Student nurses’ experiences of the common teaching platform for undergraduate nursing in the Western Cape Province, South Africa
Daniels, Felicity M.
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The higher education system in South Africa transformed over the last two decades in response to societal changes and the new democratic order since 1994. Nursing education programmes in South Africa’s higher education sector were also affected by these changes. Restructuring in nursing education led to the establishment of a novel undergraduate nursing programme delivery system in the Western Cape, known as a “common teaching platform” (CTP) for undergraduate nursing. The CTP necessitated collaboration between three higher education institutions in the region. This article reports the findings of a qualitative study conducted during 2010 to explore students’ experiences of the CTP. The findings could have significance for strategic decisions regarding the future of undergraduate nursing in the Western Cape. Focus group discussions were conducted with registered undergraduate student nurses (n=81) to explore their CTP experiences and to identify their views on the success of the collaboration. The results of the study revealed students’ positive and negative experiences of the CTP. Students’ negative experiences revolved around unmet expectations of the collaboration, such as increased resources and exposure to the partner institutions. There were different opinions as to whether the collaboration was successful. Recommendations include a review of the management and process of the collaboration between the three institutions; workshops for stakeholders to establish a common understanding of the purpose of the collaboration; and a review of the administrative systems of the universities to ensure access by partners and to improve student access to the resources of all three institutions.