SA nursing still plagued by many challenges

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pretoria - Despite being the backbone of healthcare systems around the world, nursing in South Africa continues to be plagued by many challenges, says Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.

Outlining his expectations on the outcome of the Nursing Summit to be held in Sandton next week, Motsoaledi noted that challenges including training, ethos and standards, professionalism, attitude and staffing norms continue to plague the profession.

Addressing the STOP TB Partnership in Washington, where he is currently attending a series of healthcare delivery meetings, Motsoaledi said together with the nursing profession, he has decided to convene the ground breaking summit to respond to the many challenges facing the country. 

"We believe in solutions by nurses themselves, while not abdicating our primary role of providing leadership in the health sector," he said.

Dubbed "CODESA of nursing in South Africa", the three-day summit, to run from 5 - 7 April 2011, will be attended by a range of stakeholders including retired nurses, student nurses, nurses from public and private sectors, nurses' unions, regulatory bodies such as SA Nursing Council, International Council of Nursing and World Health Organisation, among others.

During the summit, seven commissions will be established to deal with a number of key issues affecting nursing in South Africa.

Issues to be looked at by the commissions include nursing education and training, nursing practice, leadership, governance, policy and legislation, ethical and value system, planning, infrastructure, financing and resourcing nursing, creating an enabling environment for nursing, as well as the role of the nurse in the improvement of health outcomes. 

Feedback from the commissions and subsequent discussions will be consolidated into a National Nursing Compact and Roadmap, which will guide nursing in South Africa.

President Jacob Zuma is expected to open the summit with an address.