Things looking up for nurses

Some good news for nurses - and South Africa - at last.

We can expect better medical care with the deployment of about 2000 nurses around the country beginning this month. It is a drop in the ocean but a good beginning.

The nurses will be deployed as part of their one-year community service.

The Department of Health further says it will open more nursing colleges to increase the supply of professional nurses. Salaries of tutors will also be restructured.

This is welcome news for the profession, which has been labouring under the most trying conditions.

Our health system is in dire straits, with inadequate medical supplies, shortages of beds and medical personnel.

Disgruntled and overworked nurses have been leaving the profession in droves. The salary structure is woefully inadequate and insulting to the profession.

Nurses work long hours, one looking after 30 or more patients. Consequently the standard of nursing care has deteriorated.

Health care standards have dropped alarmingly, with the government unable to stem the departure of doctors and nurses for greener pastures. It was shortsighted for the department to cut the number of trainee nurses in the first place.

We hope that before recruitment begins the department will make the profession attractive to would-be nurses.