Nursing services in South Africa are hampered by a declining number of new nurses, a shortage of specialised nurses and an ageing workforce distributed unevenly between the public and private health sectors, coupled with an uneven spread across urban and rural areas.
Excessive workload has contributed significantly to the dissatisfaction of public and private sector nurses in South Africa. This overwhelming work environment has led to an increase in strikes across the country.
“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation as any painter or sculptor’s work.” Florence Nightingale
The overall result is a decline in the quality of patient care and deterioration in the mental health of these nurses who feel they have no choice but to look for alternative employment options in different sectors.
If nurses are not allowed to subsidise insufficient income and are not provided with any solutions, many will be forced to leave nursing or try to leave the public sector, which will cause an even bigger problem. Institutional support is required to soften these blows, which negatively impact the healthcare sector.
Read on to learn more about challenges in the healthcare sector and how to overcome them. If you’re in need of a more immediate solution, contact Greys Nursing Services to connect with a trusted leader in the medical sector.
Medical Facilities are struggling to fill posts
South Africa has lost many nurses to developed countries. At the same time, employers expect the remaining nurses in health facilities to provide quality professional care in line with the necessary nursing standards.
Nurses who remain may become more disheartened and are left feeling disillusioned both internally and externally if their needs are not met. Factors such as lack of personal growth, safety in the workplace, lack of resources, and high prevalence of HIV/AIDS cause strike action to occur.
Both private and public sector entities can assist with handling the nurse shortage crisis that the country is facing by taking several steps to help mitigate the issues by aligning their human resource practices to the Department of Healthcare’s 2030 Human Resources for Health Strategy. The framework prescribes a few key areas where healthcare institutions can focus on helping curb the current nursing services problems.
Still, it requires the buy-in from different stakeholders at a governmental level, private sector involvement, and ground-level from nurses involved in the industry.
According to the South African Nurse Council, in 2020, there were 280 000 registered nurses, which was a slight increase compared to earlier years. However, based on the number of nurses required, the total number is far from the critical numbers needed. The Department of Health has prioritised the training of more nurses as part of their 2030 Human Resources for Health Strategy, with a strong focus on improving the selection and recruitment of healthcare students to grow the industry.
One of the significant challenges faced by the industry is that medical skills were omitted from the critical skills list, which was published earlier in March. With the world having gone through a global pandemic, starting in March 2020, this is a sign of concern. With more outbreaks predicted in the future, South Africa must emphasise growing the healthcare sector through upskilling and improving the training available to those entering the medical field.
Government and other critical stakeholders could encourage or incentivise institutions to continuously upskill staff members by implementing personal development programmes, workshops and mentorship programmes.
Improved Retention Strategies
Retaining nurses during these times is paramount to the success of the industry. South Africa’s healthcare system could collapse if critical stakeholders do not implement strategies for retaining and keeping nurses invested in the field. The shortage of nurses is not only limited to South Africa but is a global phenomenon that is a deepening crisis.
Entities should be focusing and improving a retention culture by creating favourable working environments where they value nurses and healthcare staff for their vital contributions to society. Creating an environment where nurses are valued will enhance the healthcare services offered to patients.
The nursing workforce faces a different challenge: the current multigenerational group of nurses who all display different types of characteristics when it comes to how individuals address work, their values, and needs. Retention strategies tailored to accommodate these sorts of differences will become important in the future when it comes to reducing strikes.
Improve Human Resource Data Collection
The Department of Healthcare has identified the collection and analysis of human resource data within the nursing industry as a key strategic objective in their strategy towards 2030. Healthcare institutions, both private and public, should allocate resources to improve their ability to process and analyse data within their entities.
Additionally, big data can enable HR to identify employee patterns and trends and develop programs to improve retention and reduce expenditure. Analysing HR data can promote a more diverse and inclusive culture by monitoring parameters such as the diversity of new hires and the level of pay equity among nurses.
This data, in turn, can be used to advise and support managers on where nurses can be developed, supported, and engaged, thus creating an environment where there are more minor strikes and more nurses remaining in the industry. Human resource analytics enables institutions to be more informed and, in turn, more strategic.
High-Quality Nursing Services
We can help you make the most of your healthcare staffing needs by providing flexible, quality services that work within your budget. We offer a comprehensive range of nursing services with an excellent standard of service excellence that we know will empower you to achieve success.
Nursing organisations can take advantage of using flexible and permanent healthcare staffing. You can access talented nursing staff by outsourcing your nursing services through an industry leader like Greys Nursing Services. Our company provides our clients with nursing services and access to qualified nursing staff to provide high-quality care.
Check out our article on Why Healthcare Providers are Outsourcing Their Nursing to learn more about nursing services.