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‘Pregnancy Education Awareness Week, which takes place in February each year, is endorsed by the National Department of Health. It aims at raising awareness on key issues around pregnancy, labour and birth and the early postpartum period. The Wits fourth year Bachelor of Nursing students hosted a one day exhibition in the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and in the Adler Museum foyer.

The students arranged displays from 26 January 2015 and manned the displays on 29 January 2015 where expectant mothers and fathers, students, consumers and professionals were given the opportunity to ask questions and participate in activities to expand their knowledge.

Intensive and Critical Care Congress

The 11th Congress of the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine (WFSICCM) was held from the 28th August until the 1st September 2013 and was the first time the congress was held on the African continent.
Hosted by the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa, under the theme “Critical Care for All – Providing More for Less” the congress explored the challenges of providing first-world levels of care in a third-world environment. The dynamic programme included plenary lectures, thematic sessions, cutting-edge Meet-the-Expert sessions with interactive audience participation, interactive debates, clinical ward rounds, tutorials, round table meetings and hands-on workshops. The workshops, lectures and symposia also included participation from the allied medical fields such as physiotherapy, and dietetics which play an integral part in the care of patients. There were 2000 delegates and 74 international countries were represented. Professor Mervyn Mer – President of the Critical Care Society of South Africa (CCSA) extended a warm welcome to all delegates and invited guests. Juan Scribante, Department of Anaesthesiology formed part of the South African Steering Committee. Several delegates from the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Department of Nursing Education delivered oral and poster presentations which were well received. Ms S Schmollgruber (Department of Nursing Education) delivered an oral presentation entitled “Voices of Africa, Capacity Building Mozambique Project. Ms V Herbert (Department of Nursing Education) delivered a poster entitled “Visiting beliefs and attitudes of intensive care clinicians.” Ms S Khoza (Department of Nursing Education) a poster “Maintaining competency in the ICU” delivered by Ms S Schmollgruber

The Department of Nursing Education and the Nursing Education Association joined forces to host Stacy Johnson in our department for a whirlwind visit. Stacy is a lecturer in the School of Health Sciences, Queen’s Medical Centre in the University of Nottingham. Stacy is a nurse who has developed a keen interest in leadership and entrepreneurship. She is an ambassador for the Mary Seacole memorial statue appeal in London. Mary Seacole was a contemporary of Florence Nightingale in Crimea but her contribution has only recently been acknowledged. Stacy says that Mary Seacole was, by all accounts a maverick, an entrepreneur and not one to take to boundaries. Stacy says that she is grateful for her legacy of boldness and audacity which inspires many. While in the Department, Stacy gave an address entitled “Leadership and Entrepreneurship in nursing – missing in action”. It was an inspiring and challenging call to nurses to be more assertive and active in addressing issues in the health services and to harness the energy and passion of the younger generation of nurses to lead change. We hope this is the first of many visits that Stacy will make to our Department and we look forward to some collaborative projects that we just started discussing during her short visit.

The Department of Nursing Education, School of Therapeutic Sciences had the pleasure of hosting Professor Lorraine Holstlander from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. Professor Holtslander shared her expertise with the staff of the Nursing Department, academics, postgraduate, undergraduate students and representatives from the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg academic hospital. Professor Holtslander delivered an address focusing on Grief and Bereavement. She has maintained an active clinical practice in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada since 1988, focusing mainly on providing palliative care in the community. Her interests in care of the family, the family caregiver, and end of life care have evolved from this involvement. She has been teaching nursing students since 1990 but assumed a tenure-track position in 2007. Her research and teaching interests include family nursing, community care, and qualitative methodology. She is currently using mixed methods to develop an intervention for older people who are bereaved after caregiving for a patient with advanced cancer and conducted a Grounded Theory workshop on the 4 March 2014, which was well attended.


The School of Therapeutic Sciences hosted the annual Albertina Sisulu Memorial Lecture which was delivered by Dr Imtiaz Sooliman whose lecture was entitled: The human face behind disasters. Dr Sooliman is the Founder and Director of Gift of the Givers Foundation, the largest disaster relief group in Africa. He described how, in a holy place in August 1992, a meeting with a spiritual teacher set in motion the humble beginnings of not only his own personal spiritual journey but the evolution of the Gift of the Givers Foundation.

From the first project when he responded to a war zone situation in Bosnia by supplying food and medical supplies, to the pivotal role he played in developing the world’s first and largest mobile field hospital used during the Bosnian War, he has been the human face behind disaster in the work during the years following Bosnia. He has worked in Niger famine in 2005, the Somalia famine, Haiti in 2010 when that country was hit by an earthquake and made world history in January 2010 when the team pulled a 64-year-old woman from the rubble who had been trapped for eight days without oxygen, food or water.

The Albertina Sisulu Memorial Lecture is hosted annually to commemorate “the mother of the nation” as she was affectionately known, as a nurse and a woman who struggled for human rights and dignity.

Photograph: Professor Lize Maree, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, Professors Judy Bruce, Paul Danckwerts, Dr Gayle Langley


The first group of Master of Nursing candidates (Critical Care and Trauma Nursing) graduated from the Instituto Superior de Ciencias de Saude (ISCISA), in Maputo, Mozambique in 2014. This was a pivotal occasion for all involved, especially for the graduates and an important landmark in the history of nursing in Mozambique. This graduation ceremony marks the culmination of the first phase of a higher education capacity-building project made possible through NEPAD funding and support. This project, called ‘Collaboration in Higher Education for Nursing’ and ‘Midwifery in Africa’ (CHENMA), was the initiative of an Africa-wide nursing honor society, Tau Lambda at-large Chapter, which through its university sub-chapters implemented the project. Nursing academics at Wits were the project leaders and teachers (Professor Judith Bruce, Dr Shelley Schmollgruber, Ms Agnes Huiskamp, Mr David Mphuti and Dr Gayle Langley) with assistance in the Maternal and Neonatal Health modules from MEDUNSA (Dr Joan Dippenaar).

The thirteen graduates hailed from three different provinces in Mozambique: Mr Hamido Braimo (Maputo, Maputo Province), Mr Nyerere Joaquim (Beira, Sofala Province) and Mr Vintinho Laudane (Quelimane, Zambezia Province). This, in some way, ensures that the major hospitals in Beira and Quelimane have nursing expertise in critical care and trauma. The top graduate award in Critical Care and Trauma Nursing went to Mr Hamido Braimo who was congratulated at the ceremony by the Director General of ISCISA, Dr Mouzinho Saide.

Professional excellence and leadership

  • Judy Bruce, Lize Maree and Sue Armstrong were inducted as Fellows into the Academy of Nursing of South Africa (ANSA) in recognition of leadership, innovation and scholarship. (School/Nursing Education)