The School of Nursing at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) nominated three of its students Solomon Ntimugura, Dana du Toit, and Sandisiwe Mkhwanazi for the Exceptional Nurse awards. A group of nurses in Cape Town started the Exceptional Nurse (TEN) campaign in 2015.
The campaign is registered with SARS as a public benefit corporation and with The Commissioner of Companies Intellectual Properties Commission as a non-government organization.
It seeks to solve the lack of nurses and healthcare resources in South Africa by enticing exceptional young people to think about a career in nursing. Annual fundraisers are held to elevate the dignity of nurses, foster a culture of honor, and provide partial bursaries and academic awards to underprivileged student nurses.
Senior occupational health nurse practitioners Nozipho Jali and Pastor Cobie Viljoen from TEN discussed the importance of universities, nursing schools, and the Department of Health in educating future nurses and elevating the status of nurses in South Africa during an event announcing UKZN’s student nominations.
Jali commended the pupils who demonstrated the campaign’s four required attributes.“Continue being an instrument of healing. Never lose your qualities of competence, compassion, commitment, and courage. Your lecturers and colleagues have seen these essential qualities in you ̶ and you have been nominated because of your exceptional qualities, not only in your academic performance but (also in) your personal character and nursing practice.”
Professor Ntombifikile Mtshali, director of UKZN’s World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Midwifery, expressed her gratitude to the campaign team for recognizing and honoring students for their dedication.“Be the nurse you would like to be nursed by if you or a relative were to fall ill. Keep flying the UKZN flag high,” she said.
Every year, care packages are distributed to public hospitals as part of the campaign’s hospital outreach programs to honor nurses in honor of International Nurses Day. In honor of nurses, a 7-kilometer night race is held annually in September and October.
Amber Beeforth from the University of Pretoria, who took part in the awards ceremony from the previous year (2021) had this to say about the nursing fraternity.” I love that as nurses we have multiple different avenues to practice, we don’t just treat patients with medication but develop nursing interventions, like positioning patients and turning patients to increase circulation and relieve pressure on pressure sites to decrease the risk of developing pressure sores. I enjoy that we don’t just treat patients when they are sick but develop health education and community programmes to prevent illness and increase health knowledge. The relationship we have with other disciplines, developing care plans and ensuring we provide the best holistic care for the patient.”
Not only in South Africa but throughout the world, there is a severe scarcity of qualified, specialized nurses, Nurses are working much above their capacity as a result of the present Covid-19 outbreak.
In South Africa, the National Department of Health provides healthcare services to 48 million people through 351 public hospitals and over 3000 community clinics. Over 30 000 professional and specialized nurses are currently needed in the public sector, according to estimates. Only 8.9 million South Africans (15 percent of the population) are Medical Aid Scheme members, giving them access to private healthcare.