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Nurses Face Becoming Extinct

Filed in Nursing News by on February 2, 2016

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Nurses Face Becoming Extinct. Nursing standards at public health care facilities have reached unacceptably low levels – so much so that patients search for treatment on the internet and tell nurses how they should be treated. Nursing practitioners who attended a prayer service for Pretoria nurses heard that the profession was at risk of becoming extinct if they did not go back to the basics.

Tiny Magano, guest speaker as well as nurse and chief executive of Jubilee District Hospital also told them the dress code for nurses was no longer appetising like before. “It is no longer attractive,” she said. Magano said a lot had gone wrong within the nursing practice. “We need to bring back the basics and nurse properly,” she said. “Nurses seemed not to know what the code of conduct for the practice entailed, nor what was expected of them. Nursing will require a serious change in attitude if it is to maintain its status as the most noble profession on Earth.”

Magano was addressing nurses, nursing managers and community service nurses during the prayer service held at the Temba Community Baptist Church in Hammanskraal on Sunday.

The aim of the event, convened by the Tshwane District Health cluster, was to identify the challenges faced by nurses and look at ways to repair and improve the image of the profession. The nurses used the opportunity to motivate each other and share the skills and knowledge of their trade. Candles were lit and the nurse’s pledge recited as the practitioners reminded themselves of the very basics of nursing. These include providing health care for everyone, regardless of their age, race or background.

Magano said threats such as the burden of disease, the legal and political environment and a lack of respect for their seniors pointed to a profession that desperately needed to clean up its image. “We need to remember who we are; we need to rededicate ourselves,” the Jubilee boss said.

The profession was inundated with challenges and changes, and flexibility to those was key, Magano explained.

“Technology is one area where we need to sharpen our skills and continuously increase our knowledge base,” she emphasised. “Patients Google treatment and tell you how you could have treated them. As a nurse, how do we use Google to counter that?”

Magano told of the embarrassment of a patient telling a doctor how they should have treated him. “This should be embarrassing because that information is available on Google,” she said.

Patients, she told the nurses, had become aware of their rights and thus increased their demands on nurses, who in turn had to up their game to meet the expectations.

“They complain of services provided, but do we inform them of their rights and responsibilities so that they know what to expect from a public health institution? The patients have to be informed of the difference between Jubilee District Hospital and Steve Biko Hospital, which is a tertiary hospital. In order to know this, they have to be informed.”

Magano reminded nurses of the importance of discipline, which she said was the overarching factor which held nursing together over the centuries. The loss of discipline was a sad moment in the profession and had affected the standards.

She said what was happening these days, with nurses wearing skimpy outfits which showed off their midriff, had been foretold by seniors years ago.

“What happened to the red and white, starchy white and pillow white which attracted people to nurses?” Magano asked.

The pride in the uniform was gradually fading, as nursing managers were no longer ensuring that it was worn properly.

The lack of discipline reared its ugly head when junior nurses failed to respect and recognise their seniors. “The language used in health institutions has also changed,” she said. “By allowing this to continue unabated, we are killing this noble profession.”

It had to be back to basics if nursing was to be saved, she said. Nurses were the heartbeat of health care services and should never forget that, according to Magano.

Nursing sister Patricia Mothupi appealed to nurses to strive towards reaching the highest levels of promoting life and integrity.

“And we need each other to do that,” she said. “We cannot afford to lose our ability to co-operate and co-ordinate and adhere to the strict levels of discipline associated with this profession.”



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