n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Today's students are tomorrow's colleagues : exploring the nurse educator-student relationship in an emerging democracy in South Africa

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


Following the introduction of the new democratic dispensation in South Africa, anxiety and fear were observed to permeate society, including the nursing profession. Nursing colleges have been constantly characterised by strife and conflict between nurse educators and nursing students. A qualitative study utilising in-depth phenomenological interviews was conducted to explore the nurse educator-student relationship at a Nursing College in Gauteng. The purpose of the study was to explore and describe the nurse educator-student relationship following the democratic dispensation in the country. During March 2013, 19participants consisting of 10 nurse educators and 9 nursing students were sampled and interviewed. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using Tesch's method. The findings reflected experiencing enhancers among few within the two groups of participants. These were characterised by positive attitudes, interaction and feelings. The majority experienced obstacles, characterised by negative attitudes, interaction and feelings towards one another, impacting negatively on the learning-teaching environment. A third group was non-committal about how they experienced relationship with one another. A unique contribution of these findings is that students viewed nurse educators as lacking political astuteness. Students became increasingly frustrated by what they regarded as political naivety among nurse educators. The study concluded that the interplay between politics, democracy and transparency on the one hand, and nursing education, human rights and support on the other, is critically important. Recommendations of the study were that while there was a need for nurse educators to be provided with emotional and professional support so they can, in turn, support students adequately, they too need to familiarise themselves with political changes taking place in the country, especially in as far as these changes affect health reform. In addition, further research should be conducted to explore the value of political education in the curriculum of nurse education.

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