The world over is celebrating International Nurses Day on 12 May, a day in which the nursing fraternity pays tribute to the founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale. In light of this year’s theme ‘Closing the gap: from Evidence to Action’, it is essential that nurses provide nursing care that is responsive to and is informed by the healthcare needs of the country. “In other words we ought to provide nursing care that is in line with and is consistent with the realities and challenges in the healthcare of this country”, Matebeni says.
“The theme of this year’s event, “Closing the Gap: From evidence to Action”, is intended to empower nurses to identify what evidence to use, how to interpret that evidence, how to put that knowledge into everyday use, and how to identify whether the anticipated outcomes are sufficiently important to change practice and use precious resources that may be needed elsewhere”, Matebeni adds.
The newly conceived National Health Insurance (NHI) will undoubtedly and predominantly require a strengthened nursing cadre equipped with skills necessary to tackle healthcare challenges of this country. In celebrating the IND as nurses, we ought to do so mindful of the health human resource challenges of the country in the wake of the oncoming National Health Insurance. “The system will demand dedicated and diversely skilled nursing personnel and this speaks to the importance of utilization of the skills pool already in existence in the country whilst simultaneously producing skilled nursing personnel for the newly established NHI”, DENOSA General Secretary Thembeka Gwagwa explains.
The 10 districts identified as pilot areas for the NHI will provide an opportunity for data gathering on the experiences of nurses within the NHI system and it is in the hands of DENOSA as a nurses’ organization to undertake such an exercise in ensuring that gaps identified from the pilots are indeed bridged.
“Data gathered from this exercise will form the basis for evidence based practice in nursing within the NHI. In turn, the empirical findings will assist in identifying loopholes within this system and recommendations will then be made accordingly as to the areas of improvement”, says Gwagwa.
“It is therefore essential that as nurses we do not miss the opportunity to actively partake and form part of this great milestone in the development and enhancement of the healthcare system of this country”, she adds.
The success or failure of the NHI system will heavily rely on the nursing personnel and it is therefore within us to uplift the standard of healthcare in the country within this system.