Nursing Education in Poland and Kenya

Political History and Development of Nursing Education: Comparison of Poland and Kenya

Kenya education underwent a continuous development process. It began with the introduction of nursing curricula by Christian missionaries from western countries. The colonial government then embraced the mandate and became the leading authority for managing nurse education in Kenya. After independence, nursing education continued under the guidance of private hospitals and public hospitals that were inherited from the previous government. During the colonial period, racial segregation influenced the education of nurses with hospitals catering to Europeans and Asians receiving a bigger share of expatriate staffs to teach nursing.

Nursing education in Poland did not follow a straight path as in Kenya. The First World War and the Second World War affected the development of nursing education in Poland. During the wars, the education of nurses stagnated. Moreover, Poland was once part of the Soviet Union, whose political ideology, at the time, discouraged higher education. The emergence of the degree courses in nursing happed after the country gained independence and embraced international certifications and education systems. The country had to reconstruct its education system when the new political leadership accepted innovations in nurse teaching and care.

Government and Nursing Organizations Influencing Education: Comparison of Poland and Kenya

The Nursing Council of Kenya holds the responsibility of standardizing nurses in the country. It approves institutions and offers training for nurses. It also conducts registration, enrollment, and examination of nurses. The government funds the activities of the council through the Ministry of Health. The ministry works with global bodies like WHO to ensure that the country’s nurse education meets international standards.

The National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) assists the NCK to fulfill its mandate. In Poland, the Ministry of Health is also responsible for overall nursing education. It performs the function through the Center of Post-basic Continuing Education for Nurses and Midwives (Sztembis, 2006). The legislature performs occasional amendments on the Acts governing nurse education. The changes occur after lobby groups and other stakeholders deliberate on the necessary mechanisms needed for the sector (Sztembis, 2006).

Current System of Nursing Education: Comparison of Poland and Kenya

The report by Mule (1986) shows that Kenya has different school levels, which cater to various specializations for nurses. The lowest qualification is the Kenya registered midwifery course. After completion of the course and five years of experience, nurses can join the Kenya Registered Public Health Nursing course. It takes four years to become a registered nurse. The Enrolled Community Nursing course is a special qualification for nurses who go to serve rural communities and do not need to qualify as registered nurses.

Poland has two baccalaureate nursing programs. Candidates join them after completing advanced-level high school. The program lasts for three or five years and leads to a master’s program in nursing, which takes two years (Sztembis, 2006). The Poland system is straightforward and does not provide an alternative qualification for special areas as done in the Kenya system. Kenya’s degree training is for teachers who train nurses and not for practicing nurses. Poland has a post-basic program that upgrades the skills of nurses in the field for those who have the necessary experience but misses the qualifications (Sztembis, 2006).

Post-Graduate (Masters) Education: Comparison of Poland and Kenya

At the time of carrying out the research, Mule (1986) does not report any form of postgraduate education for nurses in Kenya. However, the development of the sector and increasing demands for specialization will eventually lead to postgraduate qualifications. Particularly, the knowledge explosion continues to influence curricula changes (Mule, 1986). Poland has a master’s program for nurses. It is the highest academic qualification at present.

Since all the education of nurses happens at universities, Poland has a greater capacity and chance of introducing PhD programs. The current master’s program takes two years. It teaches nurses to initiate and support local community health purposes (Sztembis, 2006). Post-graduate students also learn to conduct and disseminate research findings as well as educate nurses and manage heath and nursing institutions. Therefore, they qualify for employment in all healthcare settings (Sztembis, 2006).

Reflections on Nursing Education in Poland and Kenya

The comparison of nursing education in Poland and Kenya shows that the former has a more developed system. It is important to recognize that the research on Kenya happened more than two decades ago while that of Poland happened in the last decade. Nevertheless, the two reports show that each country’s nurse education system responds to the demands of its populace and embraces the political transformations in the respective countries.

In both cases, the development of curricula started from the bottom as circumstances necessitated the education of nurses. Government involvement occurred later, and implements system parameters that ensure the education meet high-quality standards (Mule, 1986). Therefore, the education of nurses continues to evolve in the respective countries as legislative and institutional structures change (Sztembis, 2006). As more nurses control the development process, both countries will witness an inclusion of the nurses’ needs, besides the needs of the population.


Mule, G. K. (1986). Nursing education in Kenya: Trends and innovations. International nursing review, 33 (3): 83-86.

Sztembis, B. (2006). The past, present, and future of nurse education in Poland: stages, conditions, and activities. International Nursing Review, 53: 102-109.

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