The University-based Nursing Education South Africa (UNEDSA) Programme started in 2009 for a five year period ending in 2013. It is aimed at transforming nursing scholarship in selected South African university – based schools of nursing through grants made by two philanthropic organisations, The Atlantic Philanthropies and ELMA Foundation.
Substantial grants totalling R70 million were allocated to these selected university-based nursing schools for the five year period. In November 2009, an anonymous donor boosted the programme by a further R29 million, bringing the total to nearly R100 million. This is the largest single grant to nursing education in South Africa ever.
University-based nurse academics have a crucial role to play in strengthening nursing research, education and practice, as well as informing policy .decisions and serving as a guide to evidence-based practice The clinical practice and research elements of nurse academics would be incomplete without focusing on advancing the education of current and future generations of nurses to the highest levels of doctoral study and beyond.
By deliberately putting resources into nursing higher education through the UNEDSA programme will have benefits to the grantees and the nursing profession at large:
- It will enable transformational leadership amongst nurse academics, leading to a more powerful future for nursing.
- Nurse academics will be highly regarded by their peers from other disciplines in faculties and universities
- Nurse academic participation and leadership in multidisciplinary research will be strengthened.
- There will be more high level academic publications by nurse academics and their post-graduate and post-doctoral students, strengthening nursing scholarship
- Nurses educated in the UNEDSA Programme will take their place as leaders or equal members of multi-professional, multicultural health teams.
The transformation of nursing inspired by the UNEDSA Programme will be far-reaching and empower nurses at all levels to make a real difference to the health of the nation.