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DENOSA Gauteng's Central Wits holds Nursing Leadership Symposium at Ann Latsky Nursing College

DENOSA Gauteng's Central Wits held a Nursing Leadership Symposium on 30 August at Ann Latsky Nursing College in Hursthill. The symposium looked at the state of nursing in Gauteng, the values and principles of democracy, the Department's plan to transport nursing and nursing education, and areas of collaboration and cooperation between DENOSA and stakeholders.

The Symposium discussed Advocacy role of nurses as an element of democracy, thanks to a representative from Civics Academy.

The symposium was reminded that Advocacy is speaking on behalf of those who can't speak for themselves (patients). As nurses you can point out the law that is not implemented and you can advocate for implementation of that law as nurses, or advocate for the promulgation of the necessary law.

The Symposium also discussed the undemocratic nature of the wards and how throwing the term 'democracy' in meetings can send shivers on some managers' spines.

The emphasis was on the need for change in our boardrooms and units.

But the Symposium warned that democracy must be exercised responsibly and within its confines for it to be effective.

The example made was the need to follow the rules of picketing or protest if you are to embark on such. Most importantly, you must protect yourself by documenting down every detail and action you have made. This links well with the nursing profession: 'If it is not written, it is not done'.

Dr Nelouise Geyer, CEO of NEA took the Symposium through the shortage of professional nurses and midwives in SA. She said that the picture is gloom because by 2012 the profession was 50 000 short of nurses already. She said instead of this number narrowing, it has since widened.

She quoted SANC stats in 2014 which registered 4112 professional nurses as opposed to 13000 that Human Resource Strategy projected that we should have had.

She said the picture is gloom and that is highly concerning.

Mme Ntsakisi Senokoanyane, a veteran nurse and author of the book Their light, love and life: A black nurse’s story, took nurses at the Symposium down memory lane about nursing. She started studying nursing in 1968, but had to postpone it due to illness. But she resumed her studies in 1972.

"In this book, there is fear, anxiety and desperation for both the patient and the nurse. As nurses, let's put aside our differences and ensure we are the advocates of our patients. You are there for the patient. You are their mouthpiecealthough they fear us as health professionals. Let us strive for the betterment of the nursing profession... the book is here”.

Present at the Leadership Symposiumamong other guests, was a veteran of DENOSA and the first Chairperson of DENOSA in Gauteng, Mme Nontsha Nciza.

Mrs J. More, from the Department of Health’s Quality Assurance took the Symposium through the Department's Nursing and Quality.

She said the directorate is currently busy with a number of projects to improve nursing quality in the province through research, value system, modernisation of lecture rooms, collaboration with stakeholders, and collaboration with Wits School of Public on short refresher course for nurse educators in the province.

She encouraged nurses to call the directorate. "Some nurses will call us in the middle of the night and tell us that they are caring for 45 patients. That helps us because when something happens there, we know it is not the nurses' fault".

Lack of clinical accompaniment for students; Community service nurses acting as unit managers; four South African children out of 84 children done immunisation in a SA clinic; 60% of deliveries at Tembisa are on foreign nationals; four colleges now vs eight colleges then; mass exodus of young nurses from public facilities to private; Aging population of nurses. These were the issues that the audience is discussed at the Denosa Central Wits Leadership Symposium.

The Symposium reflected on the day it was.

'The need for leadership with conscience' is the message from the motivational speaker and a nurse leader, Mr Mhlubulwana.

There is a silver line; in every problem we must know that there is a solution. "Why are we not getting the results we desire? We must look at the input."

What authorities’ do you have and what decisions can you make?

What are you dependent, independent and interdependent about?

If you don't know the societal problems surrounding you, you can't be innovative in responding to those problems as a leadership.

Let us promote the administrative justice. What can we do better for us to practice with our conscience? And if we don't listen to our conscience, our conscience stops talking to us"

Let us practice with conscience and dignity.”