Speaking on International Nurses Day, 12 May, Netcare’s director of nursing and nursing education, Shannon Nell, says that the nursing profession has much to celebrate.
“Nursing as a profession has come of age in South Africa and elsewhere in the world, with outcomes-based nursing care and new treatment regimes underpinning a more holistic, interactive approach to patient care.”
“The training of nurses, the content-forming part of the educational curriculum, new methodologies and the way nursing is taught both at institutions of learning and practically in healthcare institutions, have given new life to what is essentially an age-old caring profession, steeped in compassion and respect,” notes Nell.
She says that given the shifting patient population, with an increase in the number of older patients and changing disease profiles have altered demands on nursing professionals.
Patients are requiring and expecting a broader base of holistic care, with needs that extend beyond clinical and nursing care into those at a psychological and emotional level. “Our patients want to know what we are doing and why we are doing it. The patient of the 21st century has access to information on an unprecedented scale and will, quite understandably and reasonably, question nurses’ and doctors’ decisions and actions more frequently. For example, it is a core behaviour of the Netcare Way that our nurses are expected to ask for consent from our patients before engaging in an intervention such as performing a blood pressure test or a small procedure like inserting a drip.”
“The entire relationship between nurse and patient is more collaborative and engaging. This opens channels for communication and engagement on a totally different level, while fostering an enhanced dynamic of respect,” explains Nell.
“By the same token we are actively seeking feedback from our patients on how we can improve our nursing care and their overall hospital experience. Within Netcare we have established a number of channels for patients to provide feedback. We encourage feedback while patients are still in hospital so that we can address any concerns promptly. We also conduct special surveys upon discharge through various mechanisms,” explains Nell.
Nell adds that it’s just as important to uphold the dignity of patients and provide them with unconditional support and empathy, as it is to master the clinical aspects of delivery of care, the technology of medicine and technical expertise.
“The role of the nurse as a key facilitator of communication between patients and doctors remains a crucial aspect of the job. In certain instances the nurse may pick up on information that the patient may not volunteer as they may not realise its potential clinical significance. On the other hand, the nurse is often able to help the patient to more fully understand the implications of a doctor’s prescribed treatment plan after the doctor has spoken to the patient in the course of their rounds.”
According to Nell there are many more career opportunities for nurses today than there were in the past. “Nursing professionals have the opportunity to become highly specialised in one of the many disciplines of modern medicine.”
She notes that nowadays there are so many areas of nursing that one can specialise in after qualifying as a Registered Nurse (RN). A few examples include paediatrics, neonatal, transplant, , trauma and emergency, infection prevention, oncology and renal, as well as passing on knowledge to the next generation through academic involvement and tutoring.
“Considering the dynamic nature of the medical fraternity, there is also more scope for advancement into top administrative and management positions. Anyone who is considering a career in nursing should gain as much knowledge and experience as they possibly can,” advises Nell. “This is because medicine is constantly evolving and you will be better placed to take advantage of all opportunities on offer if you have the necessary clinical knowledge. There is a dire need for nurses who have the expertise and skill to deliver compassionate patient care.”
- Welcoming the winds of change
“Within Netcare we welcome the winds of change within the nursing profession in South Africa. We are committed to giving our nursing professionals the opportunity to be the best that they can be. We strive to encourage them to grow in their profession, and to spend more time with their patients while competently delivering the care our communities so desperately need and deserve.”
“Our society would not be able to function without our nurses and to them we extend our deepest gratitude to them,” Nell concludes.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact : Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Devereaux Morkel
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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