hospitals and an overworked nursing staff is the cause of low productivity and
an increase in the risk of serious errors in our hospitals.
according to Prof Magda Mulder, Head of the School of Nursing at the University
of the Free State (UFS).
responded to a study concerning the impact on the health sector of nursing
staff working overtime and doing extra and part-time work.
by Prof Leatitia Rispel from the Wits Centre for Public Health, found that a
third of the 3 700 nurses included in the study, is doing extra work. About 60%
indicated that they work extra hours at their current employer and more than
40% also work at other hospitals during their off hours (moonlighting). These
are the ways in which nursing staff try to keep head above water financially.
said the findings of the study are only the tip of the iceberg. She mentioned several factors needing
thorough investigation in order to address nursing care in the country.
occupancy in many private hospitals is often more than 100%. This increases the
workload on the nursing staff. Employers often deliberately use contract
workers and specifically nursing staff of a lower category, as this is
financially more profitable.”
nursing agencies that place temporary nursing staff at hospitals, and sometimes
even professional nursing staff, often exploit the situation.
agencies, as well as employers, should be legally regulated. Sometimes the
legislation is in place, but it is not enforced effectively. Some nurses work
more than the maximum hours per week and it is not controlled by the employer.
In critical care units this may cause burnout among staff, low productivity and
a high risk of serious errors. This may cost patients their lives.”