A problem-based education programme for registered nurses in advanced midwifery and neonatology
Fichardt, Anna Elizabeth
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It is the aim of the current government that primary health care should be established in South Africa to address the health care needs of the entire South African population. In this regard midwives are seen as the key figures to establish comprehensive perinatal health care. The altered focus of the delivery of health care from curative to primary health care demands expertise from midwives to enable them to meet the needs of the community. This requires an alternative approach to nursing education. Various researchers expressed a concern regarding continuing professional education for midwives. To address these problems, grass root involvement by practising midwives is proposed, in order to prepare them for continuing education. A proposal was made that continuing professional education should be implemented in the regions. The Perinatal Committee of the Free State supported the need for an education programme for midwives in the region. In response, the learning needs of the registered nurses were formally assessed and the Advanced University Diploma in Midwifery and Neonatology was developed and implemented. The community's perinatal health care problems and the learning needs of the potential students played a significant role in the development of the objectives and the selection of the content. An innovative teaching methodology, namely problem-based learning was chosen. With the development and implementation of the Advanced University Diploma in Midwifery and Neonatology the researcher not only tried to prepare graduates who can function in clinical context with the demands placed on them are constantly changing, where problems and situations are not easily defined or solved and where the body of knowledge is rapidly changing. The researcher also aimed to prepare health workers who will contribute maximally to the improved health of the individuals and communities they serve and tried to help students to learn how to learn, that is to create independent learners who will assume active responsibility for a lifetime of continuing education and who will be able to keep up with advances in their field.