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Birmingham City University Professors ‘transform’ critical care nursing in Zambia

There are now over 1,600 nurses trained in critical care and two nursing colleges in Zambia following the UK University’s work with the Zambian Ministry of Health
Nursing academics Chris Carter and Joy Notter have helped develop Zambia's critical care nursing

Two nursing academics from Birmingham City University (BCU) have been hailed for helping to transform critical care nursing in Zambia through education and training.

Since 2015, Professors Chris Carter and Joy Notter have worked with the Zambian Ministry of Health to support the national development of critical care nursing. They have trained nurses to deal with severe injuries and life-threatening diseases, making them self-sufficient to address future health crises.

Professor Carter said: ‘I’ve invested a decade of my life in Zambia. We’ve been in this together. Seeing 10 years and 20 cohorts of critical care nurses shape their future is incredible. We give people confidence. We are now becoming mentors and peers, and rightly so. We’re not leading any more, they are.’

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Zambia is a landlocked, low-income country with 60% of the population living in rural communities. At the start of the project in 2015, critical care education was severely overlooked, with only one critical care nursing programme and a single tutor to serve the entire country.

Through the BCU Centre for Global Partnerships for Health, Carter, Notter and local volunteers travelled 5,000 km and visited 16 public hospitals to identify gaps in healthcare delivery, and launched nurse education and training programmes in emergency, trauma and critical care. This was done through in-person activities, online lectures, mentorship, and clinical assessments. 

During the pandemic, the BCU team also developed a COVID-19 specific project to upskill nurses in Lusaka College of Nursing and Midwifery and the University Teaching Hospitals. This helped train 60 nurse educators and over 970 students in hand hygiene training, myth-busting and infection prevention and control.

There are now over 1600 nurses and healthcare workers trained in critical care response and two critical care nursing courses launched, attracting students from Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho. Critical care nurse leaders from Zambia have also presented their work at international conferences and in journals.

These achievements are being highlighted ahead of International Nurses Day on 12 May, when BCU will celebrate the work by Carter and Notter in ‘transforming’ healthcare and the lives of people in Zambia.