Press Release 1/2014 International Nurses’ Day- 2014


9 May 2014





The 12th of May is a day when nurses globally reflect on and celebrate the meaning and value of their contribution in the health care delivery.  This celebration emanates from the birthday of the Nursing Icon, Florence Nightingale, who made great strides in the development of nursing as a profession.

Nurses form the largest health care workforce hence often referred to, in many spheres, as the backbone of the health care system.  This is indeed demonstrated by nurses coming to the rescue of the health care system in the form of task shifting to meet the dynamic contextual challenges.  For example, when the HIV/AIDS pandemic set in, the nurses began to maintain and later initiate ART under the banner of NIMART.  The NHI is currently being implemented and the nurses are playing the greatest role to ensure universal access and affordability of health care to the South African Community.  The quadruple disease burden has required reshaping the role of even the lower categories of nursing to the extent that a need has arisen that the scope of all categories and curriculum be changed to meet the current challenges in South Africa.  It is therefore not surprising that the theme to celebrate this day for 2014 is:

“Nurses: A force for change – A vital resource for health”

In 2014, the Nurses’ Day coincides with the celebration of the 20 years of democracy which the nurses were part of and aligned themselves with.  Soon after democracy, nurses have formed a democratically elected Nursing Council which has aligned the legislative framework to assist nurses to meet the demands of a health system in transformation.  The South African nurses have been able to meet in numbers to determine their fate in a summit held in 2011, culminating in a compact that gave birth to The Strategic Plan for Nurse Education, Training and Practice 2012/13 – 2016/17.  The Minister of Health, Dr. Motsoaledi has appointed the Chief Nursing Offer to facilitate the implementation of this strategy.  All we need as nurses is to hold hands and find our way forward.

The South African Nursing Council supports all the efforts to meet above mentioned challenges.  For example, the Council has realigned the Scopes of Practice and is transforming Nursing Education at all levels using a consultative process with relevant structures.  This includes formalization of a specialist category to support ever shifting tasks for nurses.

Most importantly, the South African Nursing Council salutes nurses of this country who despite daily pressures and challenges, continue to prioritize the welfare of their patients and continue to keep the lamp of Florence Nightingale burning.  However, the Council urges the South African nurses to keep in mind that nursing is a noble profession and professionalism and ethics must take centre stage in all our endeavours.

The South African Nursing Council hopes, with the support of the South African nurses at all levels and structures, to: Think strategically, act ethically and lead professionally.


Issued by

The Chairperson : Prof B R Bhengu
South African Nursing Council
Cecilia Makiwane Building
P O Box 1123

For more information contact

Ms Party Day Moloi
Tel : 012 426 9542 / 083 496 8366
Fax : 012 426 9554 / 086 231 9094

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