The University Centre in Nairobi was abuzz with excitement and activity as we welcomed the first cohort of undergraduate nursing students.
This is a milestone for AKU in Kenya which is popularly known for its postgraduate programmes in medicine, nursing, midwifery and media and communications. Targeting high school leavers, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSc Nursing) – Direct Entry programme aims to transform the higher education landscape in the region.
Welcoming the 60 students, President Dr Sulaiman Shahabuddin reflected on the journey of nursing at AKU – it was the first programme launched in Pakistan forty years ago and the first in East Africa.
“This is why nursing holds a special place in our hearts, our thinking and planning. Our Chancellor His Highness the Aga Khan said 'Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system. They are the ones who provide direct care to patients, and they do it with compassion and dedication'," he said.
“Nursing is not just a profession. It is a noble calling because people will depend on you. The profession you have chosen is absolutely the best."
Professor Eunice Ndirangu-Mugo, Dean at AKU's School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa expressed her excitement telling the students they are part of history.
“We are really honoured to have you with us. You are joining this programme not only to learn new things, but you are also a resource and will bring so much into the classroom. I encourage you to network with each other and other students at AKU," she said.
The direct-entry BSc Nursing programme will augment the University's existing programmes by increasing the quantity and competence of nurses in the region. The programme will be offered simultaneously with the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery programme (MBChB) in a unique setting that brings student doctors and nurses together to gain interprofessional education.
Watch highlights of the nursing students' first day at AKU.