The effect of continuing professional development from the perspective of nurses and midwives who participated in continuing education programs offered by Global Health Alliance Western Australia: A mixed-method study
Continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities for nurses and midwives are central to improving knowledge, broadening skills and maintaining competencies to provide best practice and clinical care. This is gained through participating in continuing education (CE). CPD is readily accessible and a mandatory requirement for nurses and midwives in developed nations, such as Australia. However, in developing countries, such as Tanzania, while CPD is promoted, it has limited availability. As such, the Global Health Alliance Western Australia (GHAWA), an international health development program, seeks to provide further sustainable CPD opportunities for nurses and midwives in Tanzania.
The purpose of this research is to evaluate the CE programs provided by GHAWA. The review explores perceptions of the effectiveness of CPD from previous nursing and midwifery participants’ of the GHAWA program, and describes the factors contributing to the sustainability of CPD in Tanzania by identifying whether the sharing of knowledge among the Tanzanian nurses and midwives occurred beyond attending GHAWA’s programs. This evaluative study employed quantitative and qualitative designs through a mixed-method approach. Data were collected in two phases. Phase one involved a review of the number of education opportunities and programs provided in 2013 by GHAWA in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Phase two was undertaken in two stages, through focus group and one-on-one interviews with two cohorts: the Western Australian nurses and midwives who served as educators delivering GHAWA programs in Tanzania (stage one), and the Tanzanian nurses and midwives who were attendees (stage two).
This evaluative strategy clarified the experience and effect of CE, and identified common themes about CPD for Tanzanian nurses and midwives. Barriers such as environmental and educational concerns, revealed that reflective practice as a process of continuous learning, enabled nurses and midwives to create positive changes in the workplace. The significant outcome was a perceived reduced mortality across maternal and neonatal care. Findings from this study provided a deeper insight into the possibility of sustaining CPD for nurses and midwives in developing countries. Recommendations are offered which may assist to strengthen the opportunities for CPD for nursing and midwifery workforce in developing countries that could ultimately influence quality care and patient outcomes.