Age is Just a Number
Seventy-five-year old Master’s in Nursing graduate, Mrs Pumla Ntikinca is outstanding proof that age is just a number.
Academic Leader in the Discipline of Nursing Mrs Fikile Mtshali said that Ntikinca’s achievements bear testimony to the fact that being resilient, driven and determined can help one to achieve one’s life goal.
Supervised by Drs Ann Jarvis and Olivia Baloyi, Ntikinca’s study was titled, An Exploration of Attitudes, Knowledge and Perceptions on Assessment of Pain in Neonates, by Advanced Midwifery Students at a University in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
‘My interest in this topic was aroused when I was a nurse educator at a nursing college, teaching Neonatology to midwifery students,’ she recalled.
‘I realised that nurses in general fall short on the intricacies of specialised care in Neonatal Inclusive Care Units (NICUs). I decided to register for a Clinical Master’s degree in Advanced Midwifery (Maternal and Childcare). The study aimed to assess and generate evidence for Nursing education and practice.’
Three categories emerged from the content analysis of the data, namely, the elimination process, restricted assessment and non-standardised approaches.
‘Pain did not receive primary attention as an indication of neonatal discomfort,’ said Ntikica. The study also identified a lack of knowledge on the use of assessment tools, with haphazard assessment, and the lack of a scientific approach to pain assessment in the neonate by advanced midwifery students. ‘This poses a challenge to the long- and short-term health of the neonate and needs to be recognised in midwifery nursing curricula,’ she added.
Ntikica’s future plans include completing a book that she has started writing which reflects on hergrowing up and development to womanhood. She will also be compiling articles to submit to journals on neonatal care.
Hailing from the small town of Mt Frere in the Eastern Cape, Ntikinca said her relationship with UKZN dates back to the time when she was a tutor at the University. She grew up in a Christian family where advancing in education was the norm. ‘My mother and father were qualified teachers and my father received an honorary degree from the University of Fort Hare at his retirement. I can proudly say that I come from a family of professionals, graduates and academics, both on the maternal and paternal side. My children, nieces and nephews also fall within these categories.’
Words: Nombuso Dlamini