n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Newly qualified midwives working experiences and challenges in community services

Supplement 4
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The South African government implemented a compulsory one year community service strategy to address the shortage of human resources in the health sector since 1998. Medical practitioners (1999), dentists (2000) and pharmacists (2001) and other seven professional groups followed in 2003 and in July 2004. The nursing profession followed after the Health Minister's announcement, the processing of Nursing Bill by Parliament and recommended by the South African Nursing Council's press release. Minimal research was done on experiences of the newly qualified registered nurse and midwife during the compulsory community service years. The aim of this study was to describe the newly qualified registered nurses and midwives lived experiences of compulsory community service in public maternity care in Gauteng in order to formulate guidelines for community service practice. A qualitative phenomenological research design with interviews and naïve sketches were conducted. All newly qualified midwives who graduated from a university in Johannesburg and who had completed the system of compulsory community services in a maternity unit were purposively sampled and participated in the study. Interviews and naïve sketches were transcribed verbatim, and organized into themes and sub-themes. A method of open coding was used and the data analyzed according to Tesch's data analysis method. Lincoln and Guba's 1985 criteria for trustworthiness were applied to the study. Newly qualified midwives faced complex, ambiguous situations during the compulsory community service year. Personal and professional growth and development was achieved. A properly structured, mentored service experience is recommended.

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