oa Curationis - Perceptions of newly-qualified nurses performing compulsory community service in KwaZulu-Natal : original research
Background: Compulsory community service (CCS) for nurses commenced in South Africa in January 2008 after it was legislated in the new Nursing Act (Act No. 33 of 2005). Nurses completing their registered nurse programme are registered as community nurse practitioners (CNPs) during the CCS period and make up the largest number of health professionals serving CCS. Whilst health institutions have welcomed CNPs as additional resources for the shortage of nursing staff, no structured guidelines have been provided at a regional level as to how these nurses should be utilised or managed during the CCS year. To date, no large-scale study has been conducted on nurses carrying out CCS in order to generalise the findings.
Objectives: To establish the perceptions of newly-qualified nurses carrying out CCS in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Method: A quantitative survey design was used to obtain data from a randomly selected sample of the 2012 cohort of nurses carrying out CCS in KwaZulu-Natal.
Results: CNPs have a positive attitude toward CCS and perceive themselves as being well prepared for the year of community service in terms of knowledge, skills and ability to administer nursing care. They identified positive benefits of the year of community service. The concerns raised were limited orientation and support; and a few CNPs experienced problems of acceptance by the nurses with whom they work.
Conclusion: It is recommended that all health institutions who receive CNPs develop structured orientation and support for these nurses in order to promote their development, thereby enhancing their benefit to the communities they serve.
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