Launch of Children's Nursing Workforce Observatory 2020 Report

1 Dec 2021 - 10:00

About the Children’s Nursing Workforce Observatory

The purpose of the children’s nursing workforce observatory project is to produce the first comprehensive picture of the children’s nursing workforce across the southern and east African countries training children’s nurses, and to communicate this information to national stakeholders to inform the development of national workforce strategies and training plans.

A number of African nations are making progress with strategies to build and strengthen the children’s nursing workforce. As the children’s nursing workforce grows, there is a need for data to inform decisions about further workforce development activities, as well as deployment of the growing workforce.

The project involves a simple but robust data sharing process using the Open Science Framework to pool information about the children’s nursing workforce. The process has been designed to be compatible with in-country Human Resources for Health Information Systems (HRHIS) and National Health Workforce Accounts, ensuring that additional data burdens are minimised.

The Children’s Nursing Training Activity Report 2020 published 1st Dec 2021 presents information about the training programmes in operation, including active programmes, new programmes in development, and programmes that have stopped.

Data visualisations present the scale of training activity and trends, showing graduate numbers and educator capacity across our community. An online Children’s Nursing Training Directory makes it easier for funders, employers and potential students to find information about programmes.

In future years we hope that reporting will extend to cover numbers of children’s nurses in practice and patterns of deployment.


Key messages from the Children’s Nursing Workforce Observatory report

  • Five countries in Africa had active children’s nursing training programmes that produced 134 graduates in 2019.
  • A total of nine training programmes were actively in operation in 2020, offered by seven different institutions, with 220 training places available.
  • This training activity was supported by 43 educators, of whom 33 had a specialist children’s nursing qualification.
  • Four institutions with active training programmes reported that they were planning to introduce additional programmes, and two institutions in countries with no active training programmes (Botswana and Zimbabwe) are awaiting accreditation of fully developed curricula.
  • South Africa was the only country to show a decrease in training activity. 


Natasha North, Research Programme Director at the Harry Crossley Children’s Nursing Development Unit which co-ordinates the project, said: “This report is a milestone towards our community’s shared goal of strengthening the children’s nursing workforce. By making the extent of training activity visible, we hope to stimulate data-driven dialogue about workforce planning for this critically needed professional group.”      


How does the Children’s Nursing Workforce Observatory project work?

The Children’s Nursing Educator Forum exists to sustain and grow the community of practice of children’s nursing educators in southern and east Africa. Since 2016 members of this community have been sharing information about training programmes in the region. In 2020 this information has moved to the Open Science Framework as part of a collaborative initiative to establish the Africa Children’s Nursing Workforce Observatory, making the work of children’s nursing educators in Africa visible. This project is co-ordinated by The Harry Crossley Children’s Nursing Development Unit at the University of Cape Town.


What is Open Science?

Open Science is an approach to research based on the principles of openness, collaborative working and sharing knowledge without barriers. Digital technologies are a powerful tool for collaboration across the whole knowledge cycle. This project is using the Open Science Framework to enable contributors to share information about children’s nursing training activity, recognising that this knowledge is a product of collaboration and its ownership belongs to the community that produced it.


Call to action

If you would like to add information about a children’s nursing training programme in Africa you can do so here.



The information in the report was shared by members of the Africa Children’s Nursing Educators Forum. Please cite this report as follows: Children’s Nursing Training Activity Information by The Children’s Nursing Educators’ Forum is licensed under CC-BY-4.0 DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/TEGX7.

This project has been made possible through generous support from the VITOL Foundation and the ELMA Foundation.

Percept Actuaries and Consultants provided assistance with data visualisation and presentation. 


More information

If you have any questions about this process, Natasha North, Senior Researcher at The Harry Crossley Children's Nursing Development Unit, University of Cape Town. will be happy to talk with you.