MEC highlights need for more nurses

2017-11-01 06:01
The MEC for Health in the Northern Cape, Lebogang Motlhaping, congratulated the 159 nursing graduates of the Henrietta Stockdale College at the Mitta Seperepere Convention Centre on Friday, 20 October.Photo: Supplied

The MEC for Health in the Northern Cape, Lebogang Motlhaping, congratulated the 159 nursing graduates of the Henrietta Stockdale College at the Mitta Seperepere Convention Centre on Friday, 20 October.Photo: Supplied

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The ratio between nurses who qualify at the Henrietta Stockdale College and the demand of health care for the current population is reported to remain skewed.

This was highlighted by the MEC for Health in the Northern Cape, Lebogang Motlhaping, while congratulating the 159 nursing graduates at the Mitta Seperepere Convention Centre on Friday, 20 October.

Motlhaping stressed the fact indicated by statistics that more nurses need to be trained and that the capacity of the nursing college needs to be developed to such a level that it will have the accolades of a proper tertiary education institution.

Awards were handed over to honour nursing pioneers who trained or played a role in the development of nursing in the province.

Furthermore, trophies and certificates were awarded to some of the nursing students for a variety of achievements. Two students who had passed away before graduation received posthumous awards.

The highlight of the graduation was the pledge of service, which is taken by nurses to publicly declare their commitment to giving health care.

Graduates were given recognition on various programmes, such as a diploma in Nursing (which is a four-year comprehensive programme, including one year in midwifery), a diploma in Nursing (which is a bridging course for a staff nurse to qualify as a professional nurse) and a one-year programme to qualify as an auxiliary nurse.

Led by Motlhaping, the ceremony was graced by several accompanying dignitaries, including representatives of the University of the Free State as the affiliated university for the Henrietta Stockdale Nursing College.

The graduates are currently serving in various employment posts in nursing throughout the province.

According to the media liaison officer of the MEC for Health, Lebogang Majaha, the strategy in recruitment is of such a nature that student nurse candidates be returned to areas of recruitment to deliver a service as a professional nurse once they have qualified.

The MEC said, according to the Nursing Council, that out of the 220 000 registered nurses practising in different categories, about 3 780 are from the Northern Cape.

“From 2010-’15, we have trained 176 nurses as regi­s­tered nurses, enrolled nurses and enrolled nursing auxiliaries,” he added.

He admitted that retirement, resignation and the migration of health care workers is inevitable for any workforce.

Motlhaping promised to fast-track the finalisation of the recognition of the prior learning policy to create career paths for staff and improve retention and growth in the nursing workforce.

“These policies need to be unpacked in a way that the learning environment becomes optimal and allows a person to progress and qualify as a professional nurse at the end of his or her four years of study.”

Five universities and training institutions are reported to have committed themselves to helping the department cover gaps in in-service and post- basic education.

The MEC in closing urged the graduates to not stop studying, because health is a dynamic and ever-changing environment, and to remain at the forefront of health care by ensuring their skills and knowledge keep up with current developments.

He also encouraged them to plough back into their communities.

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