Baccalaureate prepared nurses as the new entry-level nursing cadre in Uganda: A qualitative study of BSN student and faculty perspectives in two universities.


Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Box 357660, Seattle, 98195-7660, WA, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Low-income countries suffer chronic problems in producing, employing and distributing their health workers. The World Health Organization advocates for upgrading the number and quality of nursing professionals. As nurses and midwives comprise more than 60% of the health workforce in Uganda, the country's goal to improve nursing education is consistent with international recommendations.
OBJECTIVE : To understand the dimensions of Uganda's relatively new baccalaureate-prepared nurse cadre (BSN), we explored the views of students and faculty in relation to training, job prospects, scope of practice, and satisfaction of BSNs in Uganda.
METHODS : We used a descriptive qualitative design.
METHODS : We interviewed BSN students and faculty at two large public nursing schools in Uganda in 2017.
METHODS : We conducted focus group discussions and key informant interviews and used a thematic analysis approach to analyze data.
RESULTS : The four overarching themes were: 1) BSN training is viewed as distinct from "bedside" training, 2) A rift between nursing cadres undermines workplace harmony, 3) BSNs are dissatisfied with their salary scale, and 4) BSNs are motivated to move abroad.
CONCLUSIONS : At this moment in the transition, the professional nursing culture within Uganda is not conducive to encouraging BSN entry. To gain traction and momentum for BSNs as an entry-level cadre in Uganda, policy makers might align incentives to encourage BSN trainees, as there are few BSNs within training programs and clinical settings. Increasing lower cadre nurses' understanding of the role of BSNs may help improve relations between nursing cadres. Aligning job descriptions with pay differentials in clinical settings and expanding meaningful job opportunities could help retain BSNs within Uganda.

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