Prof Welma Lubbe graduated in BSoc Sc (Nursing) from the University of the Free State in 1996. Thereafter she obtained her BCur (honours) in Midwifery and Neonatal Nursing Science (Cum Laude) in 2000 and her Nursing Education Diploma (Cum Laude) in 2003, both from the University of Stellenbosch. In 2004 Prof Lubbe obtained a M Tech in Nursing from the Technicon Pretoria (currently the Tshwane University of Technology) and in 2010 she obtained a PhD in Nursing from the North-West University.
Prof Lubbe worked in the clinical sector after completion of her Nursing degree as a midwife, specialist midwife and neonatal nurse. From 2002 to 2003 she developed and presented the midwifery modules of the B Tech in Nursing qualification at the prior Technicon Pretoria. Thereafter she returned to the clinical sector where she was working in her own private practice, Little Steps, for eight years. During this time her work included parenting and infant support and assessment, clinical work in the neonatal intensive care units, consultation for private nursing schools, and presenting of multi-disciplinary training in neonatal developmental care. She is often invited as guest lecturer at various universities, such as University of Pretoria (Communication pathology), Johannesburg and NWU (advanced midwives), Free State (medical specialists), and WITS (neonatal nurses), and were also invited to present multi-disciplinary training abroad in the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: King Fahad Hospital, Rihad. In 2010 Prof Lubbe were employed as part-time lecturer in the midwifery programme at the North-West University, School of Nursing Science and after obtaining her PhD in 2010 she were appointed full-time as senior lecturer at the School of Nursing Science (from September 2010).
Prof Welma Lubbe is currently employed as Associate Professor (since January 2017) in the School of Nursing Science, at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus as part of the midwifery team. In her teaching-learning role she is an innovator, self-starter and passionate role model for her students. She received an A-rating in the Prestige Institutional Teaching Excellence Award (ITEA) in 2013 and in 2017 received a commendation for the Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award (DTEA). In 2016 she was awarded a fellowship from the Academy of Nursing of South Africa for her contribution towards nursing.
Prof Lubbe is a well-integrated individual, who is also an excellent team-leader and is actively involved in focussed research. She delivered nine (9) master’s students since 2013 and is currently promotor for three Doctoral students expected to complete in 2018-20 respectively, one from WITS and one from UP, for which she was requested to be co-promotor due to her national and international standing on the topic of neurodevelopmental supportive care of the preterm infant.
Prof Lubbe was able to obtain a total of R923,000 funding over the period 2012-2015 for which she was the primary investigator for all the projects and R50,000 in student support during 2011. She received NRF-Thuthuka grants for three consecutive years (2013-2015) to the value of R843,000 and R80,000 in 2014, from Institutional Strategic funds for early career research development. With this funding she did not only developed the field of neonatal healthcare, with a specific focus on the neurodevelopmental supportive care of the preterm infant, but also aimed to build communities of practice and develop peers, students and other professionals and their professions who are linked with this field. Prof Lubbe initiated the development of the Masters of Health Sciences: Transdisciplinary Neonatal Health Promotion, which is currently in the ICAS application process. This qualification is primarily focussed on the research within the neonatal health promotion domain with a strong multi-disciplinary foundation.
Prof Lubbe is involved in the research units, INSINQ as well as CEN. She supervised post-graduate students in both units and also published in collaboration with them. She published 3x national accredited, 11x international accredited, 24x international peer-reviewed, non-accredited, 4x international peer reviewed submitted. Impact factors of up to 2.190, which is very high for the nursing profession. In addition she presented 30 national and 16 international conference posters and papers. Her research program is focussed on the implementation of neurodevelopmental supportive care of the newborn and preterm infant and she is involved with this implementation in at least five public hospitals and 30 neonatal intensive care units in the private sector.
Prof Lubbe is the short course programme manager for the School of Nursing Science and was instrumental in putting structures in place to optimise the short course development and registration process, provide the clinical community with training to suit their needs and ensure third stream income for the School. She is also the developer (since 2003) and presenter of the national sought after short course on neurodevelopmental supportive care of the preterm infant. This training is a well-known brand in all the hospitals, public and private, in South Africa.
education portfolio, since 2011 and she is the owner of Little Steps®, which is a parenting support organisation for parents with premature infants and this organisation is a well-known brand, both nationally and on an international level. She was the chairperson for the Midwives on Fire annual symposium held in the North-West province and was instrumental in growing this event to an annual event that is co-hosted by the Klerksdorp-Tshepong hospital complex and the North-West University, together with the Society of Midwives of South African and the South African Neonatal Nurses Association. Prof Lubbe is further the president of the South African Neonatal, Infant and Toddler Support Association (SANITSA) since 2004. SANITSA was ‘born’ to provide a multi-disciplinary support platform for healthcare professionals working in this field of practice.
Internationally, Prof Lubbe serves as South African representative on the Council of International Neonatal Nurses since 2010. She has been invited as the first member from Africa to serve on the Graven’s Developmental Care Consensus panel, since 2014 and is also the first member from outside Europe to be invited as member of the Separation and Closeness Experiences in the Neonatal Environment (SCENE) research group, since 2014. Prof Lubbe has been serving on the International Advisory Board of the Journal of Neonatal Nursing, since 2009. During 2009 and 2010 Prof Lubbe was the chairperson for the steering committee for Maternal and Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy, presented as an affiliated project between the North-West University, Johnson & Johnson corporate and Sigma Theta Tau International. During 2008 Prof Lubbe was invited to represent South Africa as neonatal clinical advisor at Draeger Medical in Germany.
Currently, Prof Lubbe is involved with translation of research into practice. She is the co-project lead for the STARFISH project which aims to improve neonatal, infant and under five child mortality. She is frequently invited as television and radio presenter, author and guest speaker at various public parenting forums, including national television and well known parenting magazines, such as Baba en Kleuter and Your Pregnancy. She is involved with international prematurity day on the 17th of November each year as prematurity expert and is often invited as guest speaker for large national organisations such as Baby Sense and the Childbirth Educators forum to be involved in national roadshows. In addition, Prof Lubbe advises as product specialist for South African companies involved with infant products and she is also involved with consulting for international pharmaceutical companies on neonatal and preterm infant parenting products and programmes. In collaboration with the Institute for Psychology and Wellbeing’s Care2Kids program (North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus), Prof Lubbe just became involved as part of the neonatal team from March 2016, which aims to establish parenting support, preterm infant in-hospital screening and infant follow-up assessment services. Her vision for the immediate future is to facilitate the implementation of neurodevelopmental supportive care to all NICU’s in South Africa, through her strong professional collaborative network and in parallel establish a center for preterm infant follow-up which can provide critical follow-up assessment services to the community, and at the same time provide valuable research data to determine trends in this population in South Africa and in turn improve their short- and long-term outcomes.
Based on her work in the field of neurodevelopmental supportive care of the preterm infant, Prof Lubbe is recognised as a leader in this field in South Africa. She was recently invited onto the neonatal community of practice of the LIFE Healthcare group as academic advisor. She serves on the board for the Neonatal Nurses Association of South Africa: