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Jobs: The issue of the shortage of nurses in SA and how to solve this

Nurses have been crucial in the fight against the Covid-19. Picture: File

Nurses have been crucial in the fight against the Covid-19. Picture: File

Published Jun 16, 2022


Healthcare professionals have undoubtedly been heroes in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic for the past three years. However, South Africa still has a shortage of nurses. Given their importance, why is this the case?

According to Samukeliso Dube, the general manager of medical advisory and health policy organisation, AfroCentric Group, 50 percent of nurses in the country will likely retire within 15 years.

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“This suggests existing shortages of nurses will become even greater unless we take concrete steps to boost nurse training and retention. This shortage of nurses shows no sign of being resolved and remains a problem that highlights just how valuable nurses are,” says Dube.

Donald McMillan, the managing director at Allmed Healthcare Professionals, says healthcare facilities should partner with Temporary Employment Service (TES) providers to solve this shortage.

“Instead of healthcare professionals becoming despondent because they can’t find permanent employment, they should align with reputable TES providers in their industry.

“They will be able to take advantage of multiple temporary opportunities in a variety of healthcare facilities, earning valuable work experience while generating an income,” says McMillan.

He also points to the economy for the insufficient number of these workers.

“As economic conditions tighten in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, more employers will be looking to lessen one of their biggest operating expenses, which is salaries and costs associated with human resources.”

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The Covid-19 pandemic also contributed to this, according to McMillan. “From a psychological perspective, the pandemic took its toll on healthcare workers, and many suffered from exhaustion as a result of a new environment that was totally unknown and stressful.”