Transforming Nursing Education to Strengthen Health System in Malawi: An Exploratory Study

The Open Nursing Journal 31 May 2018 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874434601812010093



Malawi made great strides to increase the number of nurses through the Emergency Human Resource for Health Program. However, quantity of health workforce alone is not adequate to strengthen the health system. Malawi still reports skill mix imbalance and geographical mal-distribution of the nursing workforce. Health systems must continuously adapt and evolve according to the health care needs and inform health professionals’ education to accelerate gains in health outcomes. The Lancet Commission reported that health professionals’ education has generally not lived up pace with health care demands.


The aim of this study was to describe the strategies being implemented in Malawi to improve nursing education. Specifically, the objectives of the study were to explore strategies being implemented, identify stakeholders and their targets in order to share practices with countries experiencing similar nursing education challenges.


This was a cross sectional descriptive study with a concurrent mixed method design. One hundred and sixty participants including nurse practitioners and educators responded to a questionnaire. Fifteen nurse practitioners and eight nurse educators were also engaged in one to one interview.


Respondents showed varied opinion on how nursing education is being implemented. Six themes as regards strategies being implemented to improve nursing education emerged namely- capacity building, competency based curriculum, regulation, clinical learning environment, transformative teaching and infrastructure/ resources.


Findings of this study show that the strategies being implemented to improve nursing education are relevant to closing the gap between health care needs and nursing education.

Keywords: Malawi, Nursing education, Quality, Quantity, Relevance, Strategies, Tranformng, Scale up.
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