As a profession, nursing is always referred to as the backbone of the health care delivery system due to the fact that nurses are basically trained in holistic care of patients and in so doing apply universal principles that guide this noble career. The profession owes its foundation to a British social reformer, Florence Nightingale whose recommendations in improving hospital conditions in 1853 pioneered modern nursing practices.
In Kenya, the profession has been gradually evolving since the colonial period and currently 121 institutions have been approved by the Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK) to offer nursing training in certificate, diploma, higher diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This article explores the ten nursing schools that have been outstanding in training and in so doing offering wide range of programmes to meet the demand for quality nursing education.
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1). Moi University
Moi University school of nursing is located in Eldoret town, along Nandi Road and students undertake their training at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. The institution was founded in 1998 and admits students on both privately sponsored and government sponsored basis. The school also offers a postgraduate programme in maternal and neonatal health. Its use of innovative teaching method termed as problem based learning rather than use of traditional lecturing method makes the school outstanding. Additionally, the school has cooperated with Linkoping University to have top students exposed to the practice of nursing in Sweden. During their four years of nursing training, undergraduate students are also exposed to community-based practice that introduces them to the reality of neglected tropical diseases at the community level, and are expected to make and submit reports in form of qualitative research.
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2). University of Nairobi
The University of Nairobi School of Nursing was founded in 1992 and has since established itself as a reputable institution. Nursing students in Nairobi University conduct their training at Kenyatta National Hospital and a number of public hospitals in Nairobi. UoN has raised the bar in mentorship and offering diverse postgraduate programmes in Kenya. These include:
- Masters in nursing education
- Masters in medical surgical nursing
- Masters in nursing administration
- Masters in oncology nursing
- Masters in geriatric nursing
- Masters in pediatric nursing
- Masters in mental health and psychiatry nursing
- Masters in oral/dental nursing
3) University of Eastern Africa, Baraton (UEAB)
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UEAB school of nursing is situated in Kapsabet, Nandi county and boasts of being the pioneer institution to offer nursing undergraduate degree in Kenya. In this institution, nursing students conduct their clinical training at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret. As a faith based institution that adheres to the strict doctrines of the Seventh Day Adventist church, discipline is paramount for nursing students at UEAB. The school also offers a postgraduate in community health nursing.
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4). Kenyatta University
Kenyatta University school of nursing was started as a department of nursing in 2004 and then later established in 2016. Besides offering an undergraduate degree in nursing, the institution’s meteoric rise has been phenomenal and currently offers the following postgraduate programmes:
• Master of science in Nursing- oncology
• Master of science in Nursing- mental health and psychiatry
• Master of science in Nursing – leadership and management
• Master of science in Nursing- critical care
• Master of science in Nursing – uro-nephrology nursing
• Master of science in Nursing- medical surgical nursing
• Master of science in Nursing- pediatric nursing
• Master of science in Nursing- midwifery/obstetric nursing
• Master of science in Nursing- community health nursing
• Master of science in Nursing- nursing education
5). Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery
It is situated in Nairobi and has other campuses in Dar Es Salaam and Kampala. The school of nursing was founded in 2000, and currently offers 2 masters programmes in advanced practice midwifery and advanced practice nursing. The school prides itself in its diverse connections with external partners.
6). Maseno University
Maseno’s University School of Nursing is located in Kisumu city and utilizes the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in clinical training. Initially, the school was a department of the school of medicine until 2017 July when it established an independent school of nursing. The school earns itself a place in this list owing to the fact that it incorporates IT in its training which is important especially with the emergence of artificial intelligence that has proven to be a game changer in health research and biostatistics.
7). Kabarak University
Kabarak University School of Nursing offers an undergraduate degree in nursing in a creative way in that it allows final year students to pick specialized units in oncology nursing, forensic nursing, palliative nursing, ethical and legal, environmental and occupational health and entrepreneurship.
8). Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC)
Currently, the institution is the biggest nursing school in Kenya with 71 campuses distributed across Kenya. KMTC earns itself a place on this list owing to their success in making nursing education accessible while also offering diverse training in both diploma and higher diploma. Unique short courses that nurses can learn at KMTC include HIV Testing and Screening (HTS), sign language (Molo & Murang’a campus) and a 3 month training in echocardiography. One can also enroll for various higher diploma nursing programmes such as critical care nursing, palliative nursing, pediatric nursing and perioperative nursing.
9) Kijabe College of Health Sciences
Located in Kiambu county, the institution began offering nursing training for enrolled community nurses in 1980. In 2004, it started training diploma nurses (KRCHN). The institution currently offers higher diploma training in perioperative nursing and critical care nursing and an advanced diploma in nursing anesthesia.
10). Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital College of Health Sciences
It is located in Eldoret and is part of the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) commitment in health training and education. It was established in 2004, initially offering a certificate in nursing but has since evolved to offer diplomas and higher diplomas in nursing. One can study higher diploma in critical care nursing, nephrology nursing, oncology nursing and perioperative nursing at MTRH. The institution also offers other short courses and medical programmes as well.
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