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A Voice to Lead: Strengthening Specialist Nursing Practice in Zambia

5 May 2022


Through the Nursing Now Challenge Fellowship (NNCF) programme, the partnership between Birmingham City University – Lusaka College of Nursing and Midwifery is supporting six early career specialist nurses from emergency and trauma, operating theatre, and critical care in Zambia. In this short blog, the Fellows share their views on the importance of leadership and quality improvement training led by specialised nurses for nurses.

Prior to Covid-19, Zambia had embarked on a programme to develop specialist practice in priority areas. In consequence, specialist nursing is relatively new, however, it has already provided us with opportunities and career development. It is also important to note that while numbers are gradually increasing, currently there are very few specialist nurses in senior leadership positions. Therefore, our development as early emerging leaders is crucial to help embed operational leadership in practice and lay the foundations for us to take on senior roles in the future. In addition, this programme gives us the opportunity to act as role models for our colleagues and peers, enabling them to see how they too can develop their practice and improve care.

The NNCF programme is helping us to learn how to recognise opportunities to develop our practice and to make clinical decisions on our own. We have developed our own network and are working with other nurses from different specialities to explore the similarities and challenges we face. As part of the programme, we have each identified a specific nursing issue for our quality improvement project, areas include:

  • Exploring the knowledge of nurses’ working in an Emergency Department, and how they assess and treat pain.
  • In critical care, oxygen is frequently given to patients and this project will enhance Registered Nurses’ knowledge and understanding of oxygen therapy.
  • Patients with head and neck cancer are at risk of poor nutrition, therefore this project aims to enhance nutritional intake of inpatients as a key element of their treatment process.
  • Infection prevention is a key role for all nurses, therefore, this project will focus on theatre nurse’s knowledge in preventing post-operative wound infections.
  • All nurses working in acute wards need to be able to effectively respond to emergency situations, therefore, an orientation programme to new staff focusing on resuscitation training is planned.

The key themes for our quality improvement projects are to improve patient care and increase nurse’s knowledge. The projects will have a bonus of maximising the available resources, so that our departments become more effective.

The health partnership between the Lusaka College of Nursing and Birmingham City University has brought us together from different hospitals and specialist areas, which has allowed us to understand different perspectives. We have explored important professional topics including international perspectives, conflict resolution and how we can learn to become more effective operational leaders. We are now four months into the programme, and we are excited to be embarking on our quality improvement projects and feel more confident in our roles. We look forward to showcasing the role of what specialist nurses in Zambia can achieve.

Gift Chifwiko, Emergency and Trauma Nurse, Maina Soko Military Hospital, Zambia

Melody Chisanga, Operating Theatre Nurse, Chipata General Hospital, Zambia

Memory Nalwamba, Operating Theatre Nurse, St Francis Mission Hospital, Zambia

Ruth Khondowe, Critical Care Nurse, Cancer Diseases Hospital, Zambia

Precious Kaleji, Critical Care Nurse, Maina Soko Military Hospital, Zambia

Mwamba Kangwa, Registered Nurse, University Teaching Hospital, Zambia


The Nursing Now Challenge Fellowship Programme aims to build the leadership of early-career nurses and midwives in Africa and Asia, in alignment with the Nursing Now Challenge.

Funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing and managed by THET, the programme combines structured leadership training with the delivery of Quality Improvement (QI) projects led by nurses and midwives.

To find out more, please click here.

This post was written by:

Nursing Now Challenge Fellows - Zambia


  • Nchima
    10 May 2022 09:03
    Great job. Thanks for this initiative. Wishing participants all the best to making these improvements be the start of great development.
  • Rachel
    10 May 2022 08:30
    Zambia as had practice nurses but unstructured. Nurses posted in rural areas make decisions on their own. However it's great that this area of practice is being recognised. Nurses are the backbone of the health systems.
  • Winnie
    08 May 2022 18:32
    Wow great job
  • Lillian Muyangwa
    07 May 2022 16:37
    This is really great. Can't wait to see you guys progress in your projects.
  • Naomi mulozi
    06 May 2022 17:55
    Great job
  • Humphrey
    06 May 2022 17:22
    Very good project,hoping more good in Zambia.
  • Elinata
    06 May 2022 16:00
    It's a nice project, hoping to be a student at one point
  • Melody
    06 May 2022 15:44
    This is really good. Well done fellows

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