Dr Champion Nyoni (Head of Research at the School of Nursing)

Known for its innovative education approaches, its engaged scholarship programmes and impactful research outputs, the School of Nursing is a flagship of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the UFS. With a track record of over 50 years of excellence, the School of Nursing has been recognised for its excellent research outputs that are published in high impact journals and are cited widely. The School of Nursing boasts of seasoned and experienced researchers that are at the cutting edge of the knowledge economy in nursing science.

The School of Nursing envisions to be a leader in conducting and engaging in research that matters to nursing and midwifery science.

The School of Nursing will pursue this vision through its goals, namely.

  1. Improve staff competence in conducting meaningful research
  2. Enhance local, regional, and global partnerships and collaboration
  3. Support the development of collaborative research projects with local benefit
  4. Increase the volume and quality of research outputs
  5. Share research outputs in local, regional, and global forums
  6. Celebrate research success
  7. Support the acquisition of and distribution of research funding
  8. Increase efficiency and effectiveness of research governance and support systems

Research focus areas of the School of Nursing

The School of Nursing integrates various individuals and research groups that foster research activities:

  1. Transfer of learning

    The transfer of learning research niche is an established niche area within the School of Nursing under the leadership of Prof Botma. The key focus of this niche area emphasises on research related to understanding strategies for improved teaching, learning, and enhancing competence of students. Underpinned by the Transfer of Learning theory by Donovan and Darcy (2011), research in the area has focused on curriculum, teaching strategies, assessment in nursing education, motivation to transfer learning, simulation, learning climate and workplace environment. The niche area has been at the forefront in research outputs, global collaborations, and postgraduate students at the School of Nursing.

    To collaborate on this research niche contact Prof Botma: or Dr Nyoni:

  2. Health communication

    The health communication encompasses many identified research fields including health literacy and health informatics. This niche area is an established research area in the School of Nursing under the leadership of Prof Reid. Various models and interventions in health communication have been developed and tested within the local context including the first ever Sesotho Health Literacy Test (SHLT).  Over the years, various multidisciplinary and international collaborations have increased research outputs from this niche including post-doctoral fellows.

    To collaborate on this research niche contact Prof Reid:

  3. Patient safety

    The patient safety initiative is a newly established research area in the School of Nursing under the leadership of Dr Spies. This research area aims to investigate the use of simulation-based education as strategy to enhance patient safety. Currently, the research area is investigating the state of simulation-based activities through a faculty-wide project with a plan to design simulation research strategy for the Faculty of Health Sciences. In collaboration with global partners, the research area aims at applying for global funding for collaborative multi-site studies. Several postgraduate students will soon be invited to the research area.  

    To collaborate on this research area contact Dr Spies:

  4. Mental health and welfare

    Mental health and welfare is a crucial issue for nurses especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. The School of Nursing is embarking on establishing a research area within mental health and welfare for various stakeholders. Several projects are already underway. Dr Modula is leading a project on the mental health and welfare related to occupational trauma specialised on occupational trauma on security forces in collaboration with the University of Limpopo. The School of Nursing is focusing on enhancing this research area for increased collaboration, partnership, and funding.

    To collaborate on this research area contact Dr Modula: or Dr Jansen:

  5. Health research priorities

    South Africa faces various health related challenges which impact health and the society. The School of Nursing under the leadership of Dr van Jaarsveld, is working in partnership with Provincial Department of Health of the Free State province are working towards research engaged in identifying and establishing research priorities for the province. This research areas set the pace for research that matters, allowing researchers at the School, the University, and the province to conduct research that aligns with national development priorities.

    To collaborate on this research area contact Dr van Jaarsveld:

  6. Professional identity and professionalism

    Nurse and Midwives are fundamental to health of individuals and communities in Africa. The image and identity of nurses and midwives is under threat due various factors including stakeholder pressures, limited resources, lack of competence and the diversity in patient needs and disease profiles. Several researchers in the School of Nursing and global partners are working towards investigating and establishing a research area that supports professional identity formation and professionalism among nursing students, educators, and professionals. Current projects, which are funded by the SIGMA (STTI) through the Alpha-Eta Grant include a multi-national collaboration on nursing students from 14 countries. In addition, Dr Hugo-van Dyk has been leading research on professionalism and emotional intelligence with postgraduate students successfully graduating under her leadership.

    To collaborate on this project contact Dr Nyoni: or Dr Hugo-van Dyk:

  7. Virtual reality in education

    Virtual reality is an innovative strategy that enhance the development competence in nursing education. The School of Nursing is at the fore front of research in Virtual Reality in Nursing education in Low-and Middle-Income countries. Through the works of Mr Botha, Dr Hugo van Dyk and Prof Botma, the school of nursing have established virtual reality research with various publication on its use in nursing education. As an emerging research area- various modalities and research methods are being applied. Current projects are aimed at integrating VR as a teaching modality in infection prevention control in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    To collaborate on this project contact Mr Botha: or Dr Hugo-van Dyk: or Prof Botma:



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