Training needs for African nurses

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Published: 12 Dec 2011
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Petra Fordelmann - Creative Wellness, Heidelberg, South Africa

Petra Fordelmann speaks to about the opportunities and challenges for African nurses. A major issue that nurses must deal with are psychosocial problems. Nurses are very well placed to deal with this as they usually have the most contact with the patients. However, there are too few nurses and there is a need training of the best way to deal with these problems. Many ideas have been suggested such as short courses, more specific training and post graduate training, but the primary obstacle is funding. 

AORTIC 2011, Cairo, Egypt 30 November–2 December 2011


Training needs for African nurses


Petra Fordelmann – Creative Wellness, Heidelberg, South Africa


We were mostly focussing on the training needs in Africa and the challenges and the opportunities. We were also talking a little bit about psychosocial issues and communication amongst cancer and cancer patients, cancer staff.


What are some of the challenges that nurses face in Africa?


Referring to the psychosocial issues, I think that the specific challenges with psychosocial issues in Africa is the fact that facilities are under-staffed so there’s a high load of patients, very little staff, so psychosocial issues are not really spoken about. The session today was really putting an emphasis on the importance of working out structures so that patients can actually have the opportunity of psychosocial support, which at the moment isn’t really happening at all.


How do nurses handle the psychosocial challenges?


We were talking about training issues, getting onto the training of nurses specifically, because often nurses are really the people that can offer the psychosocial support because they mostly have contact with patients. So we were discussing a few strategies in terms of training. We were discussing, specifically, short courses amongst nursing staff; we were talking about a higher level of perhaps more strategized and more specific training and then we were also talking about postgraduate training for nurses. Postgraduate training not necessarily focussing on psychosocial oncology as such, but being a more comprehensive training pertaining to all the issues that oncology nurses or cancer nurses in Africa need to know.


Are there any issues surrounding the training?


Funding is really the issue around all the training. There are facilities, there are resources willing to assists so funding, at the moment, is really the issue. There are a few options that we are exploring at the moment but nothing definite yet.