The Gauteng Health Department has signed the statute paving the way for the establishment of a single government-operated nursing college in the province known as the Gauteng College of Nursing (GCoN).
Following the signing of the statute on Wednesday, the GCoN forms the umbrella organisation for known nursing colleges such as Chris Hani Baragwanath, Bonalesedi, Rahima Moosa, Ann Latsky, SG Lourens and Garankuwa.
Under this new arrangement, the various provincial nursing colleges will be regarded as campuses under GCoN administration.
The responsibilities of the college will be to ensure standardisation of systems and procedures including standard operation procedures for staffing, recruitment of students, curriculum development and implementation, targets and quality assurance.
"Although the Gauteng College of Nursing will be launched in due time, there has been an urgency for the statute to be signed to allow the processes of centralising functions of the campuses into one central unit.
"I look forward to the transformation of nursing practice in Gauteng and I am convinced that the Gauteng College of Nursing is an important step towards this transformation. More so, as this relates to the strengthening of Primary Health Care in preparation for the roll-out of the NHI [National Health Insurance]," said Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku at the signing of the statute in Johannesburg.
The GCoN stems from the National Strategic Plan for Nurse Education, Training and Practice Strategy compiled by Ministerial Task Team appointed in 2011 by the Health Minister.
In the nursing strategic plan, it was recommended that nursing education should offer higher education programmes in line with the National Qualification Framework Act 67 of 2008, to bring nursing professions in line with other professions.
The GCoN has received the full accreditation from the Council of Higher Education, South African Nursing Council, and has been registered by South African Qualification Authority (SAQA). The signing of the statute is in line with Higher Education Act 101 of 1997.
"This commitment reflects how as a department we have prioritised improvement of patient's experience of care in our facilities, a priority that is intertwined with the nursing practice, nurses are mainly first point of contact with the department that the public interfaces with.
"We recognise that although the nursing practice is one of oldest professions, it is still very important that it continuously evolves to meet the needs of the professions specifically as this relates to quality assurance and providing quality healthcare services to those we serve," said Masuku.
With Gauteng producing 600 and 950 professional nurses every year, the college is expected to lead to better output in terms of the quality of healthcare workers that are trained at the institution.