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Strategic partner of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan in providing consultation for the Nursing Education Reform

Jamk has had a major impact in developing nursing and nursing education in Kazakhstan as a strategic partner of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Since 2012, Jamk has implemented two (2) large-scale World Bank -funded projects (total volume of 2.1 MEUR), five (5) EU-funded projects, two (2) Made-to-Order Master’s Degree Education Programmes, a UNICEF-funded project, and bilateral contracts with hospitals, medical centres, and the PHC sector (24), and educational institutions (16) in Kazakhstan.


The contribution of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) to advances in nursing and nursing education in Kazakhstan is the result of extensive work carried out by more than 30 Finnish experts. As a strategic partner of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Jamk has acted as the leading Finnish UAS in this development work.  

First stage of collaboration - updating the Kazakhstani educational standard for nursing as a specialization

Jamk’s cooperation with the Ministry of Healthcare (MoH) started in 2012 after representatives from Jamk visited Kazakhstan as part of a delegation from the Ministry of European Affairs and Foreign Trade of Finland. The first stage of the collaboration included updating the Kazakhstani educational standard for nursing as a specialization. JAMK´s role was to facilitate the competence-based curricula reform and to support the development of training to correspond to the needs of developing the primary healthcare system in Kazakhstan. The course for health promotion was added to the educational standard and the competence descriptions were renewed to correspond the international standard.

This led to a request from the Minister of Health to support the designing of the Comprehensive Plan of Nursing Care Development in the Republic of Kazakhstan up to 2020. The goal of the nursing reform was to align Kazakhstan’s nursing care system with the international level in order to improve the quality, efficiency, and safety of the Public Health System.

KZ partnership in nursing care development and improvement

The second stage of the collaboration took place between March 2014 and June 2015 when the World Bank funded project “KZ partnership in nursing care development and improvement” led by JAMK in a consortium with Laurea, Lahti and Häme universities of Applied sciences was launched. The goal was to provide technical and methodological assistance to the MoH in nursing care development and improvement. Three (3) key tasks were implemented, and the following objectives achieved:

  • Educational program development of applied Bachelor program in “Nursing”, to support the nursing educators in Medical Colleges to build up a competence-based nursing degree program, which is compliant with international standards.
  • Capacity building of medical colleges' faculty staff, to focus on defining and developing the core competencies of faculty staff.
  • Study of the professional competencies of graduates of medical colleges and universities in “Nursing”, to design a tool for the evaluation of competences.

During the curricula reform, several trainings for the teaching staff were implemented, and six (6) medical colleges started the nursing education on EQF level 5 with the new competence-based curricula that fulfils the EU-directive 2013/55/EU on the recognition of professional qualifications’ paragraphs on nursing education in autumn 2015.

Roadmap to modernize nursing education system in the Republic of Kazakhstan

The following step was the development of the “Roadmap to modernize nursing education system in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2016-2020" in cooperation with the Ministry of Healthcare. A specific example of the close cooperation is the strategic partnership in healthcare education development between the Ministry of Healthcare (MoH) of the Republic of Kazakhstan and JAMK Universities of Applied Science for the period of 2016-2019.

Modernization of education system for nurses

In 2017, a Contract for Consulting Services was signed between the Ministry of Healthcare and JAMK concerning a World Bank funded project “Modernization of education system for nurses” in consortium with Häme and LAB (formerly Lahti) University of Applied Sciences. In 2020, an Amendment was signed to continue the work for another year with two additional tasks. The project run for two and a half years (2017-2020) covering all levels of nursing education.

In total five (5) key tasks were implemented, and the objectives achieved:

1. Improvement of educational system of nursing specialists

  • Assessment of medical colleges for reorganizing into higher medical colleges (outcome: 61 assessed colleges, in each region a higher medical college that produces Applied bachelor nurses)
  • Recommendations for nursing documentation system
  • Creation of a new nursing management system
  • Recommendations for a professional register for nurses
  • Recommendations of books for nursing education

2. Improvement of academic programs for nursing specialists

  • Revision of educational programs on all levels of nursing education (outcome: State Educational standards of vocational and professional training, applied and academic bachelor, master’s in nursing, PhD in Nursing Science)
  • Implementation of joint Kazakh-Finnish dual-diploma Master´s program in nursing (outcome: 39 nursing teachers)
  • Introduction of pre-PhD program in Nursing care specialty in the Medical University Astana JSC base (outcome: 5 candidates for PhD program; launched PhD education in Nursing Science in 2020 with 4 students at three medical universities)

3. Improvement of professional environment for nursing specialists

  • Adaptation, development, and implementation of nursing clinical guidelines (outcome: two manuals and a functioning process for adapting guidelines, 15 adapted nursing clinical guidelines)
  • Development of capacity building programs for nurses and training national trainers (outcome: 83 national trainers)

4. Further institutionalization of clinical training of nursing professionals

  • Development and implementation of evaluation criteria for clinic bases
  • Training of national trainers for building a mentorship program at clinic bases (outcome: 107 national mentor trainers)

5. Development of educational programs for capacity building of teachers and nurses

  • Development and implementation of further education and capacity building programs for practicing nurses and nursing teachers (outcome: 170 trained nurses and teachers)

Master’s degree program in nursing

In 2017, Jamk also launched a master’s degree program in nursing in Kazakhstan as the first operator from Finland. Jamk signed a contract with JSC “Kazakh Medical University of Continuing Education” (KazMUCE) on establishing a Jointly Implemented Two Degree Programme, allowing students of the Master´s Degree Program in Nursing at KazMUCE to achieve a Master of Health Care, Degree Programme in «Advanced Nursing Practice» (90 ECTS) at Jamk. Since autumn 2017, two groups with 20 students each have started their studies in the program. Altogether 49 graduates serve now as teachers in medical universities and colleges to implement the new State Educational Standard and as crucial capacity reserve for the provision of internationally comparable nursing education.

Valuable partnership agreements with UNICEF

In addition, during the years of cooperation, valuable partnership agreements were made with UNICEF, hospitals and healthcare organizations and medical colleges. To support the UNICEF endeavours in developing the Primary health care, especially in the area of improving the maternity health care, the project Home visiting and patronage system enhancement through joint development of the State Educational Standards for midwife and nurse training programs in Kazakhstan was implemented in 2016. It ensured that all needed competencies were included in the reform of nursing state educational standards.

From the request of University Medical Center, the leading specialized national healthcare provider in Kazakhstan, several developmental projects have been implemented during 2016-2020 concerning “The implementation of International Standards in the Management of Nursing Education”, "Methodology of the clinical nursing guidelines development"; “Developing nurses’ job descriptions and implementation of job description of extended practice nurse in the National Research Center for Maternal and Child Health”, and “Improving patient-centred care through nursing research in UMC”.

In addition, an agreement and collaboration with the Eurasian Centre for Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Education and Healthcare (ECAQA), Kazakhstan was launched in 2018.

Healthcare sector development since 2012

By 2021, the healthcare sector development has included around 90 one-week trainings (category-rewarding professional development course) with over 1900 participating teachers, directors, and experts (incl. World Bank funded projects). The majority of all Consortium activities have been implemented in Kazakhstan. The Master Classes have been targeted at persons who are responsible for developing the nursing education as well as at professionals working in health care and nursing practice.

Customer feedback - Highly competent teachers

Our individual students and training participants are especially satisfied with our highly competent teachers: 

(The training progressed) from simple to complex in accessible language and specifically on the topic.”
-Feedback from a participant of an online Master Class

I was glad you were my teacher. You gave me confidence in myself.
-Feedback from a student in the KZ-FIN Jointly Implemented Master´s Degree Programme

More information

Johanna Heikkilä

Johtava asiantuntija, Chief Specialist
HYVI T&K, Research and Development
Hyvinvointi, School of Health and Social Studies