Professor Dame Tina Lavender addresses the
workshop participants along with Dr Carol Bedwell,
her colleague from the University of Manchester.

UKZN’s Discipline of Nursing recently held a workshop conducted by Professor Dame Tina Lavender, an internationally acclaimed midwife and researcher from the University of Manchester who last year was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to midwifery.

Lavender and her colleague, Dr Carol Bedwell, addressed a group of more than 80 midwives, students of UKZN’s Midwifery and Advanced Midwifery programmes, the programme’s educators and perinatal educators at UKZN.

She said in order to promote and support safe pregnancies and births effectively, the profession needed a strong underpinning of ‘evidence-based practice’ internationally and this would be achieved if midwives started to address the lack of non-pharmacological research in midwifery.

Lavender explained that pharmacological research involved drugs with side effects which could affect a baby’s respiratory system among other life-threatening concerns. However, she said an increase in non-pharmacological research would make care for mothers and babies more cost effective, promote levels of confidence and competence amongst midwives, and enable them to give women better care and choices which are based on the evidence.

She said their instincts and intuition as midwives were simply not enough unless informed by research. ‘It is important that our research outcomes are meaningful.’

Professor Busi Ncama, Dean and Head of the School of Nursing and Public Health, said the midwives and students were honoured to have been addressed by the esteemed international guests.  She said the discipline of Nursing is a designated World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Community Problem Solving in Nursing and Midwifery and a Joanna Briggs Institute Collaborating Centre for Evidence Based Nursing and Midwifery Practice. ‘We are really at the forefront of improving nursing and midwifery and realising the Millennium Development Goals: four, five and six.’

The discipline of Nursing is recognized for its innovative educational programmes, its research activities, its extensive work in Africa, and its international network of scholars.