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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848


SEBONI, Naomi M. et al. Shaping the role of sub-Saharan African nurses and midwives: Stakeholder's perceptions of the nurses' and midwives' tasks and roles. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.18, n.1, pp.1-9. ISSN 2071-9736.

To explore the role expectations of different stakeholders in the health care system on the roles and tasks that nurses and midwives perform, in order to clarify and strengthen these roles and shape the future of nursing education and practice in sub-Saharan Africa. Qualitative focus group discussions were held with different stakeholders (nurses, health service managers, patients and their caregivers, community members and leaders and other health professionals) in eight African countries in order to establish their role expectations of nurses and midwives. Three questions about their role expectations and the interviews were taped, transcribed, and translated into English and analysed. There was consensus amongst the stakeholders regarding eight role functions: taking care of patients; giving health information; managing the care environment; advocating for patients; services and policies; providing emergency care; collaborating with other stakeholders; and providing midwifery care to women, infants and their families. There was disagreement amongst the stakeholders about the role of diagnosis and prescribing treatment. Nursing derives its mandate from communities it serves, and the roles expected must therefore form part of nursing regulation, education and practice standards. Health planners must use these as a basis for job descriptions and rewards. Once these are accepted in the training and regulation of nursing, they must be marketed so that recipients are aware thereof.

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