The meaning of “capacity building” for the nurse workforce in sub-Saharan Africa: An integrative review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: “Capacity building” is an international development strategy which receives billions of dollars of investment annually and is utilized by major development agencies globally. However, there is a lack of consensus around what “capacity building” or even “capacity” itself, means. Nurses are the frequent target of capacity building programming in sub-Saharan Africa as they provide the majority of healthcare in that region. Objectives: This study explored how “capacity” was conceptualized and operationalized by capacity building practitioners working in sub-Saharan Africa to develop its nursing workforce, and to assess Hilderband and Grindle's (1996) “Dimensions of Capacity” model was for fit with “capacity's” definition in the field. Design: An integrative review of the literature using systematic search criteria. Data sources searched included: PubMed, the Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health Literature Plus, the Excerpt Medica Database, and Web of Science. Review methods: This review utilized conventional content analysis to assess how capacity building practitioners working in sub-Saharan Africa utilize the term “capacity” in the nursing context. Content analysis was conducted separately for how capacity building practitioners described “capacity” versus how their programs operationalized it. Identified themes were then assessed for fit with Hilderband and Grindle's (1996) “Dimensions of Capacity” model. Results: Analysis showed primary themes for conceptualization of capacity building of nurses by practitioners included: human resources for health, particularly pre- and post- nursing licensure training, and human (nursing) resource retention. Other themes included: management, health expenditure, and physical resources. There are several commonly used metrics for human resources for health, and a few for health expenditures, but none for management or physical resources. Overlapping themes of operationalization include: number of healthcare workers, post-licensure training, and physical resources. The Hilderband and Grindle (1996) model was a strong fit with how capacity is defined by practitioners working on nursing workforce issues in sub-Saharan Africa. If overall significant differences between conceptualization and operationalization emerged, as the reader I want to know what these differences were. Conclusions: This review indicates there is significant informal consensus on the definition of “capacity” and that the Hilderbrand and Grindle (1996) framework is a good representation of that consensus. This framework could be utilized by capacity building practitioners and researchers as those groups plan, execute, and evaluate nursing capacity building programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-161
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Volume86
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Capacity building/methods
  • Developing countries
  • Education
  • Health manpower
  • Nursing
  • Rwanda
  • South Africa
  • Staff
  • Uganda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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