Research Chair in Nursing Science

The North-West University’s School of Nursing was awarded the first research chair in Nursing Science from the National Research Foundation (NRF), where a huge focus will be on the development of nurses’ leadership skills over the next five years (2020-2025). Subsequently, the NRF will through this chair, contribute more than R8 million towards the development of these much needed skills.

The SANOPSys SARChI-Albertina Sisulu Chair in Nursing Science, will through its leadership education, aim to improve the quality of the South African Nurse, Organisational, Patient, and System outcomes and the delivery of effective, safe and people-centered health care services. The rationale behind this is that research has confirmed that the immediate environment where healthcare professionals practice, has the largest effect on nursing, patient and organisation outcomes.

The huge lack of leadership skills and leaders itself places a big constraint on the nursing profession in South Africa, where nurses that make up the majority of the healthcare professionals have little or no voice – not in practice and not in policy-making. Research pinpointed that within a nurses' practice environment, leadership has shown to have the most impact on the nurse with regard to job and career satisfaction, intention to leave, burnout, patient safety and quality of care, patient satisfaction and organisational culture. One such example includes a clinic where the lack of sufficient staff and resources were clearly visible.  However, effective leadership was evident. The nursing staff flourished, despite crucial shortcomings.

The pursuit of quality health care for all South Africans is highly complex. It depends on an intricate balance between the quadruple aim of health care being to:

  • Improve the patient's experience of care (Patient)
  • Reduce the per capita cost of healthcare (Organisation)
  • Improve the health of populations (Systems), and
  • Improve nurses' and multi-disciplinary team members’ wellbeing (Nurse).


The research chair, therefore, aims to take back the lead in nursing science by empowering current nurses in management and leadership positions and identifying and capacitating future nurse leaders across all sectors, hospitals, and disciplines of nursing science in South Africa. The aim of the research is thus to develop a South African Institute of Excellence (IoE) in scholarship and training related to leadership and governance in nursing science.


The chair’s objectives include to collect a national database of nurse experiences, in order to develop interventions, strategies, and policies to improve nurse outcomes, nurse qualifications, and the recruitment and retention of nurses. Also, a first-ever national database of patient safety and satisfaction is planned. Data from these objectives will also be used to develop forecasting models that can be used to assist with the planning of nurse staffing ratios, skills mix, distribution and allocation of human resources in healthcare facilities.


The outcomes of the abovementioned research will subsequently be used to develop short courses for training material to be used by managers and organisations all over South Africa, possibly even SADC countries.

The SANOPSys SARChI-Abertina Sisulu Chair in Nursing Science will consist of a core team and a network of collaborators within the NWU, as well as from other South African, regional and international institutions.

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