Evaluation of a decentralised primary health care training programme
Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery
University of South Africa, Department of Health Studies, Pretoria, South Africa; University of South Africa (UNISA), Department of Health Studies, P.O. Box 392, Pretoria 0003, South Africa
The effectiveness of the one-year training programme for Primary Health Care (PHC) nurses of the Limpopo Province required evaluation. The competencies were assessed of the learners, who had completed this PHC programme with decentralised experiential learning opportunities. Qualified PHC nurses should be competent to stand in for medical doctors, when required to do so. This implies that patients' lives might be at stake, depending on the PHC nurses' competencies. The researchers evaluated the participants' PHC nursing competencies whilst managing patients with hypertension, using a pre-tested checklist. Through stratified sampling, twelve newly qualified nurses of a PHC training programme from six health districts in the Limpopo Province, were interviewed to identify their perceptions of the training programme, problems encountered during and after their PHC training and their perceptions as to their abilities to stand in for medical doctors' in PHC clinics. The research results show that the PHC training programme was effective as the participants were competent in most items tested, although it became evident that more attention should be given to history taking. Interviewees expressed their satisfaction with the PHC training programme but identified problems in rendering PHC services due to shortages of medication and equipment. The interviewees reportedly felt confident to stand in for doctors when required to do so in PHC clinics.