2020 CNEF - Launch of virtual forum

On 1st July 2020, the Children's Nursing Educators Forum (CNEF) launched as a virtual forum and welcomed around 40 child nurse educators from schools in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Led by nurse practitioner and wellness coach, Eileen O’Grady and Minette Coetzee (Associate Professor, CNDU) this inaugural event was designed to help nurse educators maintain and support health and well-being in extreme situations.

With the knowledge they have, nurses should be some of the healthiest people on the planet. However, too often, they are so busy caring for others that they neglect themselves – carrying stresses and burdens that erode mental health and well-being. In particular, Nurse educators can carry additional loads. Responsible for maintaining student safety and academic excellence, the risk of burnout is very real. 

Creating a safe space for open forum and discussion, attendees were invited to reflect on their own personal situation, and the negative mindtraps it is so easy to fall into. Facing this challenge head-on, delegates were introduced to some of the tools and techniques they would need to help themselves, and their students, avoid them:

  • Accepting and understanding feelings by granting yourself permission to grieve.
  • Getting friendly with, and feel more positive about, the future.
  • The importance of adopting a growth mindset to manage stress, setbacks and encourage learning.
  • How to change the narrative and relinquish control.
  • Creating a three-way balance between your ‘self’, work and significant others (see Venn diagram).

Recommending no less than 90 minutes of self-care a day, attendees were shown how to prioritise the non-negotiable activities (sleep, food, brain health, exercise, filtering what we absorb from screens and literature, your tribe) that are essential to good health and wellbeing. 

‘Where there is no gardener, there is no garden’ (Hamlet). An emerging mantra for the event, this first Child Nurse Educators Forum was an important reminder of the responsibilities we hold - not just to our students, but to ourselves.

The Child Nurse Educators’ Forum is to be run as a virtual event for the remainder of 2020, welcoming Children's Nursing Educators from across Africa. For information about subsequent Forum meets, click here: 2nd 2020 Virtual CNEF, 3rd 2020 CNEF Forum.

Contact us for more details (jane.vos@uct.ac.za)