Comparing Nursing Education in Two Countries

Political History and Development of Nursing education

A comparative study of the political history and development of nursing education in China and Kenya shows that the Western missionaries positively influenced the development of the nursing education systems under the different political systems of both countries. In Kenya, nursing education was developed alongside the traditional nursing education systems which existed before the advent of the Western missionaries (Xu, Xu & Zhang, 2000; Mule, 1986). In China, different institutions and individuals contributed to the establishment of different nursing schools, with examples including the Rockefeller Foundation which, in 1915, started the modern nursing schools, and Anna Wolf who founded the PMUC School of nursing, which was later reduced to a vocational training institution under the school restructuring program (Xu, Xu & Zhang, 2000). In Kenya, nursing schools were informal and evolved because of government involvement which led to the creation of institutions for offering in-service courses before nursing was formally offered as a course registered in 1952 (Mule, 1986).

Government and Nursing Organizations Influencing Nursing Education

China changed its nursing education system by introducing a restructuring program in all nursing schools in 1930 while in Kenyan, the nursing education system was implemented without any formal framework until the “Kenyan Registered Nursing Course” was introduced in 1952 (Xu, Xu & Zhang, 2000, Mule, 1986). In Kenya, the development of nursing education was facilitated by the support offered by doctors in the company of western missionaries who actively participated in training people through in-service courses (Mule, 1986). That was because the Kenyan traditional nursing methods could not provide medical solutions to conditions such as malaria and tropical ulcers.

Current System of Nursing Education

The current nursing education system in China begins with secondary nursing education programs which consist of government and vocational training programs while in Kenyan, nursing is offered in tertiary institutions which offer nursing courses including registered and enrolled nursing (Xu, Xu & Zhang, 2000, Mule, 1986). In China, traditional and “foreign language programs” are offered in different institutions, while in Kenya, the “foreign language programs” are offered in specialized training institutions.

Post Graduate (Masters) Education

In China, both traditional and foreign language nursing programs provide opportunities for post graduate training programs, which are regarded as elite courses (Xu, Xu & Zhang, 2000). In Kenya, nursing is offered to diploma and degree levels using specific curriculum contents (Xu, Xu & Zhang, 2000, Mule, 1986).


In conclusion, the political system in China was having a strong influence on the development of the current nursing education systems from the time the Western missionaries started nursing education in China. The western missionaries had a strong impact on the systematic development of nursing education in China. On the other hand, the nursing education system in Kenya was developed by the missionaries who contributed to the development of new nursing schools.

Reflection on Nursing Education

My reflection on the development of nursing education in both China and Kenya is that the western missionaries were the pioneers who led to the development of the current nursing education systems in both countries. The political system of China maintained the current nursing education systems alongside the traditional systems, while the political system of Kenya allowed for the integration of the western nursing education systems.


Mule, G.K. (198). Nursing Education in Kenya: Trends and Innovations. International Nursing Review, 33(3), 88-6.

Xu,Y., Xu, Z., Zhang, J. (2000). The Nursing Education System in the People’s Republic of China: evolution, structure, and reform. International Nursing Review, 47(4), 207-217.

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