The support of students by lecturers in the Nursing Foundation Programme at the University of the Western Cape
Due to the inadequate schooling system and the under-preparedness of learners in South African High Schools, Higher Education Institutions are faced with learners who do not meet the minimum criteria for acceptance into mainstream programmes. In an attempt to increase access into the institution and meet the demands of under-prepared students, the School of Nursing at the historically disadvantaged University of the Western Cape introduced the Bachelors Nursing Foundation Programme in 2007. This study investigated the experiences of students in the Bachelors Nursing (B.Nurs) Foundation Programme at the University of the Western Cape. It was noted by the researcher that little research into foundation provision has, to date, been conducted in South Africa. Insights into this programme gained from this study will be of benefit to all educators providing foundation provision on the support of students in foundation programmes. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and describe the support of students by lecturers in the foundation programme, from which recommendations for lecturers were described to support the students in the foundation year. A qualitative, exploratory, and descriptive design was applied, using individual semistructured interviews and field notes. Purposive sampling was conducted and eight participants took part in semi-structured individual interviews. Each interview took around 10 to 30 minutes to complete. Data were analysed using Tesch’s descriptive method of open coding. The findings of this study indicate that a foundation programme is needed to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and to prepare them for life and studies at university level. Some of the participants were of the opinion that the foundation programme was unnecessary and a waste of time and that it only prolonged their studies. However, the majority of the participants were grateful for the support that the Nursing Foundation Programme provided, and they attributed their success to the existence of the Nursing Foundation Programme.