Durban - Google is one of the biggest problems health-care workers face, says Anne Williamson, the recent recipient of Life Healthcare’s national Nursing Practice Leadership Excellence Award.
Williamson, who was speaking in general about the profession to which she had dedicated her life, said Google was a common bone of contention between patients and practitioners.
“Patients often Google their surgery, treatment or medication and expect these to be administered in accordance with the website they have read. As a result, real-life situations are being compared to what websites – not all legitimate – have to say, without even consideration for individual circumstances.
“Nurses often find themselves in a situation where they have to explain that practice cannot be as prescriptive.”
Williamson, who began nursing at Life Entabeni Hospital in 1977, said hospitals were different these days.
“About 12 years ago the brain drain was an issue; nowadays, most nurses who leave KwaZulu-Natal do so for other parts of the country and primarily for better packages.
“It’s important for the public to understand that those who nurse do it for the love of the job. It certainly isn’t a lucrative profession and it’s a long day, with most nurses working 12-hour shifts.”
The 62-year-old nursing manager said nurses who had their training years ago must function in an ever-evolving environment.
“The hospital environment is dynamic. When I began at Entabeni it was a kind of cottage hospital; today it is incredibly hi-tech. Nurses have to be versatile and resilient, as the only constant in health care is change.
“What is gratifying is the recognition nurses receive today. Modern doctors see them as partners on the job. Often the doctor will ‘pop in’ but it is the nurses who are with the patients all day.
“New doctors are amenable to suggestion and nurses are made to feel as though they play a valuable role.” - The Mercury