A broken triangle: Students’ perceptions regarding the learning of nursing administration in a low-resource setting

B Masava, L N Badlangana, C N Nyoni


Background. Nursing education institutions (NEIs) must ensure that their graduates are competent in nursing administration. The adoption of nursing administration-related learning outcomes in pre-registration nursing programmes in Africa has created a platform for the teaching and assessment of nursing administration. Challenges aligned with low-resource NEIs, such as rigid content-based vocational programmes, limit the value and utility of the teaching of nursing administration, resulting in graduates who are not able to manage healthcare units effectively. Therefore, this study explored students’ experiences of a nursing administration module with the hope that alignment of the outcomes, content and assessments would be pivotal in the module review to improve nurses’ efficiency in managing health units.

Objectives. To describe student nurses’ perceptions regarding the alignment of learning outcomes, content and assessment of a nursing administration module in an NEI in a low-resource setting.

Methods. A sequential mixed methods design was executed in three phases. Data were collected through documents, self-administered questionnaires and focus group discussions with students enrolled in a 3-year pre-registration programme at an NEI in a low-resource setting. The gathered documents were enumerated and mapped against the specific elements of a curriculum as described by Harden and Dent. The quantitative data were analysed through descriptive statistics, focusing on frequencies. The data generated from the focus groups were transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis through an inductive reasoning approach was used.

Results. The study revealed a non-alignment among learning outcomes, content and assessment of the administration module, causing students to struggle in meeting the expected learning outcomes of the module. In as much as the curriculum documents specified the learning outcomes, the classroom teaching seemed only to be aligned with the described curriculum. In addition to other challenges, the contextual characteristics of the related clinical environment did not support application of what was learnt in the classroom. The assessment practices mirrored the expectations of the curriculum, but were not aligned with contextual realities.

Conclusion. Nursing students struggle to meet expected learning outcomes related to nursing administration due to the non-alignment among learning outcomes, content and assessment of the module. NEIs in low-resource settings must radically transform their pre-registration nursing curricula to incorporate contemporary issues and clinical contextual realities to enhance the utility of nursing administration learning outcomes.

Authors' affiliations

B Masava, Paray School of Nursing, Thaba-Tseka, Lesotho

L N Badlangana, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

C N Nyoni, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2020;12(3):119-123. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2020.v12i3.1352

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-10-16
Date published: 2020-10-16

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