A staggering R70million has been set aside by the North West health department for the improvement of nursing colleges, in the hope of increasing the intake of nursing students in the province.
Department spokesman Lesiba Molala said the initiative was geared towards increasing the intake of students at the two main nursing colleges in the province.
"The money will be used to build new classes, administration blocks and residences at the colleges. The first phase of building a multi-purpose theatre, including administration blocks, classrooms, and tutor blocks, is already under way at Mmabatho Nursing College and will be completed by March next year," he said.
Molala said this would accommodate 1000 students.
The second project at Excelsior Nursing College in Klerksdorp will start in April next year.
"The department has 6734 nurses on the Persal system, while there are 1720 vacant posts.
"This include professional nurses, chief professional nurses, nursing assistants and staff nurses. This shortage is also a reflection of most of the developing countries in southern Africa. Our province is no exception," Molala added.
Since 1994 about 1035 students have graduated from Mmabatho Nursing College and were absorbed into the department. Benefits such as scarce skills allowance and rural allowances were paid to the nurses who worked in rural areas.
"The department wants to assure our communities that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that despite the difficulties, the life and dignity of our patients is preserved."
The two colleges admitted students during mid-year. Interested students are urged to apply at the beginning of the year as applications for next year closed at mid-year for selection and admissions. - Sapa