The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Gauteng held its 8th Provincial Congress at Shumba Lodge near Lanseria Airport from 28 to 30 November where it resolved on nursing matters and elected provincial office bearers (POBs) for the new term until 2022.
Held under theme 'Revitilising Organisational Unity and Cohesion to Advance Member Servicing', the congress was attended by 150 voting delegates and guests which included nurse managers of various health institutions as well as principals of nursing colleges.
The congress emphasized the urgent need for close collaborations between DENOSA as represented by shop stewards and managers in facilities, as well as all other stakeholders, to speedily achieve the objectives of common interests in the nursing profession.
The congress discussed and resolved on matters and ongoing challenges on nursing education, practice and research and emerged with the following congress declaration.
DENOSA Gauteng 8th Provincial Congress Declaration
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Gauteng hosted a successful 9th Provincial Congress at Shumba Valley Lodge in Johannesburg on the 28-30th November 2018 with 150 delegates representing 5 Regions and Learner Movement in the Province, graced by the presence of DENOSA President Comrade Simon Hlungwani DENOSA Deputy General Secretary Comrade Kwena Manamela and our Alliance partners.
The Congress was graced by the presence of the Honourable MEC of Gauteng Health, Dr Gwen Ramakgopa, who addressed the "State of Healthcare in Gauteng and what are the government plans in addressing the experienced challenges".
The Congress received messages of support from the Federation, COSATU represented by the Provincial Chairperson, Cde Amos Moyela and Provincial Secretary, Cde Dumisani Dakile, SACP Provincial Chairperson, Cde Jacob Mamabolo.
The Congress convened under the theme: 'Revitalising Organisational Unity and Cohesion to Advance Member Servicing". We have come to a realisation that DENOSA needs to reposition itself to serve the profession more as a professional nursing organisation, as we defend nurse's rights as workers in the workplace in all the sectors that it is organising.
We therefore resolved on the following:
Nursing Education, Practice and Research
The challenges of non-clinical accompaniment of student nurses have an impact on the kind of the nurse practitioners the system produces. We resolve that Gauteng Department of Health (GDOH) must establish clinical teaching departments in all establishments. Further that CETU be funded and resourced adequately (Human, Financial and Material). That there must be a collaborative relationship between all stakeholders including the South African Nursing Council (SANC).
We also realised that nursing standards are deteriorating and professionalism is compromised. We resolve that nursing ethos and professionalism be reinforced in clinical settings as well as taught at higher nursing education institutions. Further that ethical conduct and ethos of caring be a standing agenda on all meetings of DENOSA at all levels.
We note with concern that medical surveillance is used as a punishment and exclusion tool for student nurses. We therefore resolve that DENOSA ensures that GDOH review the policy on medical surveillance and make its benefits known to all stakeholders, including students.
We further realise that age restriction is also used as an exclusionary measure for access to nursing training programmes and that Department has issued the directive on this matter that seeks to discriminate individuals according to age. We therefore reject the discrimination advanced and call for GDOH to recall that circular as what is advancing is unconstitutional and unlawful.
DENOSA delegates further realised that nursing personnel in particular in the public service is continually abused to perform duties that are outside their scope of practice which are non-nursing duties. When incidents occur, nurses are blamed and held to account. We resolve that DENOSA should develop a position statement on non-nursing duties. The time-frame allocated for its realisation is first quarter of 2019.
Delegates expressed serious dissatisfaction on the escorting of patients by nurses. It has become a norm, especially in the public sector, for nurses to escort patients whilst there are practitioners who are trained for this specific task. The Congress resolved that this matter needs urgent attention and DENOSA needs to engage GDOH. By 30 January, regions must receive feedback. Furthermore, DENOSA needs to conduct a scientific study to establish the extent that this practice compromise patients and nurses and further develop a position statement that is to indicate its position.
Since the inception of community service in nursing, there have been challenges in the system that remain unresolved, and these are experienced both at provincial and national level despite DENOSA's numerous efforts to provide solutions to such. We thus resolve that community services be discontinued as it no longer serves its intended purpose and not assisting the nursing profession. We further call upon SANC to improve its services regarding issuing of completion certificates.
In 2017 the government removed PERSAL system as a method for funding nurse training without consultation, and introduced a bursary system. The introduced bursary system came with many challenges which compromised students and contributed to high failure rates in colleges as well as unnecessary protest actions. We therefore reject this system in all its forms and demand that it be scrapped in totality. We further call on government to reinstate the PERSAL system as it has proven to be an effective model for funding nurse training in this country.
The congress further took a decision that, socio-economic, political, gender and international be deferred to the PEC for their conclusion.