Posted on Sep 3, 2014 · Posted in News, Nursing School

Nurses-3-OPTOne of the critical needs identified in Tenwek Hospital’s new Strategic Plan (2014-2018) is the need to increase and retain clinical staff.

“Tenwek Hospital has had many staff stay and serve for years in the past; however, the younger staff have not kept to that tradition. Many of the young providers do not serve for long before moving on to other organizations and/or other parts of the country. This has impacted significantly the intent of the Hospital to recruit and maintain a consistent and adequate number of providers, which is in alignment with the ideal staff to patient ratio. The target will be to achieve high staff satisfaction and an annual retention rate of at least 90% in all major staff cadres.”

This is particularly important in the area of nursing. With the planned addition of 200 new beds by 2017, the total number of beds at Tenwek will increase to 500. This growth will necessarily demand a growth in the number of nursing professionals qualified to serve. Tenwek estimates that 50-75 percent more nurses will need to be added to the staff. Fortunately, Tenwek’s School of Nursing is highly respected for its training programs and has an exceptional record of student achievement on national nursing exams.

The School of Nursing, which is accredited by the Nursing Council of Kenya, currently trains some 100 nurses annually. The program, which requires three and one-half years of study to complete, grants diplomas that qualify students for service as midwives, general nurses, or community health nurses. Training is delivered by 12 faculty members in a cyclical pattern: students attend weeks of intensive classroom training interspersed with months of experience in the clinical areas.

Currently each year, 20 new students are accepted to the program to replace the graduating students. The school has received permission from the Council to increase that enrollment to as high as 40 students per year. That expansion, seen as a key to securing qualified nursing staff for the hospital, will require a significant investment in upgrading the school’s infrastructure.

The expansion of the School of Nursing, along with a number of other educational and social strategies to successfully recruit and retain nursing staff, is detailed in the Strategic Plan. One major initiative is the construction of a new dining hall for the nursing students as a new and essential part of the school’s infrastructure.

Currently, nursing students must eat in shifts in a small facility that increasingly cannot accommodate the growing number of students. The new dining hall will enable students to dine with all their classmates and will make it more efficient to schedule classroom, laboratory, and clinic assignments throughout the day. This will improve the educational and social environment, increase student satisfaction, and enhance the reputation of Tenwek’s School of Nursing.

As part of its 2014 year-end appeal, the FOT Board has pledged to raise $80,000 for the construction of the nursing school dining hall. More details about how to support this important project will be provided soon.

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