First Africa-wide ‘Journal Club’ for children’s nurses goes live

25 Aug 2021 - 11:00

The first Africa-wide ‘Journal Club’ to support the professional development of children’s nurses across the continent will launch on Wednesday 25th August 2021. Hosted by the award-winning team at the Harry Crossley Children’s Nursing Development Unit (CNDU) in Cape Town, the event welcomes member groups from 8 hospital sites in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia and Zambia.

Journal clubs give healthcare professionals the chance to come together, review and discuss published articles in a given field or area of work. Adapting this concept to the world of children’s nursing, in 2017 the CNDU launched a weekly Journal Club at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa – with August’s event seeing the team taking the success of this initiative across borders.

Angela Leonard, the University of Cape Town nurse researcher who designed this Journal Club, said: “To give the best quality care to sick children in hospital, nurses have got to be able to apply research and scientific evidence. It’s been amazing to see how nurses can get involved in reading and discussing research literature, and applying it to their work.”  

Studies show journal clubs to build familiarity with research terms and processes, embed habits of scientific reading and professional updating, and to support evidence-based practice. These findings echo the experience of the CNDU team, whose own research shows that involving different cadres of nursing staff - including nursing auxiliaries, enrolled nurses and specialist children’s nurses - opens up valuable new conversations about team practice and ensures that nurses at the bedside are involved in evidence-based healthcare.

Having started at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, which is Africa’s largest paediatric referral hospital, the team at CNDU were determined to find a way to share Journal Club with more nurses. To make this model Africa-wide, CNDU are providing training to local nursing leaders and putting everything these leaders need to run their own clubs online. A new package will be released every month, containing a digital copy of the article, video introduction, graphic summary and session plan. Readings are chosen in consultation with local clinical leaders and are designed to address relevant challenges affecting nurses working with children in Africa.

Andrea Amos is a masters-qualified advanced nursing practitioner and children’s nurse who will be supporting local member groups across Africa: “I’m excited to be bringing the benefits of this project to so many more nurses and facilities. Nurses don’t always get credit for just how much they know, and we have to work hard to keep our professional knowledge up to date. Journal Club is a great way to do that, in a way that builds team spirit and is always relevant to nurses’ work.”  

As part of the launch event, the CNDU will welcome representatives from the University of Cape Town’s Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, as well as member groups from across sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to celebrating the launch of this Africa-wide initiative, the team are also calling for new members to join the second semester of activities. If you are a children’s nurse interested in setting up a Journal Club in your hospital or healthcare setting, please contact

Membership is free thanks to the generosity of The Burdett Nursing Trust.