Student nurses build a solid foundation in caring

Nursing professionals and the next generation of nurses honoured on International Nurses Day
Friday, May 10 2019

“As we acknowledge and celebrate the women and men who have dedicated their lives to a vocation in nursing care on International Nurses Day, it is rewarding that nursing students at Netcare Education’s Faculty of Nursing and Ancillary Healthcare (FNAH) campuses are also already demonstrating their commitment to understanding the individual needs of patients in order to deliver quality care to them as well as embracing reaching out to the wider community, as they work towards establishing their nursing careers.”

So says Shannon Nell, director of nursing and nursing education at Netcare, ahead of International Nurses Day, which is marked on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth on 12 May each year. The day is celebrated worldwide in recognition of the key role that nursing professionals play.

“Those who have chosen to pursue a career in nursing are torchbearers in the pursuit of excellence in clinical care that underpins safe and effective healthcare,” Nell maintains.

“While certain aspects of the art and science of nursing come with years of experience and life-long dedication to learning, our bridging course students based at the five FNAH campuses around the country are already making a contribution by exploring new ways to improve the care available in healthcare facilities and through community outreach projects. This provides a laudable foundation for the nurses of the future.”

Pic: Kelly Carls, a first year Bridging Course student (June 2018 intake) at the Western Cape campus of Netcare Education’s Faculty of Nursing and Ancillary Healthcare, was one of the students who participated in an initiative aimed at raising awareness and enhancing ways of communication between deaf patients and healthcare practitioners. In the foreground is Leigh McDonald-Dyers of eDEAF, an organisation that seeks to employ empower deaf and hard of hearing individuals through training.

Bridging Course first year students at Netcare Education’s Western Cape FNAH campus, in collaboration with eDEAF, an organisation that seeks to empower deaf adults through training, for example recently undertook a project to improve patient communication in the clinical setting.

Toy Vermaak, manager of the Netcare Education’s FNAH, explains that the students themselves took the decision to focus on the needs of the deaf community in accessing healthcare.

“The group work assignment involved the students considering the potential barriers that deaf and hard of hearing individuals may face in healthcare settings, and seeking creative ways of enhancing the provision of care to these individuals. This speaks to a culture of caring that takes into consideration each person’s individual needs, which Netcare Educations seeks to instil in students,” Vermaak notes.

Having interviewed individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, the students set about strategising ways to improve methods of communication between such patients and healthcare practitioners.

“The students identified a need for greater general awareness of the challenges faced by hearing impaired individuals when accessing healthcare, and for more nurses to learn South African sign language.

“The students and management are now considering taking this initiative a step further through introducing sign language posters in hospital wards to sensitise other healthcare practitioners to the importance of inclusivity and support for deaf or hard of hearing,” Vermaak explains.

In an ongoing collaboration with eDEAF, informative awareness sessions will be provided to other nursing students studying at Netcare Education’s Western Cape campus.

Vermaak adds that nursing students at other Netcare Education FNAH campuses have also been participating in a number of community outreach projects, including collecting blankets for the children’s ward at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, and teaching children and caregivers the importance of hand hygiene, among others.

“Projects such as these provide the students with valuable insight into the diverse needs of individual patients that nurses will encounter throughout their careers,” Nell adds.

“This awareness is integral to providing care that places each person and their unique circumstances at the centre of our care, so that we can be optimally effective in our role as nursing professionals.

“This International Nurses Day, we celebrate the contribution of our nurses and thank them for their commitment to providing each patient with the best and safest nursing care. As we go about our duties, we should never lose sight of what drew us to pursue a career in nursing, and the meaningful difference we make in the lives of our patients and their families,” she concluded.


Issued by:            MNA on behalf of Netcare
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]