Call for multi-dimensional approach to shortage of ICU nurses

The audio is in isiZulu. See the English summary below.

MABUTHO: Ngokusho kuka Professor Sats Bhagwanjee osanda kwenza ucwaningo ngezinto eziphazamisa ukusebenza kwama wadi abagula kakhulu (Intensive Care Units) izwe laseNingizimu Africa libhekene nengwadla enkulu yokuntuleka kwamanesi aqeqeshelwe ukusebenza emawadini abagula kakhulu. UProf. Bhagwanjee uthi isimo sibi kangangokuthi kwesinye isikhathi kuthathwa nonesi abangakuqeqeshelwe ukusebenza kuma ICU kuthiwe mabasebenze khona. Uthi lokhu kuphambene nezimiso zokusebenza kwama ICUs. Uphinde uthi ngokujwayelekile kumele isiguli nesiguli sibe nonesi oyedwa osinakekelayo.

PROF. SATS BHAGWANJEE: Internationally, it is accepted that you need one – in some instances two ‘€“ ICU-trained nurses (per patient). We are very remote from that reality. In many instances, we have less than one nurse per ICU patient. And even if we do have one nurse per patient, it’€™s not always the case that the nurse we have is an ICU-trained nurse. So, the problem is absolutely desperate.

MABUTHO: UProf. Bhagwanjee uthi kunezizathu ezahlukene ezinomthelela walokhu kuntuleka kwamanesi aqeqeshelwe ukusebenza emawadini abagula kakhulu. Uthi nakuba ukuhamba kwamanesi aye kosebenza phesheya kungesinye sezizathu kodwa zikhona nezinye ezinomthelela ezibandakanya izimo ezingezinhle zokusebenza kanye nemiholo emincane.

PROF.SATS BHAGWANJEE: There are significant losses of nurses to different domains. The traditional view was that nurses are emigrating or going to lucrative sides outside the country. This is actually not exactly true. It is one small part of the problem. A lot of nurses are disillusioned, the working environments are not conducive, the salaries may not be appropriate. So, the reasons are multi-factoral.

MABUTHO: Lenkinga yokwentuleka kwamanesi aqeqeshelwe ukusebenza emawadini abagula kakhulu akuyona into engaqedwa kalula ngenxa yokuthi ziningi izinto ezinomthelela. uBhagwanjee uthi kodwa okuyikhona okubalulekile ukuthi kukhicizwe onesi kuphinde kutholwe izindlela zokubagcina benelisekele umsebenzi wabo ukuze bengeke bawushiye.

PROF.SATS BHAGWANJEE: The current situation is such that we are desperately low with the number of the nurses that are currently training. So, if we want to effectively deal with the problem, clearly there needs to be multiple steps taken. An important one of which is – produce nurses and equally find mechanisms to retain them.

MABUTHO: Khonamanjalo no Dr Nkaki Matlala ongusekelamongameli wenhlangano emele izibhedlela ezizimele, Hospital Association of South Africa, uthi nezibhedlela ezizimele nazo zinenkinga  efanayo yokuntuleka kwamanesi aqeqeshelwe ukusebenza kuma ICUs. Uthi kodwa kunemizamo abayenzayo ukulungisa isimo ngokuthi bakhuphule amaholo kanye nokwenza ngcono izimo zokusebenza kwabo.

DR NKAKI MATLALA: Abonurse base ICU nase theatre are some of the best nurses. So, sikhuphule ama salaries to attract them. We also have to develop better ways of managing their time so that you have the best nurse at the time you need her, not aze nje azohlala kungenasidingo sokuthi abe khona

MABUTHO: Ngokombiko wocwaningo olwenziwe nguProf. Bhagwanjee osanda kukhishwa kwi South African Medical Journal iNingizimu Africa ishoda ngamanesi angu 8000 aqeqeshelwe ukusebenza kuma ICUs.

See the English summary below.

Call for multi-dimensional approach to shortage of ICU nurses

An expert in high-care says the desperate shortage of nurses trained in intensive care services is too complex and needs a multi-dimensional approach to address it.

Prof Sats Bhagwanjee – head of the Anaesthetics Department at the Witwatersrand University and co-author of a report on the inefficiencies of intensive and hi-care units, says ‘€œthe problem of the shortage of nursing personnel in these units is absolutely desperate’€.

‘€œInternationally, it is accepted that you need one, in some instances, two ICU-trained nurses (per patient). We are very remote from that reality. In many instances, we have less than one nurse per ICU patient. And even if we do have one nurse per patient, it’€™s not always the case that the nurse we have is an ICU-trained nurse’€, he said.  

Prof. Bhagwanjee says many other factors add to the problem.  

‘€œThe traditional view was that nurses are emigrating or going to lucrative sides outside the country. This is actually not exactly true. It is one small part of the problem. A lot of nurses are disillusioned, the working environments are not conducive, the salaries may not be appropriate. So, the reasons are multi-factoral,’€ he said.

He says to address the challenge successfully responses must take into consideration the multiple factors contributing to the problem.  

‘€œThe current situation is such that we are desperately low with the number of the nurses that are currently training. So, if we want to effectively deal with the problem, clearly there needs to be multiple steps taken. An important one of which is – produce nurses and equally find mechanisms to retain them’€, said Prof. Bhagwanjee.

Meanwhile, Dr Nkaki Matlala, Deputy President of the Hospitals Association of South Africa (HASA), says private hospitals are also experiencing a similar problem.    

‘€œICU-trained nurses are some of the best nurses. So, we have increased salaries to attract them. We also have to develop better ways of managing their time so that you have the best nurse at the time you need her’€, she said.

According to the research, published in the South African Medical Journal, South Africa needs at least 8000 nurses trained in  hi-care services.

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