A Kenyan nursing education

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This morning we had the chance to visit Kenyatta University and attend lectures given by three of their nursing professors. We learned that the new health care system is a four tier systems with the goal to provide healthcare to all Kenyans. The community tier consists of health promotion and prevention. Next is the primary care tier which includes dispenseries, “health clinics” and focuses on vaccinations, preventative and basic medical care. The primary referral tier includes the local hospitals and are managed by each individual county. The final tier is the tertiary care tier which is the national refer service available for higher level care for complex health issues.
The director of the nursing program gave us a lecture on the evolution of nursing in Kenya. Nursing began in 1908 with training from the missionaries who visited Kenya. The first nurses were primarily male and were called “dressers” and their duties included dressing wounds, giving injections, and managing hospitals. By 1940 nurses became certified and progressed to a registered nurse degree in
1952. Then in 1965 training began for advance practice nursing where every nurse became a midwife before continuing on their training in community nursing. For most nurses this process would take 6 years. Today, in order to save money, the program was condensed and the community nurse training is 3 1/2 years.
We also learned about the most common disease we will see here in Kenya. The majority of these diseases are communicable diseases and are preventable with the use of vaccines and patient education. The community can also participate in prevention by providing incsectiside mosquito nets, clean water supply and vector control such as the trimming of bushes in the prevention of malaria. We look forward to continue to learn about the common diseases in Kenyan through hands on experience.