Nurse shortages and issues with the training of nurses have been making headlines in recent weeks, with some referring to a ‘nursing crisis’ in South Africa. After attending a recent conference hosted by the South African Nursing Council, Thabo Molelekwa dug deeper in search of clarity on where the bottlenecks are and what can be done about them.
In South Africa, a newly qualified professional nurse often has great difficulties when entering the clinical practice after completion of their studies. By applying a preceptorship model, newly qualified nurses may experience a positive transition period, improving their clinical competence, argues Warriodene Hansen.
Based on figures from the national Department of Health over 107 000 non-emergency or elective surgeries were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. But challenges in addressing surgical backlogs were there before COVID-19. Alicestine October asked some local experts how surgical care can be better coordinated in South Africa.
Elective surgery is often performed on injuries or for conditions considered less life-threatening and some patients can wait up to two years for their procedure, which will often be scheduled and then cancelled when someone with a more serious medical emergency takes their spot on the list. This takes a huge emotional and financial toll on these patients and their families. Alicestine October reports.
The headline-making persecution of paediatrician Dr Tim de Maayer is part of a wider trend whereby principled public sector healthcare workers are often abandoned to the whims of managers who are vindictive, incompetent, or both. Add the slow movement on South Africa’s healthcare worker policy, the poor management of the Health Professions Council, and the short shrift given to healthcare workers’ concerns about National Health Insurance, and the picture that emerges makes a mockery of government’s talk of valuing healthcare workers.
In 1947 the first black woman qualified as a doctor in South Africa. Her name was Mary Malahlela-Xakana. It took the country about 60 years after its first black male doctor started practicing for Malahlela-Xakana to don her stethoscope and practice medicine. Much, but not enough has changed since then, writes Alicestine October.
For Dr Yakub Essack, a GP in Gauteng, the long workdays have become even longer as GPs become a vital pillar for managing COVID-19 patients in their homes for as long as possible to free up hospital beds during Gauteng’s third wave. Ufrieda Ho reports.
A new government strategy, obtained by Spotlight and Maverick Citizen, estimates that billions of rands in additional investment is needed to improve staffing levels and equity across provinces by 2025.