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Experiences of Nurse Graduates of an Integrated HIV Curriculum from a Selected University in South Africa

Joanne Rachel Naidoo, Silingene Ngcobo, Busisiwe Ncama, Petra Brysiewicz


Nurses remain a crucial part in the management and care of HIV, especially in resource constrained settings where they fulfil a variety of roles and functions. Competent HIV healthcare providers, especially nurses who provide and support the first line of healthcare in South Africa, are needed to achieve optimal clinical outcomes for all people living with HIV. The integration of HIV-related competencies in an undergraduate nursing curriculum is critical to maintain continuity of HIV related knowledge, skills and competencies within undergraduate nursing programmes from the first year of training, as it builds on foundational levels of understanding to promote critical thinking and skills for continuing learning in the area of HIV care. Against this background, this article reports on the experiences of the first cohort of student nurses who were exposed to the integration of HIV nursing competencies within a four-year Bachelor of Nursing programme. A descriptive exploratory design using a focus group discussion underpinned the study and was considered appropriate to explore the graduated student nurses experiences of the integration of HIV competencies within a four-year Bachelor of Nursing programme and how the integrated HIV programme prepared them for their practice in the management of HIV nursing care. Three themes emerged from the study, namely, evidence informed nursing care, innovative problem-solving skills, and confident to practise. The results showed an overall positive experience from the participants in their ability to independently practise and fulfil a range of HIV-related nursing care. The findings have demonstrated that the first cohort of nurse graduates from an integrated HIV Bachelor of Nursing curriculum showed success in the participants’ experience of the HIV related content and their ability to transfer the knowledge, attitudes and skills to meaningfully and effectively manage HIV-related nursing care.


Nurse graduates; NIMART, HIV competencies, Bachelor of Nursing programme

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