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NC student nurses face unsure future

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“All the first-year students are not attending classes in support of those that may face an uncertain future.”

Pictures: Danie van der Lith

FIRST-year nursing students at the Henrietta Stockdale Nursing College in Kimberley will not be attending any classes or writing exams until they have certainty regarding their futures.

Students protested outside the offices of the MEC for Health from 7am yesterday morning as well as at the entrance to the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital, after they were informed that the South African Nurses Council (SANC) would be reducing its intake to only 40 nurses from the June registrations.

The deputy provincial chairperson of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), Gilbert Sak, indicated that this went against an agreement that provisions would be made for an intake of 90 nursing students in June this year as well as 90 students in January 2019 and another 90 students in July next year.

“This is being done despite commitments to address the backlog and dire shortage of nurses in the Province. This decision comes at a time when students are busy writing their exams, where their futures are hanging in the balance.”

He questioned what criteria would be used to select the 40 nurses and what would become of the excess nurses who had already enrolled for the course.

“All the first-year students are not attending classes in support of those that may face an uncertain future.”

Sak said the MEC for Health had promised to meet with Denosa again tomorrow.

“Until then all students will remain in their residences.”

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), which is also supporting the student nurses, believes that all “excess” nurses should be transferred to other nursing colleges in neighbouring provinces so that they could complete their studies, if the Northern Cape was the only province to be affected

Spokesperson for the MEC for Health, Lebogang Majaha, stated that the MEC, Fufe Makatong, had met with the nursing students and union leaders to listen to their concerns.

“She will investigate the issues raised and provide feedback during the course of the week.”