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Comparison of Health Care Systems in Kenya and China

In Kenya, professional nursing can be traced back to the arrival of missionaries in the early 19th century (Klopper & Uys, 2013). Before the year 1950, Kenyan nursing education was carried out in the absence of an official framework (Mule, 1986). During the time, some of Kenya’s health care institutions offered in-service training to physicians. The physicians were trained to work under the supervision of professional health care personnel from Britain.

Like in Kenya, professional nursing in China did not exist until the late 19th century. When missionaries arrived in the Republic of China, professional nursing emerged in the western parts of the country. During the 20th century, nursing education was influenced by political systems. For instance, during the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s, several nursing schools were shut down (Xiao, 2010). Today, the country has over 1.19 million nurses.

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Government and Nursing Organizations Influencing Nursing Education: Comparison of Kenya and China

Ever since the establishment of nursing educational establishments in Kenya, several measures have been put in place by the government to enhance nursing education in the country. In the year 1952, the Examination Subcommittee offered its first assessment in Kenya (Klopper & Uys, 2013). The assessment was offered to assistant nurses with grades I and II. In the year 1983, the Nurses Act was legislated leading to the formation of the Nursing Council of Kenya.

In China, the Chinese Nursing Association (CNA) acts as the top professional entity overseeing and enhancing nursing education (Xiao, 2010). The association was formed in the year 1909. After completing their studies, nursing students from both programs are mandated to undertake the state registered nurse examination before being certified.

Current System of Nursing Education: Comparison of Kenya and China

After the 1980s, Kenya’s population increased tremendously (Mule, 1986). Because of this, the need for health care personnel also rose. In response, the government provided the Kenya Registered Community Health Nurse schooling. The training was established in the year 1987 and was aimed at preparing nursing personnel who could meet the country’s health care demands. The emergence of HIV/AIDS and another terminal disease in the early 1990s saw the Nursing Council of Kenya introduce bachelor courses for nurses (Mule, 1986). By the year 2013, 18 institutions had been approved to offer nursing courses in Kenya (Mule, 1986). As such, Kenyan nurses can train under certificate, diploma, undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. The diploma program comprises a three-year course, whereas the undergraduate program comprises of 4-year course (Klopper & Uys, 2013). Based on the above analysis, it should be noted that Kenya has four education systems like the USA.

Now, nurses in China are trained for three years in heath school before earning a diploma certificate. Notably, a majority of the students join these schools after completing their junior high school studies. In total, these students graduate over forty thousand nurses annually. Now, there are over 530 institutions offering nursing courses across China (Xiao, 2010). From the year the 1980s, university diploma courses have been available for nursing students in China. To date, 99 such programs exist across the country. Nursing degree programs are offered in 42 Chinese universities. Like in Kenya, in China this is the highest level of academic qualification in nursing. Based on the above analysis, it should be noted that China has three educational systems of nursing, unlike in the USA.

Post-Graduate (Masters) Education: Comparison of Kenya and China

Kenya offers three master’s programs in nursing. The programs are offered at the University of Nairobi, Moi University, and the University of East Africa, Baratheon (Klopper & Uys, 2013).

In China, nursing postgraduate education programs are not fully developed. The first program was initiated by Beijing Medical University during the early 1990s (Xiao, 2010). By the year 2000, the number of such programs had become seven. To be admitted into these master programs, one must undertake written examinations, get clinical practical experience, and demonstrate adequate clinical skills. The program takes 3 years to complete.

Reflections on Nursing Education in Kenya and China

From my analysis of nursing education in both countries, I was surprised to note that the number of students enrolling in nurse courses was still very low compared to the population growth rate of the two countries. I believe that more students should be encouraged to join nursing courses to increase the number of nurses in the two countries. It was interesting to find out that in a country such as China, which has over a billion million population, only 300 nurses graduate from postgraduate programs annually.


Klopper, H., & Uys, L. R. (2013). The state of nursing and nursing education in Africa: a country-by-country review. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International.

Mule, G. (1986). Nursing Education In Kenya: Trends And Innovation. International Nursing Journal33(3), 83-87.

Xiao, L. D. (2010). Continuing nursing education policy in China and its impact on health equity. Nursing Inquiry17(3), 208-220.