11 May 2017


The Nursing Strategy Vision: Quality, person-centered nursing care

International Nurses Day is celebrated by nurses globally on the 12th of May annually. In recognition of this important day in the nursing calendar, this year the Minister will be Launching the Provincial Nursing Strategy

The first point of contact with the health system in the country is likely to be via a nurse – they form the backbone of the health system. The health environment is characterized by a high service pressure load and a high burden of disease. It is thus critical that the Department ensures that the nursing profession remains well skilled and that we plan adequately for the future. In association with national guidelines, professional bodies and Higher Education Institutions, WCGH has developed a Provincial Nursing Strategy to address this challenge.

“We need to ensure that we have the right type of people, with the right type of skills in the profession” states Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, MEC for Health in Western Cape. A nurse by profession, she feels passionate about ensuring that patients are treated well and that nurses are well trained.

While the Department has filled 96% of all funded nursing posts, and provided maximum funding for nurse training, the demand for nursing skills nationally, still outweighs the resources currently available. A detailed look at the problem revealed the following picture (as per the provincial Nursing Strategy):

·            inconsistent quality of nursing practice across nursing interventions

·            skills mix not being aligned with service needs

·            regulatory constraints impacting on the scope of practice

·            mismatch between supply and demand with specific focus on specialty nursing

·            leadership & accountability challenges (especially for operational managers)

·            uneven support, supervision, mentoring and coaching available to nurses

·            roles and responsibilities of nurses/nurse managers (especially operational managers) are unclear          and poorly defined

By launching the Provincial Nursing Strategy for implementation on International Nursing Day 2017, the Department has set in motion a key tool in addressing these challenges as it provides a blue print for nursing towards achieving the priorities of Health Care 2030.

The strategy has the following concrete objectives:    

1.    Ensure consistency in the quality of nursing practice across nursing interventions through strengthening nursing leadership and governance structures

2.    Provide clarity on the application and interpretations of different scopes of practice for nurses and to use the scope of practice as an enabler

3.    Capacitate nurse managers in leadership & accountability

4.    Provide support, supervision, mentoring and coaching through more support visits to the districts and hospitals

5.    Develop mentoring and coaching programme for nurse managers

6.    Provide clarity on the roles and responsibilities of nurses/nurse managers (especially operational managers) through engagement sessions

7.    Establish synergy between supply and demand with specific focus on specialty nursing

8.    Align skills mix with service needs by reviewing the ratio of speciality posts and general posts in clinical units across the service platform

9.    Implement Continuous Professional Development pilot for nurses/midwives one tertiary/regional and district hospital

Dr Beth Engelbrecht, Head of Department, adds the following:…”with nurses making up approximately 40% of our workforce, we want to focus on ensuring that we train more specialty nurses and we also want to ensure that nurses’ management skills receive more attention. In the pressurized environment they need the right clinical skills, but they also need management skills – with emphasis on the soft skills, to ensure the right patient experience. This is what we mean by Quality, Person-Centered Care”.


Name:            Vyjayanthimala van Heerden

Title:                Clinical Nurse Educator

Facility:          New Somerset Hospital                                                

Nurses should never stop improving their education and clinical experience. The workplace today is as much a part of on-going education in the respective fields for nurses as colleges and other educational institutions are. 

With more than 25 years’ experience in the nursing profession, Vyjayanthimala van Heerden’s, daily duties focus on evaluating, recommending, creating and incorporating both non-clinical and clinical programmes that will improve medical practices for patient well-being.

van Heerden launched SIP ‘Sharing/Saving is Possible’, an innovative project which focuses on providing the public and staff with key informative messages relating to various topics such as the usage of blood products, medication administration and legalities of prescriptions, handwashing and record keeping.

“Each month I have a specific topic, using placards I become a human billboard, I walk down the corridors explaining to passers-by the contents of the poster. This method has successfully improved the knowledge and understanding of both staff members and clients on a variety of topics,” highlights van Heerden.

Sr van Heerden also implemented other communication mediums, such as newsletters, posters and pamphlets. Following the implementation of the ‘Patient feedback’ system - patients are able to provide feedback relating to service delivery. To date, 80% of patient feedback has been positive.


Name:            Aghmat Mohamed

Title:                Senior Nurse Manager

Facility:          Groote Schuur Hospital

Aghmat Mohamed, senior manager of nursing services at Groote Schuur Hospital’s nursing journey started 21 years ago at the Nico Malan Nursing College in Athlone, where he did his diploma in nursing. He had been inspired since grade 7 by a district nurse who cared for his grandmother.

Since qualifying he has worked at Red Cross Children’s Hospital (paediatric cardiac intensive care unit), Woodstock Hospital (emergency department), reproductive health, district nursing and chronic disease management clinics as well as community psychiatry at Woodstock and the satellite clinics in Maitland and Kensington.

During his illustrious career he had also assisted with the planning of the community health centre in Green Point and became the facility manager at the Brooklyn health centre. He spent 11 years in Ireland teaching at colleges and furthering his studies.

Back in South Africa after a stint in the private sector, he returned to his roots to take up the post of deputy manager at Groote Schuur. “I always knew that I wanted to be here where the journey started. It’s the start of another exciting journey.”

Mohamed, who lives in Woodstock hopes his story is an inspiration for young people facing disadvantages. “I never forget my roots in Manenberg and I am proud of where I come from,” he says. “My message to the youth is that they must strive to make a positive future for themselves. It won’t be easy but they must always believe in themselves.”


Name:            Charlotte Stemmet

Title:                Clinical Nurse Practitioner

Facility:          Ceres

Sr Charlotte Stemmet started working at the WCDH Worcestor Hospital Obstetrics Unit and MOU at Maria Pieterse Clinic in 1990.

A decade later she started working as a clinical nurse practitioner working in community health where she started the PHC clinic in Ceres and established Siyakatala health forum in Nduli-Ceres, a soup kitchen, a sustainable vegetable garden, a halfway house for HIV patients and the coordination of community care workers.  She has continued to work in community health in Robertson/Bonnievale and the Worcestor Bossieveld Mobile Clinic.

She truly believes that mobile clinics take health services to the patients, as many patients in the areas where she works, do not have transport. She believes that these mobiles help facilitate a better health outcome for the patient as well as the community.

“Come rain, shine, wind, snow or sleet, Sister Stemmet packs the mobile clinic and sets off on the gravel roads that surround the farms, to offer a comprehensive primary healthcare service that includes mother and baby services, HIV and TB counselling, testing and treatment, child health, chronic diseases management and women’s health.

Stemmet was recently accredited her masters in nursing degree for the anecdotal research she did in the perceptions and experiences of the nurses about the mobile clinic work environment. 

Media Enquiries: 

Zimkhitha Mquteni
Spokesperson to the Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo
Mobile: 078 0534451
Tel: 021 483 5862
Western Cape Government: Health