As the opening of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) draws closer, the NMCH Trust joins the world in celebrating International Nurses Day on Thursday, 12 May 2016. The significant and life-changing role that nurses play in the global healthcare system cannot be overstated; the medical and personal care they provide to patients is crucial to clinical services.
NMCH will be the second dedicated paediatric hospital in South Africa and the fifth on the continent. The 200-bed hospital will be a world-class, specialist paediatric, academic and tertiary referral hospital providing child centred best-quality medical services to the children of Southern Africa. Located adjacent to Wits University’s Medical School in Parktown, Johannesburg, and within the Gauteng medical circuit, the hospital will allow for paediatric academic teaching access thereby maximising operational efficiencies and staffing models.
The conceptualisation of a tertiary high-care facility is an opportunity to develop a pool of highly specialised nursing professionals and inject much needed capacity into the paediatric nursing services. The current shortage of nurses globally and paediatric nurses in Southern Africa, is part of a larger crisis in healthcare that is exacerbated by the continents’ lack of adequate health infrastructure and young population. The NMCH Trust approached donors and the government for much-needed training funding. The National Skills Fund, USAID and Nedbank have all contributed to the training programme.
In the months preceding the opening all staff will be undergo orientation, as the hospital is a unique child-centred, tertiary environment. Once the hospital is open this training will be augmented to include, in-service education, on-going evaluation and academic research – where nurses will contribute to and initiate topics.
It is envisaged that the hospital will employ approximately 451 paediatric nursing professionals and 150 doctors, as well as allied services. “Through the fellowship programme funded by National Skills Fund, we are up-skilling nurses to paediatric specialities that will be treated at the hospital when it opens,” says Ncediwe Stemela, Lead Nurse: Clinical Services.
“We, as the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, truly believe that nursing is a calling and those who follow this calling fill an indelible gap in any patient’s healing. We look forward to opening our own facility – which will be a nurse-involved facility at all levels, from one-on-one patient treatment to executive level,” says Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO of NMCH Trust.