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Private hospitals 'changed nursing forever'

Oct 15 2014 14:57

Cape Town - The moment big private hospitals started popping up, nursing changed forever, said a nursing sister of close on 30 years.

The nursing sister, Nicci, was one of many adding their voice to the ongoing debate on private hospital costs. She suggested a better nursing council for South Africa to provide a better service to patients and to help put nurses in a better position.

READ: Debate on high private hospital care hots up

In response to a peek behind the scenes in ICU from another concerned nurse, she lamented the training of current nurses, saying "the training one used to receive in a government hospital was real training and real nursing".

Other concerns from other Fin24 users include paltry salaries and a shortage of highly trained ICU staff.

Patients took a back seat

Nicci wrote: I have just read the articles on private health care and would like to add this to the debate.

I have been a nursing sister for almost 30 years. I did my training at a government hospital and worked there for years.

Then I took a position at a private hospital, because at that time the salaries were higher than at the government hospitals.

What I would like to say is: The moment all these big private hospitals started popping up, nursing changed forever.

You were no longer a real nurse with the white uniform and never spent time looking after your patient. Instead of writing long reports on patients, it seems in a private hospital the main thing is for you not to forget to charge. So you end up not looking after the patient any more, but after the hospital.

The training one used to receive in a government hospital was real training and real nursing, but I am afraid today the training is not the same any longer.

Today, the students tell you they are not going to do this and not going to do that. In our day the sister in charge told you what to do and you just got on with it.

I can also understand about the night shift staff found napping. Most of the staff are agency staff and work at another hospital and come on duty to work an extra shift to make more money.

If the nurses were really remunerated properly they would not have to work overtime.

Government salary double

Fin24 user Joan
agreed that there are two sides to private hospital costs.

She gave her side: Firstly, there is a shortage of highly trained ICU staff.

Those nurses whom a Fin24 user found sleeping while on duty in ICU are mostly those being sent by nursing agencies.

In my opinion, most of them are not screened. They are just sent to work, as long as they said they have experience.

READ: Illegal practices horrify ICU nurse

I have worked in private hospital care for a very long time. I started in 1989 as an agency nurse, while I was working for the government. I resigned and went to private hospital care permanently for almost ten years. Now I am back in a government hospital.

Salary-wise I am far better paid. I get enough leave days and my rights are respected. When I am off I rest enough and take care of myself and my family. I can go on and on.

Humiliating salary

Another Fin24 user, a seasoned midwife, wrote:
I have been a registered professional midwife and nurse since 1983. For the past 19 years I have been working for one of the big private hospital groups.

The hospital is a small, but a very popular hospital for birthing. The unit where I'm working is the best, in my as well as a few doctors' opinions.

Sad to say, the service is not always the best in all the units.

My salary is also very humiliating for a "professional" person. I have done the four and a half year Bachelor of Nursing Science (B Cur) degree, thinking it would benefit me salary-wise, but that has not been the case.

Payment of private hospital staff questionedPrivate hospital staff: We are money making machines

- Fin24

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyFin24 have been independently written by members of the Fin24 community. The views of users published on Fin24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent those of Fin24.

health  |  myfin24  |  hospitals


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