The Solidarity Occupational Guild for Health Practitioners today said that it is of vital importance for the survival of nursing as a profession that the Department of Health, the Department of Higher Education and Training and the South African Nursing Council (SANC) all get aligned with each other as soon as possible, and that communication barriers are eliminated to resolve the current training crisis.
According to Hennie Bierman, head of Solidarity’s Occupational Guilds, South Africa is experiencing critical problems with the training of nurses. The SANC’s ineffectiveness has a negative impact on the finalisation of regulations on nursing training and the accreditation of new training institutions for nursing training, practice and programmes, as well as the reaccreditation of existing institutions and programmes offering nurses’ training. “The main problem is that accreditation of all nursing courses and the approval of private training institutions have been dragging on since 2014. The delays can be ascribed to a lack of communication between the SANC and the Department of Higher Education,” Bierman said.
The Strategic Plan for Nursing Education, Training and Practice (2013), which provides for new qualifications, came into effect in 2013. Unfortunately, neither the private training institutions nor the new curriculums have been approved or accredited. Therefore, nurses’ training has ground to a halt to a large extent. Due to these problems, most private training institutions have not taken in any new nursing students since 2016.
Bierman also says that this delay is impeding accredited private nursing training institutions. “No private institution has received approval for training over the past three years, and the SANC has suspended many of the courses offered by the existing private institutions back in 2015. This means that even fewer nurses are being trained, putting extra pressure on the existing nurses in the profession, which again impacts service delivery,” Bierman emphasised.
“Given that 60% of the country’s nursing training is done by private training institutions, accreditation of these institutions can prevent shortages of nursing staff in the future,” Bierman said.
“The SANC and the Department of Health must urgently prioritise their training framework for nursing, and they must see to it that they align themselves to avert a training disaster that is in the making,” Bierman summarised.