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International Nurses Day: Issues of outdated training, shortage of qualified nurses raised

The nursing industry is facing some big challenges which need to be addressed urgently to administer the correct service delivery. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

The nursing industry is facing some big challenges which need to be addressed urgently to administer the correct service delivery. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 12, 2022

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Cape Town - In celebrating International Nurses Day today, many nurses deserve praise and recognition for their excellent service, especially during the pandemic.

Nurses play an important role in the care they provide in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) looking after the elderly.

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Emerentia Nicholson and Anneleen Damons, from the University of Stellenbosch’s Department of Nursery and Midwifery, have found some huge challenges that the nursing industry is currently facing.

They conducted a study in which nurses indicated that their outdated medication training had an impact on the processes they follow when administering medication.

Some pointed out that they did not receive training on the effect and side effects of common medications and on pre-checks before administering them.

The study showed that only 15% of the nurses received the mandatory six monthly in-service medication training prescribed by the Department of Health, with 35% of participants receiving their last medication training more than five years ago.

It showed that one of the biggest setbacks to the nursing industry is the shortage of qualified nurses. This then leads to task-shifting, where qualified nurses work outside their required level. It also means nurses work into their years of retirement

“Although nurses’ skills and knowledge of tasks such as medication administration increase with work experience, older nurses experience diminishing physical abilities and find the mental demands, paperwork, and technology to be barriers. Also, older nurses have an increased risk of acquiring severe illnesses because of Covid-19,” said Nicholson

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She added there are ways to improve things. Creating succession plans within facilities to balance the experienced but ageing workforce, with recruiting younger nurses, would include short courses, diploma, undergraduate or postgraduate gerontology with a focus on elderly care to improve clinical practices.

Future research should look at the nurses in long-term care facilities and how not having those properly qualified, will hinder the the delegation of medication administration to lower categories of nurses, beyond their scope of practice, which can impact medication administration processes.

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