Young nurses demand a better deal

Written by Thabo Molelekwa

Young nurses in Gauteng are unhappy about pay and working conditions in government hospitals, and recently marched to the Gauteng Department of Health (GPDOH) to raise their concerns.

Rural nurse in trainingLebogang Phehla, the general secretary of the Young Nurses Indaba, said that nurses are paid too little and, because there is a national nurse shortage, each nurse has a big work load.

“There are young nurses out there searching for the jobs, and the department should create posts for those nurses,” said Phehla, adding that nurses were tired of being used as scapegoats by the department of health for its ailing healthcare system.

“The strategy of bringing back the retired nurses is also not helping. Instead it adds to the burden of overworked nurses as the retired nurses no longer have the energy and the drive to diligently serve the people,” he said.

“ We have seen an increasing number of attacks directed to the nurses while on duty. Our nurses cannot die while serving the nation and put their lives in danger,” said Phehla, appealing to the GPDOH to improve security systems in the hospitals.

Olita Khuboni, a nurse at Sebokeng Hospital, said that the government must take responsibility of the state of hospitals and clinics because there is no equipment and medication. “The patients blame us for poor services whereas the Department is to blame. We are prepared to help our patients but we don’t have equipment,” said Khuboni.

Khuboni also highlighted the flight of community health workers: “These are the people who do lot of work in the field. You can’t have people on contracts for more than 10 years and yet you pay them R2500 per month.”

Gauteng Department of Health spokesperson Steve Mabona acknowledged receiving a memorandum by the, and said that “management is busy studying its contents and will respond in due course”. – Health-e News.

An edited version of this story was also published on Health24

About the author

Thabo Molelekwa

Thabo Molelekwa joined OurHealth citizen journalists project in 2013 and went on to become an intern reporter in 2015. Before joining Health-e News, Thabo was a member of the Treatment Action Campaign’s Vosloorus branch. He graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology with a diploma in Computer Systems and started his career at Discovery Health as a claims assessor. In 2016 he was named an International HIV Prevention Reporting Fellow with the International Centre for Journalists and was a finalist in the Discovery Health Journalism Awards competition in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Thabo also completed a feature writing course at the University of Cape Town in 2016. In 2017 he became a News reporter , he is currently managing the Citizen Journalism programme.You can follow him on @molelekwa98

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