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Original Research

Introducing a Primary Health Care nurse training course at the University of Limpopo: Experiences and views of trainees

Peter A. Delobelle, Pamela M. Mamogobo, Gert JO. Marincowitz, Rika Decock, AnneMarie Depoorter

African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine; Vol 3, No 1 (2011), 5 pages. doi: 10.4102/phcfm.v3i1.292

Submitted: 25 February 2011
Published:  31 October 2011


Background: A new post-basic Primary Health Care (PHC) nurse training was piloted at the University of Limpopo in rural South Africa in order to reinforce PHC services and to address the backlog of trained PHC nurses. The training comprised residential and decentralised training modules based on the principles of problem based learning and community based education, and a patient-centred care approach developed in the field of family medicine was applied for acquiring consultation skills. Clinical reasoning was improved through on-site supervision by individual preceptors.

Objective: The aim of the study was to describe the satisfaction, experiences and views of trainees in the first year of implementing the new PHC nurse training programme.

Method: The study had a descriptive, exploratory and cross-sectional design, and used quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection that included a semi-structured survey questionnaire and focus group discussion. A purposive sample of trainees enrolled in the pilot programme (n = 15) was recruited for this study. Results were analysed quantitatively for the survey questionnaire and content analysis was used for qualitative data.

Results: Results revealed trainee satisfaction with the quality of community based visits and classroom lectures and dissatisfaction with on-site supervision and training material. Qualitative findings indicated a need to improve information and communication of supervisors and preceptors, and to provide more training material. Factors related to the work environment were identified as barriers to implement learning, but the use of tools developed in family medicine curricula was perceived as beneficial. Lessons learnt included the need for strong programme coordination and stakeholder commitment, as well as the need to develop a competence framework for PHC nursing.

Conclusion: The implementation of a pilot programme for PHC nurse training had the outcomes of trainee satisfaction with the mixed method of teaching, and valuable lessons were learned with regard to programme implementation and organisation. Integration of tools and concepts developed in the field of family medicine proved beneficial, and several recommendations were formulated to inform similar projects.

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Author affiliations

Peter A. Delobelle, Department of Public Health, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Pamela M. Mamogobo, Department of Nursing Sciences, School of Health Care Sciences, University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus, South Africa
Gert JO. Marincowitz, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, University of Limpopo, Polokwane Campus, South Africa
Rika Decock, Department of Public Health, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
AnneMarie Depoorter, Department of Public Health, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium


community based education; patient-centred care; preceptorship; primary health care nurse; problem based learning


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