Redesigning nursing curriculum in Kiribati

The School of Nursing and Health team at Kiribati Institute of Technology


The Kiribati Institute of Technology (KIT) has a brand-new Diploma of Nursing curriculum thanks to the hard work and dedication of their School of Nursing and Health (SONH) team members, closely involved in the redesign process alongside Wintec kaimahi and an expert from James Cook University.

Funded through Aotearoa New Zealand's International Development Cooperation programme at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), the end goals of this redesign were to support high quality education of nurses for employment in Kiribati to meet local health needs, and to provide potential employment pathways for Kiribati educated nurses internationally.

Jo Hardie, Wintec International Development Services Manager, said that although KIT already provided a nursing diploma, it was dated. 

“The redesigned Advanced Diploma of Nursing (ADN), aimed at level 6 on the Pacific Qualifications Framework, was a significant step up from the existing level 5 diploma. Importantly, the ADN reflects the Kiribati Nurse Council competencies and the new i-Kiribati Cultural Framework for nurses and Maneaba i-Kiribati Model of Nursing Care.  The maneaba or meeting house is culturally significant in Kiribati, being the heart of the community, and the Maneaba i-Kiribati Model of Nursing Care is based around this significant concept.”

She said the aim was to build staff capability and to strengthen processes to deliver a quality programme to effectively train generalist nurses who could deal with the wide range of health needs in the Kiribati context. 

The redesign was almost halted by Covid-19, but thankfully all parties were willing to continue the process, even though it had to be mainly done remotely.

“It was amazing that all of the people who we worked with really got on board with the process of doing this online, which was incredible as it took us two years. It was really intense and hard, but also really encouraging that we were able to keep up that work and momentum for such a long time,” Jo said.

This approach required significant time from all parties with weekly workshops and continuing follow-ups from 2020 through to project completion this year. This was particularly challenging with staff changes and multiple demands on the SONH time as they continued to teach out the existing diploma, whilst providing significant time and input into the redesign process and introducing the ADN for the new student cohort starting 2021. 

“The original plan was for intense blocks of in-country activity during scheduled visits, with remote follow-ups in between. A shift to fully remote delivery was only possible through the willingness of all involved to adapt to this style of interface and accommodate more frequent shorter sessions over a longer period, the presence of our in-country coordinator, adequate internet at SONH with mobile data back up, and efforts of all involved to build positive relations.”

Wintec’s in-country coordinator in Kiribati, Dr Mireta Noere, was essential to the redesign process. She is happy with the significant progress made to date and sees the opportunity now to continue to develop, evaluate and improve the programme, throughout the three-year implementation, based on the evolving nature of nursing education. She hopes to see Wintec able to continue to support KIT to do this.

MFAT has agreed to provide additional support for the project team to continue with KIT to refine and develop teaching content for the ADN out to May next year, strengthen teaching processes such as assessment and carry out an external evaluative review and report on the ADN for KIT.

Read more:

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