The Durban University of Technology (DUT) Nursing Department hosted the annual International Nurses Day on 11 May 2018 at BC0216, Steve Biko Library Complex, Steve Biko Campus to commemorate this significant day within the nursing profession under the theme, “The Right to Health”.
The DUT Nursing Department took a decision last year, 2017 that it is going to observe this day annually. This year they hosted Professor Anne Matthews from the Dublin City University’s School of Nursing & Human Sciences as the Guest Speaker.
Prof Matthews expressed her gratitude for the invitation extended to her by the DUT Nursing Department, adding that she now feels like part of the family, having visited the University on about 7 different occasions.
During her address she urged student nurses and staff members from DUT’s Nursing Department to ask themselves two critical questions, what is nursing and what does the society require from nurses? “This day for us is about reflection. We need to think about where we are today as nurses and what we need to do. Individually as nurses we need to to ask ourselves, what am I doing and what can I do differently?” said Prof Matthews.
“It is very difficult to say that health is a human right because health is influenced by a lot of things, and some of them are within our control. What we can say is that everybody should have access to health care that is affordable and safe, and unfortunately we are failing all around the world in that, some have more some have less and this is related to how much money people are worth. So this directly says nurses need to be active and campaign to bring about equal health care for all people of all ages and economic statuses,” she added.
She advised nurses to be united and collectively find solutions to their own challenges as nurses. “Nurses and other health care professionals need a positive environment, safe environment, with proper pay with access to resources and education in order to be able to do their job. As nurses we also need to think about about our own rights, and how do we support each other. In nursing we have a sense that we are our biggest assets to each other, we have that sense of camaraderie which is something that you don’t often get from other occupation,” she said
DUT’s Faculty of Health Sciences, Executive Dean, Prof Nokuthula Sibiya said while it is important for nurses to always think about the wellbeing of patients, but in the process nurses should not neglect their own health because they can’t take care of patients if they are not healthy themselves. “How often do nurses take early retirement because of ill-health? My message to nurses is, please take care of yourselves,” she said.
This event was attended by staff and students from DUT’s Nursing Department, as well as other external stakeholders including representatives from eThekwini Municipality and KwaZulu-Natal College of Nursing.
Pictured: DUT Nursing Department students performing a musical item during the commemoration of the International Nurses Day last week at Steve Biko Campus.