Nothing to celebrate on International Nurses Day – Denosa

Today’s International Nurses Day celebrated the frontliners’ incredible work. But the South African nursing association Denosa said there was nothing to be happy about.

The union shared its frustrations, stating that the recent killing of an on-duty nurse at the Tembisa Hospital, and a male nurse in Cape Town who had to calm down a shooter, are just some of the many incidents that have left the profession shaken.

On Thursday, Denosa president Simon Hlungwani said these violent incidents were enough proof that the employer does not care about the nurses.

“First, the nurses are not celebrated enough considering that they are always ready and willing to save the nation. Everyone saw that during the peak of Covid-19 many people who work in different fields had to go home to keep safe, but the nurses were at work,” said Hlungwani.

He added that although Denosa had engaged relevant stakeholders on numerous occasions, their grievances still had not been met.

He explained: “The nurses are not paid enough, some of them have been in the system for more than 20 years but cannot afford to buy a house or pay for their children’s tuition fees. That is why we cry when the employer says they will not extend the contracts of the nurses who started working during the peak of Covid-19.

“The sad reality that nurses must face every day is working at understaffed facilities, unsafe environments, and have no support offered should they have mental breakdowns because the job on its own is risky.

“What the employer has said so far is not satisfactory, because there are still no danger allowances, there are not enough resources, and there’s a shortage of staff. We hope that we will receive a good response because we will have another meeting with the employer on the 19th of May, but for now, we are not happy.”

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