions of learning have concentrated on numbers as opposed to producing high quality students.

Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Lackson Kasonka, said the market for nurses is saturated with institutions whose number of students is beyond their staffing and infrastructural capacity.

Professor Kasonka said this situation has compromised the quality of training for nurses.

He said this in Kabwe during a nurses-midwife educators’ strategic meeting.

He said nursing institutions should stopped focusing on numbers and the ability of the students to pay but should instead concentrate on the required academic qualifications as they recruit students.

Prof. Kasonka has since warned that government may consider suspending enrollment to improve standards among some nursing institutions in the country.

“We might have to give restrictions as to how many students you can recruit based on the institution’s capacity. If your faculty doesn’t allow it, we, as the Ministry of Health, have the power through the Nurse and Midwifery Council. We may even be able to suspend recruitment,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary also observed that some nursing and midwifery courses are attractive because it is easier to get employed compared to other professions, a situation which leads to poor attitudes in health facilities.

And the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Zambia (NMCZ) has attributed the fall in the quality of the nursing profession to enrolling students that do not have required academic qualifications, congestion of training institutions and an increase in the tutor-student ratio.

NMCZ Board Chairperson, Patricia Mukwato, said the unsustainable increase in the nursing and midwifery institutions and increased enrollment have increased the tutor-student ratio to one tutor against 100 students as opposed to the ideal one to 50.

“It is worse for the instructor-student ratio which is now one to 400 as opposed to 1 to 10 which is the ideal. This is compromising the knowledge, skills imparted to students,” Dr. Mukwato said.

She however said the council has started regulating numbers downwards for all approved programmes to a maximum of 50 students per year to enhance quality.

Dr Mukwato also said some institutions have continued to enroll students without the required five credits qualifications especially among private institutions.

She stated that the council has prescribed the minimum standards for enrollment hence institutions that will not abide by the prescribed guidelines will be dealt with.

Meanwhile, Solidament Country Director, John Tierney, said his organisation remains committed to support training of health workers in the country.

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