More than 30 new School of Nursing and Public Health Research Master’s and PhD students attended an induction day aimed at helping them ease into life as research students as well as introducing them to key personnel in the School.

The programme consisted of several sessions designed to ensure a positive start to a research degree and to provide them with information to help individuals become effective and responsible research candidates.

Dean and Head of School Professor Mosa Moshabela welcomed the students emphasising the need for improving quality of their outputs. The day was held in response to the postgraduate students’ needs and challenges expressed at the 2017 Academic Monitoring and Support Symposium.

Academic Monitoring and Student Support Services (SSS) counsellor Mrs Wullie Thaver began the day with activities to build team cohesion and help students to get to know each other. She also gave a brief background on what SSS offers in the College.

Postgraduate Office Administrator Mrs Carol Dhanraj briefed students about postgraduate processes, procedures, rules, regulations and guidelines.

Academic Leader Research Dr Tivani Mashamba-Thompson gave guidance to students on ways to avoid supervision challenges and methods of handling unavoidable challenges, while Ms Thembelihle Dlungwane gave an overview of the research masters and PhD programme in the School.

Dr Khumbulani Hlungwane shared his PhD journey from the angle of being an employed student, Dr Delarise Mulqueeny shared hers from the point of view of a full-time student while Dr Yemisi Oyegbile spoke from the perspective of an international student.

Principal Programme Officer Ms Benina Mkhonto took the students through the REACHprinciples while the School’s librarian, Ms Nokulunga Faith Ziqubu, informed students about library services available to them. She stressed her willingness to assist and to do one-on-one consultations.

First-year MMedSci student and Senior Manager Health Information Systems at eThekwini Municipality Mr Thokozani Khubone said: ‘The induction was well organised covering many aspects required by both masters and PHD students. Before the Induction I was not really sure what was expected of me but I am now wiser and more informed thanks to the induction. Experiences shared by former students encouraged me enormously. I am now familiar with different resources at my disposal to enhance my research project. The way I will approach my work in future will be different and improved.’

The induction was followed by a seven-day proposal-writing workshop to help students wanting to start their research proposals early in the year as well as to improve the quality of their proposals. Most students found both the induction and the proposal writing very helpful.

On the last day of the workshop students presented an outline of their proposals.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini