Nursing Education Paper Example

Political History and Development of Nursing Education: Comparison of Kenya and Poland

The development and advancement of nursing education has taken different perspectives in different countries. The two countries, Kenya and Poland, have political histories that are remarkably similar and yet are very different. Modern nursing education in Kenya, for instance, had its roots in the work of missionaries in the country during colonial times. Prior to their arrival, the country relied exclusively on traditional medicine for their healing practices. The missionaries, unable to handle the burden of modern medicine alone, sought government assistance engaging more nurses from the local people with knowledge of modern medicine (Mule, 1986). The evolution of medicine in Kenya slightly differs from the one in Poland.

 

Poland’s political history is as intriguing as it is complicated. Poland did not exist as a country since 1911, and its land was shared among Austria, Russia and Germany (Sztembis, 2006, p.102). Regardless, nursing developed in the country in 1911, with Krakow hosting the University Nursing School as the first nursing education center (Sztembis, 2006). The beginning of the First World War interfered with further development of nursing schools, prompting most nurses to join the war infirmaries.

The period after the war saw the political independence of Poland and the development of nursing practices and organizations. Poland gained assistance from nursing organizations that formed during the war, and the government undertook the creation of Ministry of Health. Additional government actions, such as the formulation of policy, also enabled the advancement of nursing education. The development of this field especially improved when the parliament passed the Nursing Act in 1935 (Sztembis, 2006).

Regardless, the involvement of Poland in the Second World War hindered the development of education, prompting teaching nursing practice in secondary schools. Following the liberation of Poland from the influence of the Soviet Union, advances in nursing education took on a more liberal approach (Sztembis, 2006). With the assistance of the European Community, Poland advanced its nursing education system to its current state.

Government and Nursing Organizations Influencing Nursing Education: Comparison of Kenya and Poland

The colonial government established the first nursing training programs in Kenya. During this time, the government did not have specific ministries or institutions to handle such learning activities. Later, the Ministry of Health took over this responsibility, effectively establishing and controlling advances in nursing education. In 1972, the Republic of Kenya recognized the Public Health Nursing Course at the Medical Training Center (Mule, 1986). This course remains the top ัŒั‰ั–ะต recognized nursing courses in the Kenyan health system to date (Mule, 1986).

Poland’s government involvement in nursing education began before the country became independent. The government of Austria in Krakow established the first nursing school, but it only lasted for three years due to the First World War (Sztembis, 2006). Following the independence in 1918, Poland continued establishing nursing schools and courses. However, it was only in 1926 when the government formed the Ministry of Health to cater for nursing training and practice needs (Sztembis, 2006). In 1935, another milestone in nursing education took place, when parliament passed the Act on Nursing and enabled accurate curriculum definition (Sztembis, 2006). Thus, the role of the government was not only in the establishment of schools, but also through the formulation and implementation of relevant policies.

Nursing organizations played an integral role in the advancement of nursing education within these countries. For instance, in Kenya, the Nursing Council of Kenya and the National Nurses Association of Kenya participated in the formulation of the eventual syllabus implemented in the country (Mule, 1986). The organizations appeared later in the development cycle, and only facilitated education after independence, even though they played significant roles in streamlining the curriculum. In Poland, the American Red Cross and the Rockefeller Foundation initiated programs to educate women on patient care (Sztembis, 2006). Later, the formation of the Polish Nursing Association facilitated the advancement of the practice and the consequent development of a clear approach in nursing education (Sztembis, 2006).

Current System of Nursing Education: Comparison of Kenya and Poland

The Kenyan system of nursing education has undergone a significant transformation, requiring intensive review in order to understand its structure. The basic level of nursing education is either the Enrolled Community Nurse (ECN) or the Kenyan Registered Community Nurse (Mule, 1986). Under the new syllabus, the Registered Community Nurse Course takes four years for completion. The ECN course is offered in many institutions, including church hospitals that have risen due to the high demands for nursing services (Mule, 1986).

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The system also provides the pursuit of the Kenya Registered Midwifery Course, which only became available in the country after 1963 (Mule, 1986). This course forms a basis for entering higher levels, like the Kenya Registered Public Health Nursing Course (Mule, 1986). This course can be regarded as a higher diploma or degree, as it requires candidates to have more than five years of experience in nursing (Mule, 1986). At this level, the nurse has options to enter specialized nursing courses, which include the Kenya Enrolled and Registered Psychiatric Nursing (KERPN) (Mule, 1986). Administration courses form the highest level of nursing education in Kenya. They are regarded as equivalents of Bachelor of Science degree from universities in the USA, in terms of qualification and professional responsibilities (Mule, 1986).

The system in Poland has undergone gradual revisions and upgrading, incorporating the requirements of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EU standards in nursing education (Sztembis, 2006). The system has a basic licentiate course, which lasts three years and leads to the acquisition of a bachelor’s degree (Sztembis, 2006). The university-based nursing education curriculums were only introduced in Poland for the first time in the 1970s. Regardless, people that graduated in the previous 2.5-year secondary nursing education got opportunities to join university education in pursuit of bachelor’s degree (Sztembis, 2006).

The Polish system also allows earning a post-basic education for nurses. The basic education, however, sufficiently equips the student with medical science knowledge, social knowledge and nursing science knowledge (Sztembis, 2006). Their knowledge also extends to community services, as well as patient assistance in any situation (Sztembis, 2006).

Post-Graduate (Masters) Education: Comparison of Kenya and Poland

According to Mule (1986), Kenya does not seem to have a local option for post-graduate education. The system encourages to pursue the Kenya Registered Public Health Nursing Course, which is technically the highest level one may achieve (Mule, 1986). It remains unclear whether nurses in Kenya seek Master’s degree in other countries. However, based on the stipulation of most premises within the study, it is clear that post-graduate education is not a part of the curriculum. Students in the medical training center, where the KRPH Nursing course is offered (Mule, 1986), conduct the research. Master’s students in other countries would conduct such research. Evidently, this is the highest level the country provides to its students.

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Poland, on the other hand, offers post-education training for nurses that are already in practice. After graduation, nurses can enroll in masters courses that take two years for completion (Sztembis, 2006). Under the old system, postgraduate courses took four years after nursing and secondary school. This post-basic education expands the capabilities of Registered Nurses in initiating and supporting health of the local community as well as participating in research (Sztembis, 2006). Students in the Medical Training Center execute these functions in Kenya, which brings out the contrast in the two systems. However, the country does not offer the option to earn PhD in nursing. Regardless, nurses may take PhDs courses in related fields to enhance their qualifications within the Polish system (Sztembis, 2006).

Reflections on Nursing Education in Kenya and Poland

A review of the nursing education systems in Kenya and Poland enables identifying features that one may find surprising within the context. The most surprising thing I discovered about Kenya was the absence of specific degree and master programs to cater the needs of the nursing curriculum. After analyzing the curriculum, it seems that training colleges are the only option in pursuing nursing education in the country (Mule, 1986). In addition, people that wish to continue their studies have to go to other countries in order to achieve a higher degree. Even though I was aware that Kenya is a part of developing world, I expected it to have a more comprehensive system than it currently has.

Another unexpected fact I learned from the Polish curriculum was the nature of the old system. I have never envisioned a situation whereby nursing is taught in secondary schools to cater for the deficiencies in the rest of the system. The old system in Poland offered an option of five years of nursing secondary schools (Sztembis, 2006). This option seems illogical, considering the age and knowledge capacity of children in secondary schools. The implication of such system is the fact that the majority of health care providers are in their teens or early twenties. I was, consequently, relieved to learn that this system was scrapped in favor of an alternative more comprehensive approach.

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