FUNDISA (http://fundisa.ac.za/) is a not-for-profit organization that is the national voice for South Africa’s nursing and midwifery education programmes. Representing 21 university nursing departments and 2 associate members, FUNDISA provides opportunities to advance the interests and needs of nursing scholarship through strategic partnerships. Elize Pietersen, GRN Coordinator, attended FUNDISA’s October 2017 meeting to gauge how nursing thought-leaders regard clinical research, and to establish a voice for clinical research nurses among the top nursing academia in South Africa; it is time for this voice to embrace what it has to offer, and it is time for this voice to have a legitimate position as a specialist nursing category, especially in low and middle income countries.
Members responded enthusiastically to Elize’s presentation of all GRN has to offer. It was clear that nursing educators are very interested in the nursing profession focusing more on clinical research, and they expressed a need for closer collaboration with a body of clinical research nurses such as GRN’s. Most FUNDISA members indicated that they will engage with GRN during 2018 and, as such, GRN’s mission and vision is expected to increase capacity of clinical research per se through empowering and enabling nurse to conduct clinical research.
It was also very encouraging to learn that UCT’s Nursing Department is applying for a South African National Research Foundation Research Chair, the aim of which is to have a dedicated staff member whose exclusive focus will be research. Should this become a reality it will be the first of its kind within a nursing department in South Africa.