Outcomes of the second DENOSA National Learner Movement meeting ...

    Media Statement
    Monday, 15 august 2016 
    DENOSA Learner Movement held its 2nd annual meeting of the year at DENOSA Head Office in Pretoria from 13 to 14 August where it deliberated on health issues and specifically on student nurse issues.  It deliberated robustly on the following areas:  
    On Community Service
    DENOSA Learner Movement is pleased with the recent development with regards to community service, which is a positive response to many complaints that we have documented about challenges with community service. DENOSA advocated for community service nurses unapologetically. We ensured that the online applications become centralized for community service from the National Department of Health.  We are optimistic that it shall arrest all the problems related to community service such as non-absorption of nurses upon completion of community service. We call on all student nurses to full rally behind the online application system and the leadership is working on finding solutions towards ensuring that the system works perfectly. We note that certain provinces are trying by all means to ensure that the great works done to resolve problems concerning community service do not happen.  
    We strongly believe this online system will bring about efficiency and an end to improper planning for community service by provincial department, which DENOSA has been complaining about every year.  Some of the challenges that the system needs to improve on include the inclusion of clinic posts for community service and not only provide positions for hospitals. Improving on this will also assist the country in its drive for NHI and re-engineering of primary healthcare, as clinics will also benefit from community service nurses. 
    On provinces’ tactic to use community service nurses as gap fillers instead of hiring nurses
    We are noting with great concern the continuous trend where provincial departments solely use community service nurses to fill the gap for vacancies.  Upon finishing the year of community service by nurses, the facilities often don’t absorb the community service nurses into positions, but choose to take the intake of community service nurses, despite the great need to employ more nurses as shortage keeps on growing. 
    We view this as an unacceptable cheap labour practice, which compromises the very same community service nurses. Community service nurses are left on their own with minimum supervision, and this exposes them to unnecessary litigation instead of learning from professional nurses in facilities. We call on the South African Nursing Council (SANC), as a regulatory body for nursing in the country, and the department of Health to look into this bad practice before quality nursing goes to the drain.   
    On SANC and Bogus Colleges
    The prevalence of bogus nursing colleges in the country is a call for concern. We see many aspiring nurses being exploited by criminals masquerading as nursing institutions. We call on the South African Nursing Council to effect stringent measures and involve law enforcements to deal with these criminals. We believe as DENOSA Learner Movement that SANC has been too ineffective in dealing with issues affecting nurses. 
    The Department of Higher Education and Training should as well consult with relevant stakeholders when accrediting institutions that intend to offer higher qualifications. We call on the aspirant nurses to seek information before losing their hard earned money to pay these high fees, by checking if institutions they wish to study at is accredited with the nursing regulatory body, SANC. They can check the SANC website: www.sanc.co.za 
    On Women’s Month
    We are meeting during the month of Women remembering the heroines of the generation of 1956 who led a march against the pass laws. We call on the current generation to strengthen the fight against patriarchy. Women remain disadvantaged even in the dawn of democracy; the nursing profession is predominantly composed of women.  
    On Local Government Elections
    The 3rd of August 2016 the country was having its local government elections as DENOSA, we rallied our unwavering support for the African National Congress. However we not satisfied with the performance particularly in the metros. We believe that lessons will be learned, and that stock must be taken on the outcomes of these elections.  
    On Labour Brokers 
    The nursing fraternity in South Africa is highly burdened by labour brokers. It should be noted that labour brokering does not benefit the working class in all forms. Labour brokering does not create employment. Our concern is that nurses are continuously exploited through labour brokering as nurses do not have steady income. COSATU took a resolution at its congress in November to ban labour brokers, and this will have positive economic effects on nurses themselves. We reject any attempts that seek to ensure that labour brokers remain in existence via means of regulating labour brokers. We call on ANC to take workers seriously and act with urgency in banning labour brokers.  
    On COSATU Young Workers
    DENOSA Learner Movement is happy with the steady progressive developments in COSATU Young Workers Forum. We committed ourselves to ensuring that COSATU Young Workers live to see the light of day. We are however unhappy with the resistance that we encounter from the older generation.   
    Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) National Learner Movement
    For more information, contact: 
    Tshepo Monoketsi, National Chairperson
    Mobile: 0795015808
    Nkululeko Mapaila, National Secretary
    Mobile: 0718722186
    Facebook: DENOSA National Page
    Twitter: @DENOSAORG

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    DENOSA KZN to withdraw its nurses from unsafe facilities...

    Media statement 
    Friday, 12 August 2016   
    At least we have warned about this before, and nothing has been done yet… 
    The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal will withdraw all its members in areas where their safety is no longer guaranteed as soon as all areas with red flag are collated and if nothing is done before end of this month. This follows the hijacking, robbery and abandoning of three nurses in the bush while on their way from an outreach programme at Bhiliya a few days ago. 
    Their kombi was stopped by private car in the Ntambanana area in Empangeni and two hijackers got inside the kombi and robbed them of their belongings including cellphones, wallets and jewelry and drove them into a deep bush where they met two other hijackers who assisted in offloading the health equipment before dropping the nurses in the middle of the bush. One of them almost got raped, but scared them by saying she was suffering from a certain chronic health condition.    
    Fellow nurses at Ngwelezane Hospital realized during knock-off time that the cars of these nurses were still parked at the facility, and upon trying to contact them on their cellphones, their phones were switched off. It was then that they started to panic.  
    DENOSA had issued this stern warning early this year and, in the absence of any concrete action from the employer, we are left with no other option but to collate a list of facilities that are not safe for our members to work in, and pull them out of danger while they are still alive. 
    Thugs are targeting departmental kombis and 4x4s. In the last two months alone, more than 11 vehicles have been hijacked. This particular area has lost no less than 18 vehicles to similar act this year alone. 
    The situation is not normal, and our fear is that more nurses will lose their lives if nothing is done to safeguard their safety. “We won’t allow any nurse to die first before the seriousness of this issue is noticed and acted upon by the employer. They are not Ginny pigs!” said DENOSA Provincial Secretary, Cassim Lekhoathi.     
    We therefore demand that the employer provide a safe working environment to our members with immediate effect. Failure to do that by the end of 31st August 2016, we will be left with no option but to withdraw our members from all these facilities which are red-flagged.       
    Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal 
    For more information, contact:
    Cassim Lekhoathi, DENOSA Provincial Secretary
    Mobile: 082 821 1465 
    Twitter: @DENOSAORG

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    DENOSA supports the Call to Action for Greater Investment in Nursing globally to achieve goal 90-90-90 ...

    Media statement 
    Thursday, 21 July 2016 
    The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) joins hands with the global nursing groups in the Call to Action at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, for Greater Investment in Nursing to achieve 90-90-90 objectives, and calls on all community to demand hiring of nurses in facilities in preparation for this vision.  
    The aim of goal 90-90-90 is to reach at least 90% of people with HIV to know their status, and ensure that at least 90% of them are enrolled into the Anti-retroviral Treatment (ART) programme, and that 90% of all people on the ART programme have their viral load suppressed by year 2020.
    This call is for every country, state/province, and every district to promote health access, equity and rights for all patients. Organisations behind the Call to Action include DENOSA, ICN, ANAC, ICAP, IAS, ANA, and UNAIDS.  
    The Call to Action demands adequate staffing, payment of nurses and equipping of all health facilities where communities are served, and it also demands adequate supply of medication, as well as inclusion of nurses in decision-making about health issues in their countries, provinces, and districts.  
    DENOSA says for the 90-90-90 to be achieved, more nurses must be hired and their well-being in the workplace must be looked at and prioritized. In South Africa, the new World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on Test-and-Treat will be implemented in September this year. As DENOSA we are happy with this pro-activeness from our government. However, our concern is that this ambitious plan may come to expose the extent of severe shortage of nurses in the country as this plan will be wholly driven by nurses, who are few and far between in facilities and most of whom carry out the work of two or three other nurses who are not hired. Queues will become longer if more nurses are not hired, and this may result in tensions between community members and nurses who are the face of the system.   
    DENOSA is calling on community members to assist nurses and all health workers in demanding the hiring of nurses and procurement of medication and equipment in their facilities ahead of the implementation of this plan. Currently the country has 3.4 million people on the Anti-retroviral Treatment (ART) programme, which is the largest programme in the world due to NIMART. Expanding the programme will result in longer life for many patients who are infected by the HIV pandemic in the country.      
    We call for equitable representation of nurses on policy guidelines and other decision making bodies; and Government to remove economic barriers to nurse-led care in order to guarantee access to healthcare as a human right by addressing social determinants of health.    
    The shortage of nurses, as well as the low production of student nurses in the few public colleges, has proven be too little for the country and yet HR Planning has been so poor that some of the produced nurses are not absorbed and placed at institutions where their service is greatly needed. 
    DENOSA calls for reopening of previously closed nursing colleges, equipment of nursing colleges and nurse educators. We also call for establishment of staffing norms countrywide, so that we could start measure the shortage against the norms.         
    As nurses of South Africa, we demand that the nurses who work overtime because of the shortage must be paid adequately and not have to wait for months to get their money. Safety of nurses in the workplace should be assured at all times. 
    Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) 
    For more information, contact: 
    Simon Hlungwani, DENOSA President. 
    Mobile: 079 501 4922 
    Sibongiseni Delihlazo, DENOSA Communications Manager 
    Mobile: 079 875 2663 

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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