Wednesday 23 August 2017
The DENOSA Student Movement in Mpumalanga, which represents the majority of student nurses in the province, held its Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting over the weekend in Nelspruit where bread and butter issues of students were robustly discussed and solid resolutions were taken.
On high failure rate
We have noted the high failure rate mainly at the Mpumalanga College of Nursing which led to less output of professional nurses than expected at the end of four years. We believe that this failure rate is a result of internal challenges at the college. The DENOSA LM would like to make a call to the Department of Health to initiate an investigation that will look into the failure rate at the college.
We call on the department to bring facilities of entertainment to the college, to assist students in ensuring that they refrain from unhealthy practices like alcoholism and other unsafe practices. We urge all students to take their studies very seriously and maintain a good output at the end of the four years, because for every student admitted at the college from first year, that student is expected to be appointed as a Professional Nurse after four years to also combat the plague of staff shortage.
Furthermore, the health sector is moving towards a more modernized system of introducing electronic filing system in hospitals and clinics. We believe that it would be proper that the college must acclimatize to that standard in terms of its syllabus. When we look at the old and poor state of our computer laboratory, it is really not assisting students. We also believe that the use of hard copy textbooks is slowly becoming irrelevant and the college should allow students to use electronic textbooks because they are easily updated and cost less.
On the absence of clinical supervision for students in facilities
Because the course offered at the Mpumalanga College of Nursing is more clinically based, this means that students spend more time in their areas of clinical practice. For this reason, close supervision is very vital in ensuring that students meet all the objectives of their academic practicals. It has come to our attention, however, that some areas of practice are grossly short of clinical preceptors and others have totally none of them whatsoever.
The example of this is Ermelo Hospital. This means that there is no proper mentoring of students in those hospitals which becomes a serious concern to us. This may compromise the quality of the nurse produced. We appreciate that the department have hired five lecturers this financial year. However that is totally not enough, given the huge shortage of lecturers that is there currently. We need more.
We have noted that students in clinical areas are treated as a workforce as opposed to being students which really contradicts the real aim of taking students to clinical areas. Students are being made to work for a pool of hours, hours which are far more than what SANC requires. It is our view that this needs to be corrected. In some cases students exceed the 40 hours per week which is required by the curriculum. This causes the students to be exhausted and them failing to study in clinical areas. We plead with Nursing Managers in all clinical areas where there are students to stick with the prescripts given to them by the college and refrain from counting students as staff, because that not only exploits them freely, but also compromises their chances of passing their course.
On Accommodation of student nurses
Accommodation is a burning issue currently at the college, which was seen from the recent unrest by students at the college where students amongst other issues complained of the dilapidated state of the college. This was able to be resolved and renovations took place. We would like to commend the Department of Health for acceding to our call of renovations of the College within the agreed timeframe. We are awaiting the full swing of renovations at the Elijah Mango Sub-campus as part of our agreement.
On the establishment of Nursing Directorate in the province
We want to acknowledge the department for initiating the Nursing Directorate. We believe that this will also assist in ensuring that our students have good accommodation in clinical areas, especially because students are paying good money for accommodation. The department must adhere to the principles of Batho Pele which talk about value for money.
The DENOSA Student Movement has resolved that no students will reside at the Elijah Mango Sub-Campus until the conditions are good for people to reside there. We urge the department to quicken the process of renovations at Elijah Mango so that we can have an intake this financial year.
Issued by the DENOSA Student Movement in Mpumalanga
For more information, contact:
Thabang Gama, DENOSA Student Movement Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 071 455 6379 / 083 567 1560
Cyril Mdhluli, DENOSA Student Movement Provincial Chairperson
Mobile: 071 862 0093 / 072 089 4839
Tel: 013 752 4943