Nurses: a force for change

International Nurses Day (12 May) highlights the impact of nurses on quality care

Tuesday, May 12 2015

“Throughout history, nurses have played an invaluable role in the health and wellbeing of communities, forming the mainstay of every nation’s healthcare system. Nurses impact the lives of people when they are most vulnerable, not only through clinical care, but also through the compassion they demonstrate when it is most needed.”

So says Shannon Nell, director of nursing and nursing education at Netcare, speaking ahead of International Nurses Day on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

“As the largest profession in the health workforce, nurses are well positioned to deliver on this year’s global theme, ‘Nurses: a force for change’. Nurses use their expertise to drive improvements in efficiency and quality of care to attain optimal patient outcomes. The expertise that every nurse applies in their work daily can make an important difference, which is why they are a pivotal force for change,” asserts Nell.

“Quality improvement skills are necessary to identify gaps between current care and best practice and to design, implement, test and evaluate changes. Netcare has adopted a range of evidence-based international best practices as part of our efforts to enhance patient clinical outcomes on an ongoing basis,” states Nell.

“Nurses are playing a key role in the implementation of these practices which have been proven to benefit patients. They are at the centre of patient care and therefore are essential drivers of quality improvement,” notes Nell.

This was evident in the 2014 Netcare Quality Leadership Awards, where nursing teams were responsible for 62 of the 166 entries. Lecturers and administration teams at Netcare Education submitted 18 entries, while nursing staff members also participated in various initiatives as part of multidisciplinary teams.

It is not surprising then that the winning multidisciplinary team was led by an infection prevention practitioner, Marilyn Leadsom, from the nursing department at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital.

Nell echoes a statement made by Dr Dena van den Bergh, quality leadership director of Netcare that, “Leadsom has been an active participant in Netcare’s quality improvement journey since the inception of the awards in 2012 and has successfully led and collaborated with teams to improve and deliver the best and safest service, in a sustainable manner, to our patients.”

Leadsom’s quality improvement project, ‘Building blocks for a sustainable antibiotic stewardship programme’ reduced critical infections and, in partnering with pharmacy colleagues, integrated the infection prevention programme with anti-microbial stewardship.
Nell states that patient safety remains one of the most critical issues facing healthcare today. In light of their close interaction with patients, nurses are the healthcare professionals most likely to stop errors from happening and prevent harm to patients.

“Nurses play a vital role in improving the safety and quality of patient care, not only in the hospital environment, but also with community-based care and the care rendered by family members. It is because of this dynamic approach that we are appreciative and proud that our nurses are taking the lead in exploring ways in which they can improve patient care to bring about even better clinical outcomes and an improved patient experience,” states Nell.

Nell concludes, “We at Netcare acknowledge the incredible work done by our nurses and the immense responsibilities they assume in caring for patients. We salute our nurses for the passion, compassion, dignity and respect with which they care for our patients and for their invaluable contribution to South African society as a whole.”


Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact : Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Sarah Wilson or Meggan Saville
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
Email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]