Nursing crisis tsunami about to hit

Nursing crisis tsunami about to hit

Nursing crisis tsunami about to hit
2 SEP 2019

Changes in qualifications, ageing practitioners and National Health Insurance (NHI) on the horizon could mean we are looking at a healthcare future with increased services and improved technology, but no nurses.

Dr Sharon Vasuthevan, president of the Nursing Education Association and vice chairperson of the SA Nursing Council warns that a “nursing crisis tsunami” was about to hit, adding that whenever a change in nursing qualifications was introduced, it had resulted in less nurses being produced.

At present South Africa has only one nurse for every 202 patients. The 70,562 enrolled nurses and 63,368 enrolled nursing auxiliary groupings would not grow - because training for them was discontinued in June 2015. This left 59,673 professional nurses holding a four-year diploma or degree, 35,113 general nurses (two-year diploma) and 33,656 specialised nurses.

“That’s not a very large group for the services we wish to offer, and a big portion of the general nurses who came through the bridging programme have their own limitations.

“What distresses me the most is that 48% of our nurses are over 50,” she says. “We also don’t want nurses in our system who say they were born before technology came in, so they can’t do this or that."

A winning approach to staff excellence balanced labour costs, quality of care and clinical staff satisfaction.

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