Even from the start of his nursing career, Godfrey Katende, MSN, NP set his sights on transforming the nursing practice in his home country of Uganda. Through his practice and his teaching, Katende is blazing paths in Uganda to improve access to healthcare. He is earning his doctor of nursing practice degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and says he will stay in Uganda upon graduation. “They need me here,” he says.
With the help of his mother, an experienced surgical nurse, he started two private practices in Uganda, an experience that exposed him to the need for improved primary care to prevent communicable diseases.
He also realized his desire to influence nursing practice through training and education and joined the faculty of Makerere University in 2004. He earned his master of science in nursing degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2008, then returned to Uganda renewed in his determination to influence practice through education. “I realized that it was important for the nursing curriculum in Uganda to focus on the outcomes rather than the process,” Katende says, adding that he helped revise the curriculum at Makerere University and later in the entire country through his role on the National Council for Higher Education. “This extra role has allowed me to point out competency gaps for those institutions that have presented their curricula for accreditation.” He continues to teach at Makerere University.
At the same time, Katende’s clinical practice has evolved to emphasize evidence-based practice, with a focus on cardiovascular health and hyper-tension. That’s where his country needs him, he says, as these non-communicable diseases have a grave impact on the population. “I feel this is an area I need to explore in collaboration with my colleagues,” he explains.
His practice also helps him maintain his connection to that population. Change can be effected through education, he adds, but “for one to be relevant and responsive to his or her community problems, one must also stay in touch with the practice area where translation is relevant.”