Fears for nursing students’ safety in Western Cape
“As higher education institutions are preparing to send students for clinical training, we have serious concerns about the spread of Covid-19 as the Western Cape has become the epicentre,” the student movement said.
“Our understanding is that nursing students who will be in health facilities are more at risk of contracting the virus, especially with the already pressured health system that has a shortage of staff and personal protective equipment (PPE) and a high rate of staff infection.
“We identified the risk of student exploitation within health facilities during this trying time and our stance is that students’ exploitation is deplorable.”
They called for no nursing student to work at Covid-19-affected health facilities, including the Tygerberg and Groote Schuur hospitals.
They called for all nursing students to be provided with the appropriate PPE and to undergo Covid-19 training relevant to nursing care and for the provision of transportation for students living on and off campus to their respective destinations, as transportation services were limited and costly.
Provincial Health Department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said the department remained fully committed to the health and safety of all its workers.
“We understand and recognise the anxiety of all health-care workers, including students.
“During this difficult time, it remains really important that we take care of our health staff who need to take care of the most vulnerable sick people in our health system. All efforts are made to ensure the safety of our workforce,” Van der Heever said.