Institutional accreditation by nursing education and training quality assurance: Perspectives of heads of private nursing institutions in South Africa

Ntombifikile Gloria Mtshali, Thobile Shelembe, Joanne Rachel Naidoo, Alexis Harerimana


Background and objective: Nursing education throughout the world is striving for international competitiveness and accountability for effectiveness, quality, and trust to the students, patients, and the community, thus making the issue of institutional accreditation increasingly important. The aim of this paper was to explore the perceptions of heads of private nursing institutions on the benefits of school accreditation by nursing education and training quality assurance (ETQA) in KwaZulu-Natal region, South Africa.

Methods: The study adopted a qualitative approach. Data were collected from seven heads of private nursing institutions. In-depth interviews were used to explore the perceived benefits of the accreditation of nursing institutions by Nursing ETQA. Thematic content analysis was used in this study to analyse the collected data. The study adhered to all ethical principles.

Results: The findings from this study revealed that heads of private nursing institutions perceived the accreditation by nursing ETQA as a tool used to promote quality outcomes in nursing education. Results from this study further revealed that accreditation is a mechanism of ensuring high standards of performance, and it increases trust, confidence, and reinforcement of uniformity across the nursing education sector. In this study, several challenges were reported to hinder the accreditation process including as a disjoint and an inconsistent process of accreditation, unclear criteria for accreditation, the high cost of accreditation, accreditation being detrimental to teaching the outcome, lack of uniformity in the recommendations; and a lengthy process of accreditation.

Conclusions: Accreditation is an important tool to ensure that programs and degrees meet the highest standards of education. In nursing education, the accreditation process is associated with several challenges, and there is a need for collaborative and well-coordinated accreditation of nursing schools nationally and globally.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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