DENOSA Eastern Cape to lead nurses’ march to provincial health offices in Bhisho ...

    Media statement  
    Friday, 5 February 2016 
    The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Eastern Cape will be leading a march by nurses of the province to the provincial department of health office in Bhisho on 18 February to hand over a memorandum of demands in improving the health services in the provinces’ facilities and to object to the Department’s plan to further reduce nurses in facilities. 
    DENOSA held a meeting of all its shop stewards in the province who represent nurses in the facilities on 28 January 2016 and resolved that the only remaining avenue is for nurses and students to hold a march to the department. DENOSA is appalled by the working conditions of nurses and other health workers and the incompetence of the department in dealing with urgent nursing matters in the province. 
    “Nurses of Eastern Cape are making headlines for all the wrong reasons. It is reported daily that nurses commit professional misconduct and no one cares to know the root causes of this. DENOSA has done thorough investigation and concluded that it is wrong and misleading to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of nurses about these incidents. The working conditions are so bad to such that nurses become prone to committing the professional misconducts,” says DENOSA Acting Provincial Secretary in Eastern Cape, Khaya Sodidi. 
    The department had failed dismally in addressing the working conditions of nurses. The chronic shortage of staff and working equipment remain unattended and this compromises the quality of nursing care to patients. The nurses are working under dire conditions which expose them to medico-legal hazards. Once there is a patient incident, the department moves swiftly to discipline a nurse, disregarding the plight that nurses are facing. DENOSA is condemning in the strongest terms the negligence and bad behaviour by those few nurses who disobey the Nurses’ Pledge in serving the patients. 
    But the fact remains that due to severe shortage of staff, nurses work beyond their capacity and they become exhausted which leads to patient incidents.  
    The poor nursing education is also contributing to the patient incidents. The nursing education has deteriorated over the years. The infrastructure of the colleges is so poor that students are unable to focus fully on their studies. Students today are more worried about accommodation than focusing on their studies due to poor or non-existence of nurses’ home. The students are forced to rent outside hospitals, making them easy targets to thugs and exploitation. This is surely affecting the academic performance of the students negatively. After completion of the course, students get allocated to various health institutions to do community service for a year without any supporting programme. Due to shortage of staff, these community service practitioners are left alone to run the healthcare services as inexperienced as they are. They lack proper guidance in order to make them competent nurses. This surely, contributes to the patient incidents during their professional career
    While the health institutions are faced with the shortage of staff, some managers force nurses to carry out non-nursing duties that are supposed to be done by the support staff. The nurses are forced to sweep and mop, dish out for patients and become porters. Some institutions are forcing midwives that are not trained to do theatre procedures to scrub for caesarian sections. Nurses are bearing the brunt of the shortage of staff and there are no signs that the department is willing to address this any time soon. It has become a norm that one midwife looks after four mothers that are in progressive labour which results to poor management of the mothers and that may result to incidents. The department is refusing to release nurses to go and further their studies in order to improve their nursing skills due to shortage of staff.
    “The relationship between the Department and nurses has reached an all-time low level. The department created a social distance by unilaterally implementing policies that have adverse effects to nurses without consulting them. The nursing managers [institutional] are also complaining that most of the big decisions are imposed on them and those who dare to challenge these decisions are easily targeted for victimization. The issue at hand now is the Migration Plan that goes with Review of Organogram. While DENOSA is complaining that there was no consultation on this organogram, the department is arrogantly continuing to implement it. Senior nursing managers are complaining that this organogram is not addressing the shortage of staff but it is rather reducing the already lean current staff,” explains Sodidi.
    This means that once this organogram is fully implemented, we will see less nurses being employed while the rate of burden of diseases is escalating at an alarming rate. It is therefore impossible to expect nurses to perform optimally under these conditions. The department is not only undermining the collective agreements it signed with organised labour, but it is also defiant in implementing the decisions taken by Health Portfolio Committee in addressing some of the challenges faced by the health institutions. So we are dealing with arrogant senior managers and we are therefore calling for national department of health to intervene and put the province under administration, section 100, for the sake of patients and community members.   
    Issued By Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) Eastern Cape
    For more information, contact:
    Khaya Sodidi, Acting Provincial Secretary
    Mobile: 082 775 7734
    Land Line: 041 484 7323/4
    Facebook: DENOSA Eastern Cape

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    DENOSA encourages nurses to partake in the nurses’ conference to highlight their working conditions, using ...

    Press Release 


    Wednesday, 27 January 2016 




    The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) encourages all practicing nurses, managers, leaders and nursing academics in the country to attend the upcoming 3rd South African Nurses’ Conference to be held at Birchwood Hotel in Benoni from 24 to 26 February 2016, under the theme: “Together we can strengthen nursing theory and the practice landscape.” 


    The conference will provide an ample opportunity to all those in the nursing profession to present their academic abstracts on subject matters that aim to address health-related challenges, and share their varied experiences of the facility conditions which prevents them from becoming ideal facilities that serve communities optimally.    


    The conference will host discussions under five tracks, namely:  

    • Advancing a Holistic Nursing Practice

    • Investingin Nursing: The Human Capital in health

    • Contemporary Nursing Issues

    • The Threshing floor: Teaching and Learning

    •  Students voice as the rising nurse leaders  

    Hosted bi-annually by DENOSA Professional Institute (DPI), which looks at the professional development of nurses in the country, this year’s conference is held under an environment where nurses and health practitioners experience severe staff shortages, improper space and environment for student nurses at clinical settings. The conference will also look at nursing education and its developments, with a presentation on the transition of nursing to higher education by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).


    Evaluating comprehensive and holistic nursing practice and how it can be enhanced further will take centre stage at the conference, says DENOSA Acting General Secretary, Madithapo Masemola.     


    “This is one of the rare opportunities for nurse practitioners, managers, leaders and academics to gather under one roof to thrash out grey areas that take back the profession. As this opportunity comes once every two years, we urge all those in the nursing profession to be part of it,” she says.   

    The conference set-up is such that on the first day in the main hall, nurses directly pose questions to the relevant departments who often represented by ministers. Nurses are able to get this feedback and provide to their subordinates in clinical settings and different institutions they are based at.   


    “Nurses in the country are still committed to the course of healing the nation, and any comprehensive and holistic method that enriches this is most welcome for the conference to welcome and endorse if possible. But the reality is that challenges in the facilities overshadow this commitment which are not visible in the face of community members and patients. Maybe as the profession we are not talking about them and sharing them with community members enough. This conference aims to do just that,” adds Masemola.


    Interested nurses can contact Peggy Motswatswa at DENOSA Professional Institute for more information on 012 343 2315 or visit the conference website:



    Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)

    For more information, contact:

    Madithapo Masemola, DENOSA Acting General Secretary

    Mobile: 079 875 2663

    Wanda Mlotshwa, Head of DENOSA Professional Institute (DPI)

    Mobile: 083 938 4942

    Tel: 012 343 2315 

    Facebook: DENOSA National Page 

    Twitter: @DENOSAORG

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    DENOSA Provincial Learner Movement Free State disturbed by Delaying of nurses from doing Community Service...

    Media statement 

    7th January 2015

    The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa Provincial Learner Movement (DENOSA PLM) in Free State is sad to report that once again the Free State Department of Health (FSDOH) has delayed students who have just completed their studies from doing their community service until they appear on the E-register of South African Nursing Council (SANC)  showing that they are registered as Community Service Professional Nurses. 

    Community service for students who have completed their 4 years programme Diploma in General Nursing (Psychiatry, Community Nursing and midwifery) is a prerequisite of the Department of Health for a student to be registered as a Nursing Practitioner and it has to be done for a year.  Community Service is included in the Nursing act 33 of 2005. According to the Act, one must just be registered with the South African Nursing Council (SANC) in order to do Community Service which can be proven by a receipt from SANC, which is what is happening in 8 provinces in South Africa.

    There is a huge shortage of nurses particularly in the Free State where we have seen the mortality rate increase due to this shortage, yet there is an output of about 150 professional nurses that are trained using the tax payers’ money but they are not able to serve communities because the department has decided to delay these students from doing their community service.

    Before 2013, the Free State Department of Health did not delay students from doing community service because of certificates from South African Nursing Council.   This problem started in 2013 where students were told that they are not going to do their community service until they receive their certificates from SANC. This instruction was contained in Circular 57 of 2013. This was however reversed by Circular 2 of 2014 and students were able to do their community service but those who completed their studies in June 2014 were delayed by the department citing that they must be possession of certificates. 

    In 2015 the FSDOH amended their circular stating that students must just appear on the E-register of SANC, which is still the same as having a certificate in hand. 


    The Free State Department of Health however knows that SANC is very slow in processing the documents sent to it by different Nursing Education institutions. SANC always undertakes that students will receive their certificates between 6-8 weeks but we have seen that this is not practised. It usually takes up to 6 months before students can receive their certificates, meaning that no Community Service Professional Nurse will be able to serve the Free State community without a certificate from SANC.  

    As DENOSA Students' Movement in Free State we say that SANC must be decentralised because its centralisation has proved to be ineffective in providing services to the nurses in South Africa. SANC must establish provincial offices in order to provide effective and efficient services to Nursing and communities. 

    DENOSA in Free State tasked itself to meet with the MEC and HOD  to resolve this community service issue speedily. DENOSA PLM Free State pledges its support to Community Service Professional Nurses. We will support them through thick and thin and we will make sure that this matter is resolved even if it means mobilising all nurses, nursing students and community members to rally behind them and go to the streets because we know that this is the only language that FSDOH knows. 

    In conclusion, an injury to one nurse is an injury to all nurses and community members who need health service urgently. We will never allow to be victimised by people who do not seem to realise the importance of nurses in our communities. 

    Issued by DENOSA Provincial Learner Movement in Free State

    For more information, contact: 

    GIFT MNYAMANE, DENOSA Provincial Learner Movement Secretary 

    Mobile: 083 567 1556

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    National changes in nursing training: South African perspectives 2015...

    Dr. Respect Mondli Miya,(D.Lit et Phil)

    Senior Lecturer: Psychiatry at Durban University of Technology, Department of Nursing Science


    Nursing is a career of love rooted in rich and fertile soil governed by caring ideologies and philosophies. Individuals within the profession have strong and inexplicable desires to serve and preserve humanity at all cost. The nursing profession drives the health care system and is forever in the forefront of preventing, promoting and management of various diseases.  Nurses have always been there and have survived trials and tribulations. Nursing demands not only the brain for cognitive purposes but a humble heart, selflessness in daily duty execution. An individual without passion for the sick will never survive a minute of nursing’s demanding tasks.

    Nursing novices are professionally socialized and groomed on their first day of training. Noble traditions of nursing are gradually unpacked and monitored up to graduation to enhance relevance and dignity of nursing profession. Nursing demands the utmost respect for humanity even after death itself. Most professions have minimum set of working hours yet nursing philosophy calls and promotes dedication beyond duty. Nursing is a way of living not just mere qualification written on papers but lived and experienced charisma. 

    Historically, nursing was viewed as a religious vocation and was predominantly religious in nature which explains chapels, and meditation designated facilities utilized for prayers before commencing daily duties in old hospitals. Nursing training in South Africa before 1976 was hospital-based hence the notion of viewing nursing as a “hands-on” career has been accepted nationally and acknowledged by most prolific nursing scholars who remain sceptical to have nursing pitched at a degree level and offered in higher training of education in South Africa.   

    Such training exposed and subjected nurses to poor recognition as a career.  Nurses were abused and viewed as medical officers’ hand maids who were good for nothing but to offer a bed pan, bathing the sick, and carry orders as prescribed without being objective. The training at that time was strict and limiting, even the scope of practice was limited and nobody could imagine a degree in nursing or university based nursing teaching and learning. Hospitals mostly trained nurses in general nursing and later midwifery.

    Around 1987, nursing in South Africa was gradually introduced in tertiary education system and scope of practice and curriculum were amended. Nursing graduates were introduced to a 4-year degree obtaining general, psychiatry, midwifery and community health nursing. That made older nurses to feel bitter and never fully accepted university graduates as satisfactorily trained. Even medical officers were threatened and witness role change from nurses as hand maids into fully recognized members of the multidisciplinary health team with independent roles and functionality. These changes failed to bridge the gap of scope of practice and remuneration packages. Even to this date, the university and hospital trained nurses earn the same salary and follow same stream of training regulated by the same nursing Act 50 of 1978 as amended with specification stipulated in Regulation 425 (R.425).

    The nursing act 33 of 2005 introduced community service of one year post- training for both hospital- and university-trained individuals. Errors still exist within the nursing education such as same recognition of a hospital and university trained graduate have similar scope of practice, universities are allowed to implement R425 differently. For example, some South African universities train students for six months in midwifery while others dedicate two full years for midwifery and three years for community health nursing which is offered for six months in colleges and some universities. The problem in South Africa is that there is one R.425 and implemented differently from one university to the other.

    The current health ministry is proposing nursing training restructurization. In the proposal dated 23 July 2015, it recommends reintroduction of the old nursing training system with a hope of extending the nursing training duration and to phase out the R.425 of Act 50 (1978). The current proposal overlooks scope of practice and remuneration packages of such graduates irrespective of their qualification which is an error not even Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) could resolve in 2007. OSD failed to address issues of salaries in the nursing fraternity; an obvious error is that a nursing lecturer is graded as a nursing specialist.

    The unresolved question here is: Who teaches the other? And why do they earn same salary if the other is a teacher? Up to the very same date, the public health system continues to fail to distinguish university graduates from hospital nursing graduates yet continues to differentiate auxiliary social worker from a University graduate Social Worker, and experienced Medical Officer from a Master of Medicine graduate. Why not with nursing in South Africa? 

    The proposed training changes are as follows: general nursing and midwifery be done in a college over a period of four years without indicating whether that shall be Bachelor of nursing offered in a college which can never materialize as colleges do not offer degrees but universities do. If agreed upon, this will mean degrading the dignity of nursing as a profession over medicine which continues to be offered in the university without interruptions.

    According to the proposed plan, nursing training is extended to 9 years (four year of midwifery and general, 18 months of psychiatry and one year of community health) which is unnecessary waste of time for an undergraduate qualification yet medicines years of training have been reduced to 5 years (MBCHB).


    There is absolutely no need for such drastic changes in the nursing education.  It is alarming to witness MBCHB years of training have been reduced to five years and get paid a satisfactory remuneration package compared to Bachelor of Nursing graduates with stagnant remuneration. The introduction of Masters Degree in Medicines in South Africa is preparing sound clinical researchers and such projects (thesis and dissertations) are evaluated by nursing professors who in turn receive less recognition and degrading salaries compared to MMed graduates.

    The South African health system requires the following:

    1.     Strong and vocal task team of nursing professors who shall preserve the image and dignity of nursing as a profession and strongly oppose plans to change nursing training.

    2.     No college shall be allowed to offer a bachelor of nursing, strictly universities only.

    3.     Salary packages to be reviewed and sort clear distinction of a university graduate over a hospital trained graduate.

    4.     Revised scope of practice, degree holders be given more opportunity to execute complex clinical procedures and be given better remuneration packages.

    5.     Chief Nursing Officer to be more vocal and avoid external influences to disorganise nursing training.

    6.     Hospitals to create portfolios and acceptable remuneration packages for all nursing qualifications from a diploma to PHD level.

    7.     All South African universities to adopt and implement similar training structure  that is two years of midwifery, two years of psychiatry and two years of community health nursing

    8.     Develop a Nursing Ministry by nurses with nurses and for nurses.

    9.     MBCHB degree be afforded same status as B.Cur degree thereafter if need be.

    10.  South African nursing council to be headed by prolific PHD holders and nursing qualifications be regulated and registered up to PHD level.

    11.  Any qualification obtained outside university be regarded as either associate professional nurse and associated medical office until related exam has been endorsed by the regulating body.

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    We are professionals, and let us fight to be recognised as such… 
    Vuyolwethu Mashamayite - 20150728_073623
    By Vuyolwethu Mashamaite 
    Ever since I joined nursing in 2005 I have heard nurses say nursing is a ‘calling’ and it's not about money. I couldn't understand why they said so and I still don't.   
    I believe that everyone is called by God to be in the profession or job they are doing, unless nurses consider themselves in the same umbrella as ‘Sangomas’ and ‘Preachers’. Those are the people who will leave their profession or jobs and focus on their calling or do both, regardless of whether they are paid or not. 
    Perhaps this could be the reason why nurses are under-paid and left to work in extreme unfavourablecircumstances ...because it’s a "Calling".
    Don't get me wrong; I have passion and great respect for human life as a nurse. But I cannot keep quiet. Nurses are the most abused professionals by the employer because they consider themselves "called" instead of being employed professionals.
    Nurses you are jack of all trades doing everyone's jobs from a cleaner to a doctor but come pay day you are the ones who cry the most because you are underpaid while doing everyone's jobs. I guess it's the consequences of having been “called" instead of being professional.
    We feel so comfortable working out of our scope of practice to an extent that we run a risk of performing tasks that we are not equipped to do. When told it's not your scope of practice you tell us of how long you've been doing this and you didn't kill anyone. But the South African Nursing Counci (SANC) is out there nailing nurses and not considering your "calling" but rather your profession and scope of practice.
    What hurts the most is the fact that you studied for four years and someone from another discipline who studied the same years is treated and paid better than you. I guess they are professionals and you are in a "calling". 
    Nurses, let's STOP hiding behind "CALLING" and start taking our profession seriously. If you don't do it, no one will do it for you. Like it or not we are professionals and let us fight to be recognised as such. 
    Vuyolwethu is a nurse based in Kimberley, Northern Cape   

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    From Ntandane Nyebe, a nurse in Cape Town. 

    As the backbone of any healthcare system in the world, it is my honest opinion that nurses deserve proper compensation for the hard work they put in in improving the health of South Africans. After all, nurses are the proverbial Alpha and Omega. The following 10 points are the reasons.    

    1. We are short staffed- one person does a work that should have been done by 4 people.

    2. We have gone through formal education, we have got degrees etc, we are accountable to a nurses' board, we got to be paid decent salaries like Pharmacists and doctors- YES.

    3. The health institutions do not have enough of the unskilled workers e.g. porters and cleaners- Nurses are then forced to work as unkilled workers-on top of their scope of practice, when the need arises.

    4. There are many instances where doctors go & do shopping at the malls when they are on call, or simply some institutions have shortage of doctors- when an emergency situation arises- a nurse does a work that was supposed to be done by the doctor to save the client. Same case when there no social workers- nurses must run around doing what was supposed to be done by a social worker.

    5. We do a risky job - I've heard of many nurses & docs who died from contagious diseases- especially trauma staff.

    6. The governing party admitted in 2011 that there is a dire shortage of nurses in SA, which means nursing is a scarce skill in SA and the last time I checked professionals with scarce skills were getting paid higher salaries in SA.

    7. We work under bad conditions- institutions with no proper security, lack of proper equipment etc. But we always try and do our best to improvise for the benefit of the clients.

    8. Nurses who go & work overseas they don't go there just for fun or to experience different culture- they leave because they feel they are being overlooked by Government in terms of salary- meanwhile SA loses specialised nurses with experience - Government who cares about its people would try and keep nurses by raising salaries.

    9. We deserve better. Our Government can afford to increase our salaries by 100%. There is money in SA- we have seen structural developments in SA & they have been built by companies who have been paid millions and billions.

    10. ANC Government promised to increase salary of Nurses when they were in Mangaung in 2012/13. 

    I Thank You


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    About us

    The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in its current form was established on 5 December 1996.

    The organisation was formed through political consensus after the transition to democracy and was mandated by its membership to represent them and unite the nursing profession. Prior to this, the South African Nursing Council (SANC) and the South African Nurses Association (SANA) were statutory bodies which all nurses had to join. It was also important after the transition to democracy to incorp... Read more