DENOSA student movement Western Cape provincial statement on returning of nursing students to clinical training at health facilities

DENOSA Western Cape Provincial Student Movement (PSM) acknowledge the concerns and the challenges faced by our colleagues during these trying times when the world is faced with the Covid-19 Pandemic. Firstly we would like to commend and applaud all those unsung heroes who are on the frontlines of combating this deadly virus and ensuring the safety of the Nation, mainly the underpaid and unfairly treated “Nurses” in all corners of the Nation. We say that your bravery and resilience will never go unnoticed. Continue with the good fight as this is the year of the Nurse’s and Midwives.

We welcome the Department of Higher Education and Training Meeting held on 20 May 2020 on steps taken to ensure Responsiveness to COVID 19 imperatives in University Education #SaveThe AcademicYear #SavesLives. We support the students returning to Higher Education Institutions as indicated in the document in accordance with the different levels of lockdown. Currently, on level 3, only 33% of the student population that may return to the campus. The Higher Education Institutions have lockdown protocols that must be adhered to ensure the safety of all students.

As Higher Education Institutions are preparing to send students for clinical training to Health Facilities, we have serious concerns about the spread of COVID 19 virus as the Western Cape has become the Epicentre for Covid 19. Our understanding indicates that Nursing Students that will be in Health Facilities are more at risk of contracting the virus, especially with the already pressurized health system that has a shortage of staff and PPE and a high rates of staff infection. We identified the risk of student exploitation within the Health Facilities during this trying time and our stance is that student’s exploitation is deplorable and that student should be prevented from being infected with COVID 19. We support the fact that students obtain practical exposure, relevant to the clinical component, which is a requirement by the institution and SANC during the time of placement.

Nursing students will not be used as a substitute for the shortage of staff by the Department of Health. Any form of exploitation of these students should be dealt with as an offense and the student should be compensated for the misutilisation.
No nursing student should work at Covid 19 designated health facilities especially Tygerberg and Groote Schuur.
All nursing students will only be doing practical experience within stipulated clinical placements.

All nursing students will at all times be provided with the appropriate PPE and undergo COVID19 training relevant to nursing care.
Should a student contract the virus from Health Facilities, they should benefit in term of COIDA (130 OF 1993 as amended) or equal compensation or intervention.
Provision of transportation of students residing on and off campus to respective destinations, as transportation services are limited and costly, bearing in mind some bursary stipends have been discontinued during the lockdown.
If the Higher Education Institutions fail to ensure the safety of students on its campuses, they should be held responsible by the Department of Higher Education. According to our understanding, some institutions have poor infrastructure and no medical facilities. Health Facilities that cannot provide students with daily screening, necessary PPE or relevant COVID19 training should be reported and dealt with. Failure to adhere to lockdown regulations by Institutions is an unforgivable offense warranting closure.

We are saying away with this tendency of using students for cheap labour
Keep our nurses safe
Statement issued by: DENOSA Western Cape Student Movement

Enquiries can be made by the following
Mxolisi Shange
PSM Chairperson
060 968 2238

Fanny Ferris
PSM Secretary
071 633 9074