Students can be cure for nursing staff shortage

2018-07-11 06:00
Some of the students who started their training in basic nursing. With them are Fufe Makatong (MEC for Health in the Northern Cape; wearing beige, in the middle) with Rene Solomon (in red) and Dr Herman Willemse (acting principal of the college).Photo: Supplied

Some of the students who started their training in basic nursing. With them are Fufe Makatong (MEC for Health in the Northern Cape; wearing beige, in the middle) with Rene Solomon (in red) and Dr Herman Willemse (acting principal of the college).Photo: Supplied

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At least 90 students commenced training to obtain a diploma in Nursing with qualifications like Midwifery, Community Nursing and Mental Health Nursing on Monday, 2 July.

The students were treated to a welcoming ceremony held at the Office of the MEC for Health, Fufe Makatong, in Kimberley. They were accompanied by with 17 lecturers who will assist them with clinical support.

The ceremony was held as part of Makatong’s promise to partner with the Health and Welfare Seta (HWSETA), Kumba Mine, the John Taolo Gaetsewe (JTG) Trust and Sioc Com­munity Development Trust to support these Nursing students in completing their four years of study at the Henrietta Stockdale Nursing College.

One of the students, Rene Solomon from Vanzylsrus, said she appreciated the efforts made by the department to give young people opportunities in the field of nursing, especially those who come from a poor background.

Feeling honoured to be granted the opportunity by the department, she promised to make the best of it.

“Nursing has always been my passion, because I love working with people. I am very grateful for this opportunity and excited to embark on this new journey,” said Solomon.

The South African Nursing Council (SANC) predicts that a mere 1,7% of nurses in the country are from the Northern Cape.

That, according to the council, represents 3 780 of registered nurses, out of the 220 000 nurses of all categories nationwide.

“Our department currently employs about 1 546 professional nurses, 237 staff nurses and 859 nursing assistants, amounting to 2 642 nurses. That is not sufficient to be responsive to the needs of our communities,” admitted Makatong.

She acknowledge that the province had a nursing cadre that was possibly due to retire soon.

She continued to commit towards training and developing nurses through the Henrietta Stockdale Nursing College on an annual basis, while the department accelerated the plans to establish satellite campuses at the Tshwaragano, Dr Harry Surtie and De Aar Hospitals, awaiting accreditation by the (SANC).

“We had to be deliberate to ensure that we began to address the challenges that we faced as a province, regarding the shortage of nurses at our facilities. This is basically why we had to increase the numbers.

“We will have another intake in January 2019.

“We are at this point still envisaging sticking to 60, but we are working on plans to see if we cannot sustain 90,” Makatong promised.

The department reportedly undertook a workshop on the Workload Indicators for Staffing Norms (WISN) to identify needs to address the shortage of approximately 1 700 nursing staff in the province.

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