An exploration of the experiences and practices of nurse academics regarding postgraduate research supervision at a South African university

J R Naidoo, S Mthembu


Background. The global landscape of higher education has repositioned itself, moving away from insular institutions towards open responsive systems of teaching and learning with an emphasis on cultivating a new mode of knowledge production. The South African higher education system has responded to these global changes by recognising the contribution of research productivity as a commodity within the overall worldwide knowledge economy. These changes have contributed towards an increased intake of candidates in many university faculties, including nursing, to meet the demand of producing highly skilled graduates.
Objectives. To explore and describe the current practices and experiences of nurse academics regarding postgraduate research supervision.
Methods. A descriptive exploratory design with in-depth interviews was used, and a self-reported questionnaire eliciting information on research supervision practices.
Results. Three emergent themes were identified from the results of this study: a lack of standardised guidelines for nurse academics to effectively supervise postgraduate research; the pressure that nurse academics experience regarding postgraduate research supervision; other demanding roles of an academic, such as a high teaching and clinical workload.
Conclusion. The study demonstrated gaps in research supervision, shared frustrations such as feelings of isolation, and a lack of support systems.

Authors' affiliations

J R Naidoo, Discipline of Nursing, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S Mthembu, KwaZulu-Natal College of Nursing, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

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Experiences; Postgraduate; Supervision; Nursing

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2015;7(2):216-219. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.443

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-05-26
Date published: 2015-11-21

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