Identification of HIV and AIDS-related competencies for nurse graduates in South Africa
Marie-Modeste, Regis R.
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Three decades after the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the global community has not been able to halt the epidemic of HIV infection. Various organisations have devised a number of policies and guidelines to guide efforts to deal with the epidemic. As nurses make up the bulk of healthcare workers in South Africa, as in many other countries, nurses are crucial in the management of HIV infection. The training of nurses must therefore be in line with such guidelines and policies, so that upon graduation they are able to serve the community. Using a qualitative approach and systematic research synthesis, this study identified core competencies related to HIV and AIDS for nurse graduates. Nominal group technique was used to collect data from nurse educators from various universities in South Africa. Individual interviews were also conducted with registered nurses in clinical practice, representatives from the South African Nursing Council, recent graduates, nurse educators and persons living with HIV infection. Three categories of competencies and seven core competencies were identified. The first category was the foundation that comprises knowledge competency, the second category comprises the supporting pillars of ethics, policies, interdisciplinary approach, personal and professional development, and performance was identified as the third category, comprising holistic safe practice and health education. This article provides an explanation of how each identified competency fits into the nurses’ practice in providing care and management for persons with HIV infection. The identified core competencies will further be integrated into the nursing undergraduate programme at one university in South Africa.