Conference focused on “transforming [the nursing] education and practice landscape”.

Three Witsies have won awards and prizes at the Annual Nursing Education Conference that took place at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on September 4–5.

Amanda Calitz, a lecturer at Team eFundanathi in the School of Therapeutic Sciences and masters student in health science education, won the poster competition prize with Zelda Laurie, a part-time health sciences nursing education masters student.

Their digital poster was a presentation of the application of game-based learning using Minecraft (a computer game) in the MSc Nursing curriculum.

Assistant Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Judith Bruce received a Nursing Education Association Excellence Award for nursing education leadership.

The 37-year-old conference provides a platform for nurse educators to showcase their work and to update themselves on new developments within the industry, said Dr Nelouise Geyer the CEO of the Nursing Education Association.

The top three poster competition winners received a book prize and were chosen based on their five-minute presentations.

“We thought it would be a good idea to share [Minecraft learning] with others,” said Calitz.

Although the game-based application made up part of an assignment for Laurie, it is also part of Calitz’s masters research. The presentation focused on the benefits of active learning in game-based education and how it leads to critical-thinking skills.

“In private health care, the hospitals are moving to electronic patient record systems where all notes will be done electronically. To upskill our nurses to reach the health system goals… we have to advance our nurses,” said Laurie.

The Nursing Education Association Excellence Awards for nursing education leadership chooses its winning nominees based on a number of criteria including: how respected the individual is; the influence they hold in the industry and whether they promote research and scholarship in the field of health, nursing and nursing education.

Award winners such as Bruce received a trophy, certificate and R5 000.

Bruce, who is also supervising Calitz’s research said, “Through the ways we teach and train, we either enable or disable learning.

“Sometimes we extinguish the enjoyment of learning in the process, so introducing a variety of progressive learning strategies such as game-based learning, can be hugely transformative for teaching and learning.”

FEATURED IMAGE: Left to right: Amanda Calitz, Zelda Laurie, Dr Nelouise Geyer, Lizelle Crouse and Dr Sue Armstrong at the Annual Nursing Education Conference. Photo: Provided