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A conference marking the 20th anniversary of the introduction of Nursing and Midwifery Programmes within the curriculum of the University of Malta.

The Nursing and Midwifery Divisions of the Institute of Health Care, University of Malta, are holding a conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the introduction of Nursing and Midwifery Programmes within the University of Malta, between 27 and 29 May 2009 at the Corinthia Palace Hotel, Attard.

The Institute of Health Care (IHC) was set up in 1988 specifically to develop courses in Health Care at tertiary level.  Prof. John Rizzo Naudi who is currently the Chairman of the Institute of Health Care and Chancellor of the University was instrumental in introducing Nursing and Midwifery Education into the curriculum of the University of Malta. At the time, it was recognized that health care involves the efforts of a multidisciplinary team of caring professionals including Nurses and Midwives, who are responsible for the direct care of clients. The Institute of Health Care has grown over the past 20 years, also thanks to the contribution of the Directors, Prof. Anthony Serracino Inglott, Dr Gauden Galea and Dr Sandra Buttigieg.

In his address, the Hon. Mario Galea, Parliamentary Secretary for the Elderly and Community Services, himself a nurse, and a graduate of the University, emphasized the important impact that the move to a University education has had on the provision of nursing and midwifery care. He stated that whilst there is still some controversy with regards to whether nurses and midwives require a University education, the complexity and demands of the professions and the increased emphasis on interdisciplinary work and education necessitates that nurses and midwives receive the same level of academic preparation as other health care professionals, with a focus on evidence and research.

Over the past 20 years, over 1500 nurses and midwives have completed a course of studies within the Institute of Health Care with nearly 400 obtaining an undergraduate degree and 28 a post-graduate degree. A total of 9 different programmes of studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate level are currently offered including a diploma in nursing, Bachelor’s programmes in general nursing and midwifery, mental health nursing, community nursing and a Masters programme in nursing/midwifery studies. Prospects for employment for undergraduate and post graduate students have been remarkable in both the public and private sector, locally and overseas.

An integral part of the Institute is the development of research for staff and students. Participation in local and international conferences, publication, and enrolment in post graduate, Masters and PhD programmes is widespread amongst members of staff and students. Close links have been established with international universities, particularly in Europe and members of staff and students regularly participate in Erasmus exchange initiatives.   

So far, the diploma and degree courses in nursing ran over a four-year period. As from October 2009, all diploma and degree programmes in nursing will run over a three-year period, congruent with trends in the development of nurse education worldwide. This has been made possible through the adoption of a more integrative approach to teaching and learning throughout the programmes.

The Nursing and Midwifery Divisions are striving towards the establishment of all graduate professions. In view of this, diplomate nurses and midwives are now provided with the opportunity to obtain a degree.  To facilitate this, a new programme of studies utilising a blended approach of lectures, e-learning and self-directed learning is being developed to allow nurses in employment to pace their own studies and meet the demands of work commitments and continued development. Specialist undergraduate certificates are also being developed with the aim of allowing nurses working in highly specialised areas to acquire the advanced knowledge and skills required to provide optimal care in these clinical settings.   

For further information regarding the Nursing Division, please contact Ms Roberta Sammut, Co-ordinator Nursing Division, on 23401831, or by email. For information on Midwifery courses please contact Dr Rita Borg Xuereb, Co-ordinator Midwifery Division, on 2340 1823, or  by email.

A Celebration of Care
Professor John Rizzo Naudi, Chairman, Institute of Health Care, University of Malta,
addressing the conference 'A Celebration of Care'
A Celebration of Care
The Hon. Mario Galea, Parliamentary Secretary, Elderly and Community Care, addressing the conference 'A Celebration of Care'

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