Developing Nurse Leaders Starts Early in Kenya

Student and Novice Nurses’ Association Launch Leadership Conference

It’s no secret that there is a global nursing shortage. That shortage is being felt around the world and is impacting healthcare in multiple areas. As more nurses are required to fill the gaps in patient care settings, there are many hats they must wear, including leadership. Add the growing complexity of healthcare and pending nurse retirements; it becomes imperative to engage and empower nurses early as they enter the workforce.

Encounters with such passionate and driven students as Mr. John Mwendwa, who is studying at the University of Nairobi School of Nursing, are encouraging. John is enthusiastic and wants to make a difference in the world through nursing. He has recognized the importance of developing his leadership skills early and has begun by serving as the Deputy Organizing Secretary of the Kenya Students and Novice Nurses (KESNNUR) chapter. Launched in May, KESNNUR is a recognized chapter within the National Nurses Association of Kenya committed to mentoring student and young nurses in the country, inspiring leadership and passionately advocating for their welfare and rights.

John helped coordinate the KESNNUR chapter’s first conference this past October, which was highly attended by 180 Kenyan students and nurses. Influential nurse leaders, including Dr. Miriam C. Wagoro, Director of the University of Nairobi School of Nursing, and Halima Adan, the Director of Nursing Services of Machakos County, spoke at the conference and stressed the importance and role of young nurses as agents of reform for the health sector in Kenya.

The conference enabled John to recognize the strategic role he and other attendees could have in helping advance the national nursing agenda, including seeking a seat at the policymaking table so their voices can be heard. He felt empowered seeing the engagement and determination of his fellow attendees, noting, “we are the leaders of today, not tomorrow!”

Influential nursing leaders will be needed to address the complex healthcare challenges of the 21st century. So, it is reassuring to see the enthusiasm of the current generation of nursing students, nurses and midwifery professionals. They recognize acquiring nursing leadership skills early on will grow them as leaders in nursing practice, education and research. In terms of succession planning, they are the future and will have a powerful impact on the quality of patient care in the decades to come.

As we plan for this new decade, the Center for Global Nursing Development will be connecting with established nursing leaders in the nursing workforce and other emerging leaders such as John. Their dialogue will be impactful in identifying pressing issues affecting nursing and the quality of patient care for years to come.

Do you have follow-up questions, suggestions, nursing news or issues you would like to share? Email us at [email protected]. or text us via WhatsApp at +1 832 589 0097. We welcome your feedback!

Yours in Nursing,


Lisa D. Cole, MA, RN
Director
MBF Center for Global Nursing Development