Nursing Students Protest For More Placements In Health Sector


Several health care organisations have expressed concern over the critical shortage of nurses in the country, while student nurses took protest action demanding to be placed under community service programmes.



Over 100 nursing students are up in arms after they were told that they won’t be placed within community service programmes.

These students, in their final year of their nursing studies at the Gauteng College of Nursing R. 171 programme, are demanding that they be placed within Gauteng Health spaces, especially after they were told their contracts would be renewed. 

The group has threatened to stage a protest in Leratong and shut down all four campuses if they do not get a favourable response. The nursing college campuses affected are Ann Latsky, Bonalesedi, Baragwanath and SG Lourens.

Students are asking for more placements in the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH).

The students say they had a series of meetings with the Department who said that their contracts would get renewed, but now they are being told differently, leaving them in limbo. 

Mpho Rantsu spokesperson for the students, says they feel misled and let down by the Department as they were assured placement for employment on course completion.

The group were given bursaries by the Gauteng Department of Health when they began their studies in 2020. They were the first group in the three-year nursing programme after it was introduced in 2020.

Upon the commencement of the course we were promised a lot of things and now the Department is singing a different tune, and no one is willing to hear us out.

With the unemployment rate at a peak, why would government waste funds to train professional nurses, only for them to contribute to the already high unemployment rate? Our nurses are overwhelmed due to staff shortages, and they need all the help they can get.

Meanwhile, one of South Africa's largest private hospitals, Netcare, has expressed concern over the critical shortage of nurses, reporting that the country has an estimated shortage of between 26,000 and 62,000 nurses, and a large number is expected to retire by 2030.

Netcare has stressed that the country is facing a critical shortage of nurses and claims that the crisis is partly to blame on government's restrictions on private-sector nursing training.

One nurse has called the situation "an incredible loss", not only for the students but also for the healthcare sector, as government has invested and trained these nursing students for three years, but now suddenly drops them when it's time to fulfil the promise of providing employment in their field; employment which would have assisted with alleviating some of the nurses shortage in South African hospitals. 

However, Gauteng Chairperson of the Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union, Bafana Tshabalala, says the country is not training enough nurses, noting that even the nurses that are still in training would not make up for the shortage the country is experiencing.

Government officials should not hinder upon people's basic rights to heath because if we [government] are saying we are not going to appoint more nurses into the system meaning we are exacerbating the problem of the gross shortage that we currently have. 

He continues, “We really need the department to employ every nurse that is available, because if Netcare that is a private sector is failing to close the gap it tells you just how severe the situation is.”

Netcare previously trained over 3,000 nurses annually, but it's now restricted to a fraction of that number. Government has cited the reason for not placing nursing students due to a lack of funding, as well as unavailable spaces.  


Suggested Article:

A nurse working with a patient.

South Africa is a lacking a number of critical skills, one of which is Nursing. There are continuous investments being made within the field of Nursing, particularly for those who are pursing certain Nursing qualifications. 




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