11 April 2019 | Story Zama Feni | Photo Supplied
School of Nursing 50 year anniversary
From the left: Mrs Cheslyn Petersen; Prof Magda Muller, Head of the School of Nursing; and Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

The University of the Free State (UFS) Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, hailed the institution’s School of Nursing as one of the flagship entities and prime examples of community engagement.

Addressing attendees at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the school on 6 April 2019, Prof Petersen said: “I believe that you have managed to find a balance between being at the scientific forefront in terms of research output and state-of-the-art simulation and other training technologies, and the values of care, service, and selflessness. 

History of the School of Nursing

Taking the guests down memory lane regarding the history of the school, Prof Petersen said the university accommodated Nursing students within the Department of Social Work in the then Faculty of Social Sciences from the year 1967. The Department of Nursing was subsequently created in 1969. At that point, there was no Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Department of Nursing remained in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Growing from strength to strength


He said the School of Nursing has over the past 50 years gone from strength to strength, affecting the landscape of nursing in South Africa through its achievements and its alumni.

“In celebrating 50 years of nursing scholarship and education, it is important to understand that the discipline of nursing is firmly rooted within the community it serves.” 
“Without our stakeholders across many services, both public and private, we would not have been here tonight,” said Prof Petersen.

Head of the School of Nursing, Prof Magda Mulder, said the 50th celebrations were an important milestone which commenced with the appointment of Professor Idalia Loots as the first Professor of Nursing in 1969 in the erstwhile Department of Nursing.  
“Prof Loots’ views on graduate nurse education were visionary and saw the relatively small intake of students soar from between 16 and 20 to more than 80. Today, there is ample evidence in literature to support nursing education at graduate level, resulting in better nursing care, and fewer errors and lawsuits,” she said.