Carnegie Scholarship supports student nurse research in Malawi

Published: 2 December 2014

An Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland allowed me to spend 6 weeks of my summer vacation conducting research at Daeyang Nursing College in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Carnegie ScholarshipUnder the supervision of Dr Ann Marie Rice from the University of Glasgow and Hilda Kamera from Daeyang Nursing College, I carried out “A survey of student nurses and clinical instructors’ experience of utilising the clinical skills laboratory.”

Having lived in Malawi previously, and been welcomed and encouraged by local nurses as I volunteered in a hospital, I had a strong personal interest in the research project I chose.  It would give me the opportunity to help people who had greatly inspired me, gain research and life experience, and put research techniques that I had learned during second year into practise.  In Malawi there are 8 nurses per 100,000 population.  Daeyang Nursing College was established by The Miracle for Africa Foundation in 2010 with the aim of strengthening the healthcare sector and equipping the country with a sufficient number of nursing staff.  The knowledge generated by my research helped to provide insight into the use of the college’s clinical skills laboratory, which will be taken into consideration in the development of the course, assisting in improving the nursing education, benefitting the staff, students, and the many Malawians in need of improved healthcare. 

The vacation scholarship has been of great benefit to me both professionally and personally.  It gave me experience of conducting nursing research – developing a proposal, applying for ethical approval, designing questionnaires, gathering data, and writing final reports (one for the Carnegie Trust and a more detailed one for the college to use).  I also had the opportunity to sit in on lectures, where I learned about the realities of nursing in a developing country and the challenges involved.  ‘Ideal’ nursing was taught but the phrase ‘in our setting’ was used frequently before discussing the nursing interventions they would be capable of.  In addition, I accompanied third year students on their public health placements for a few days and was shown around the district hospital.  I realise how fortunate we are to have access to the resources that we do.

I lived alongside local student nurses and was actively involved in the social aspects of the college.  This ultimately led to me building what I hope to be long lasting relationships with Malawian staff and students, gaining insight into their culture and improving my communication skills.  This can only help me as I go on to work in our ever increasing multi-cultural world.  Spending the summer in Malawi conducting research was an honour and a privilege and I am extremely grateful that, through the scholarship, I was able to have such an experience.

Joanna Raeside

First published: 2 December 2014