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The journey of ethiopian nursing education: a glimpse of past, present and future

Author: 
Yonas Girma Tilahun, AlirezaNikbakht Nasrabadi, Mussie Alemayehu, Alula Teklu and Nadia Ali Muhammad Ali Charania
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: Ethiopia is one of the oldest independent African countries. Illiteracy is the most crucial factor impacting Ethiopians limited health seeking behavior. The country suffers from an enormous burden of preventable communicable and non-communicable diseases and nutritional deficit disorders. The population faces a high rate of morbidity and mortality which needs holistic quality care from health care professionals including nurses. Ethiopia is struggling with an extreme shortage of health care professionals. Official statistics show, that a decade ago there were only 20,000 nurses for 80 million people with 85% of the Ethiopian population living in remote areas which are chronically under-served. Aim: To describe the development of nursing education in Ethiopia from historical, political and socioeconomic perspectives. Methods: An extensive literature search was conducted using the key terms, “Nurse”, “Education” and “Ethiopia” from the following databases: ProQuest, PubMed, Google Scholar, Ovid Medline. In addition, reports from the governmental health education bureau were utilized to provide relevant information regarding the nursing educational system. Findings: Globally, nursing education is undergoing modifications, which were never previously imagined, to address the growing complexity in the health care arena, ensure safe delivery of nursing care, promote nursing leadership and evidence-based practice research. To meet today’s health care demands, the Ethiopian nursing education system needs to reform. Conclusions and Implications for Nursing Education: In the light of historical and current nursing situations in Ethiopia, the Ministers of health and education need to reconsider the minimum nursing educational requirement to be at least a baccalaureate degree. Nursing career pathways need to be extended to Ph.D. and DNP. Such nursing career development pathways are needed to prepare future nurses with the abilities to conduct research and quality improvement projects, develop leadership skills, and impact the quality of care. Ethiopian nurses’ engagement in the development and application of nursing knowledge will not only impact nursing practice but also improve the quality of nursing education.

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