Characteristics of Nurses Upgrading to Higher Levels of Nursing Education at a Regional Referral Hospital in Eastern Kenya
Kathuci, Rosemary K.
Simba, Justus M.
Nyangena, Elijah N.
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Upgrading refers to the process of nurses improving their initial educational qualification to a higher level. It enables nurses to add to their knowledge and skills, professional value, self -esteem and are rated higher within the nursing cadres. The number of nurses upgrading in Kenya has continued to increase over the years with adult students becoming the new majority in the student body. The upgrading nurses enter the academic programs with varied characteristics making them a unique group. This study sought to describe the characteristics of nurses upgrading to higher educational levels at a regional referral hospital in Eastern Kenya. The study design was a descriptive cross-sectional survey. Data was collected from 160 nurses using a structured self-administered questionnaire. Data collected was checked for accuracy, coded and analysed using STATA Version 10. Results showed that 63.2% of the respondents were above 35 years with a mode age of 40-44 years and >50 years. The ratio of male to females was 1:5. 53.2% of the respondents had Enrolled Community Health Nursing (ECN) as their initial qualification. 47.7% of the respondents had upgraded while 20%were currently upgrading. Age and initial qualification significantly influenced nurses to upgrade (p= 0.000 and p= 0.04 respectively) with the younger and those with certificate qualification more likely to upgrade. The preferred mode of study was distance learning with 83.65% of those upgrading opting for it. It was recommended that institutions of higher learning should strive to provide upgrading programs in nursing via distance learning mode and work closely with the professional bodies and the hospital to see how best to have it delivered. Nurses could also benefit from continuous medical education especially on the significant characteristics of age and initial qualification to use them for their advantage to take up upgrading.