Doctor of Philosophy candidate
An accomplished nursing lecturer in his native Malawi, PhD student Rodwell Gundo came to AUT to further his skills for his academic career.
“Before I came to AUT, I worked as a lecturer at Kamuzu College of Nursing, the biggest nursing college in Malawi. One of my responsibilities was teaching nursing students both in class and at the hospital during their clinical placement. I wanted to widen my knowledge by pursuing a PhD to ensure we can offer our students the best possible nursing training.
“I came to New Zealand as a recipient of the competitive New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship for PhD studies. I had seen online that AUT’s Doctor of Philosophy fitted well with what I had been looking for. When I contacted AUT, the response was quick, the application process was clear and my supervisor was supportive even before I came to New Zealand. I just fell in love with AUT.”
Improving intensive care nursing training
For his doctoral research, Rodwell is developing a training programme for nurses in intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) settings in Malawi.
“These nurses care for critically ill patients who have actual or potential life-threatening conditions requiring technical or artificial life support. The combination of technology and critical illness creates an environment where nurses have to make complex decisions that impact on patients’ lives and their families.”
Currently there isn’t any formal intensive care nursing course or orientation resource for ICU and HDU nurses in Malawi, Rodwell says.
“I’m one of the few nurses in Malawi who were trained in intensive care nursing outside the country. To address this gap, my study explores the learning needs of nurses in ICUs and HDUs in Malawi, and I’ll then use these findings to develop an in-service training programme.
“Ultimately, this will improve the quality of intensive care nursing and patient outcomes in Malawi, and will contribute to the body of knowledge on intensive care nursing for developing countries like Malawi. In the absence of post-registration programmes in intensive care nursing, the findings will guide training institutions, policy makers and donors in the development of such programmes for the country.”
A cosmopolitan community
He would highly recommend postgraduate study at AUT to others, Rodwell says.
“In fact, I have already recommended AUT to many colleagues willing to study in New Zealand. I feel the environment is conducive for undergraduate and postgraduate study. In addition, New Zealand is a beautiful country and one of the safest places for international students in the world.
“I enjoyed the support I’ve received from my supervisors, the Scholarships Office and the International Centre. I think AUT has good supervision and support systems for postgraduate students compared to other universities.”
He has had many highlights throughout his studies, Rodwell says.
“I travelled to Brazil for an international conference. I received the 2018 Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) Nursing Paper Award at the ANZICS conference. I also enjoyed attending the workshops organised by the Graduate Research School and participating in the AUT Three Minute Thesis Competition. Last but not least, I loved interacting with researchers from different parts of the world because AUT is such a cosmopolitan community.”