Welcomes delegation from National Nurses United (NNU) from the US
On Monday 03 December 2012, DENOSA welcomed to its head offices a high-power delegation from a fellow nursing union from the US, National Nurses United (NNU) who had come to exchange ideas and collaborate on a number of projects which aim to advocate for patients and improve and the lives of both patients and relieve the nurses of the burden.
They had come to the Public Services International (PSI) 29th Congress, which was held in Durban from the 27th to the 30th of November. Prior to the congress, DENOSA took them on a tour in one of South Africa’s health facilities where they visited the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Durban.
At the DENOSA head offices in Pretoria, NNU delegation was welcomed by General Secretary, Thembeka Gwagwa, Deputy General Secretaries, David Makhombe and Madithabo Masemola including staff members. The four delegates were Deborah Burger, co-president, Jean Ross, co-president, Zenei Cortez, vice-president and Kenneth Zinn, political director.
General Secretary Thembeka Gwagwa briefed them about the history of DENOSA and the struggle of nurses in South Africa prior to 1994, including the challenges in the health that the country is besieged with, and some major issues of the interest of patients, and issues that are beyond.
Some of the issues under discussion in which both parties learned from each other’s experiences and successes were the nurse-patient ratios in hospitals and how the workload could be managed so that patients could be well-looked after. This is driven by the need to advocate for patients.
“We could lose a licence if we move the patient out of the facilities, even if the doctor said ‘this patient must go home’. But if you feel as a nurse that the patient is still too sick, you go to the manager of the hospital and advocate for that patient,” said Jean Ross, co-president of NNU.
Studies have shown that in hospitals where nurse-patient ratio is reduced, patients recuperate quickly and get discharged. NNU has scored a major victory in this project where reduced ratios have been made law in the state of California.
NNU has advocated for the ratios policy in the state of California in the US to become law. Where one professional nurse looks after two patients in ICU, emergency ward, and post- anesthesia care. In line with DENOSA’s theme of ‘United in pursuing service excellence’ NNU’s principles is to advocate for patients, nurses and social justice,” says.
The ongoing relationship will also include lobbying for the international financial transactions tax, known as the Robin Hood Tax, which aims to channel proceeds from transactions from trading bonds, shares and other financial derivatives towards building other societal infrastructure for the good of the community. This campaign is led by nurses throughout the world.