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11 May 2006

To be released on 12 May 2006:

International Nurses Day - 12 May 2006

“Safe Staffing in Health Care Saves Lives” 

Today on this occasion of International Nurses Day the South African Nursing Council acknowledges and recognizes the significant contribution that nurses make to health care delivery in South Africa.

Nurses work in challenging health service environments created by a mismatch between the demands for health care and the available resources for health care delivery.

Although the challenges facing nursing is a global one that is not unique to South Africa, we as a country need to seek viable solutions to address these challenges.

The working environments in which Nurses find themselves often compromises their ability to maintain and provide a professional and ethical service to health care users.

On this day commemorating nursing as a profession, the South African Nursing Council would like to highlight key developments that seek to address the challenges facing the nursing profession in the future.

Parliament has considered the Nursing Bill, which is a landmark in the history of the regulation of the nursing profession in South Africa. This Bill will replace the current Nursing Act no. 50 of 1978 which was passed during the apartheid era. The passing of the Nursing Bill will create a new Regulatory framework which will make a fresh beginning for the nursing profession in our new democratic society albeit some 11 years later.

This Nursing Bill considered by parliament aims to ensure that:

bulletThe nursing profession and its members are accountable to society
bulletThe scope of practice of nurses is aligned to health service delivery needs
bulletThe members of the nursing profession will be competent through the introduction of mandatory continuing professional development requirements
bulletA notion of community service is instilled amongst new recruits through compulsory community service
bulletNurses are accountable for providing a high standard of professional and ethical nursing
bulletNursing education is aligned to the provisions of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

Once promulgated, the new Nursing Act will create an enabling environment for the creation of new and a review of all existing Regulations that govern the practice of nursing.

In response to the imminent new legislative framework the South African Nursing Council:

bulletHas reviewed the scope of practice of all categories of nurses and developed a competency framework to ensure that the practice of nurses is in line with the developments and needs of the health sector
bulletIs currently aligning the educational requirements for nurses to the revised scope of practice to ensure that persons entering the nursing profession are skilled, competent and safe practitioners
bulletHas reviewed the ethical rules and practice standards for nursing practice 
bulletIs developing a system for implementing mandatory continuing professional development to ensure that nurses maintain their level of competence

The South African Nursing Council will strive to ensure that nurses are safe and competent practitioners who provide a high standard and professional nursing care to the inhabitants of South Africa.

“Today on this 12th day of May 2006 on behalf of the South African Nursing Council, I pay tribute to all nurses that contribute to our health care system and the health of South Africans,” said Ms Hasina Subedar, the South African Nursing Council CEO and Registrar.

Issued by the South African Nursing Council in Pretoria.

For further enquiries please contact the Communications Officer at 012 420 1000.



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