KZN Health MEC urges more men to enter the nursing profession, to help other men find it easier to seek medical help

  • Seeking help is not a sign of "weakness," says the MEC;
  • Many men are still uncomfortable or "shy" to speak to nurses about health issues;
  • Department's push for more Men-friendly clinics continues

28 September 2023

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane has urged young men to consider pursuing a career in the nursing profession, so that men in general can find it easier to seek medical help and not die prematurely.

The MEC was speaking in Durban earlier today, during the graduation of 197 nurses (including 56 male nurses) from the KwaZulu-Natal College of Nursing.

The Department provides direct entry students a bursary in the form of a monthly stipend. This stipend assists them with the buying of books, meals, uniform, and accommodation, among other costs.

When it comes to in-service nurses, they are released from work and seconded to the College to study, with full salary and all benefits.

On completion of the course, they are translated into their new nursing category.

To illustrate the true extent and meaning of this investment, the training of a Professional Nurse can cost the Department to up-to R500 000 per student, over a period of four years.

In her keynote address, MEC Simelane congratulated all graduates, and urged men to move away from the misguided notion that they have to be “strong” even when they are sick, and that seeking help is a sign of weakness.

"In our engagements with men during our community outreach programmes, such as Isibaya Samadoda and Ikhosomba Lamajita, we have established that some men are too 'shy' to speak openly to female health practitioners about certain ailments that they might have - especially those that may pertain to their sexual reproductive health - but also other diseases as well.

As result of this, men are simply dying from diseases that are otherwise preventable, treatable or manageable, purely because they do not come to our facilities.

We are saying that the time has come for men to stop dying due to diseases such as prostate cancer, male breast cancer, HIV and AIDS, diabetes, hypertension and many others.

The MEC says her Department will continue to actively promote programmes that will ultimately make most its facilities "Men-Friendly."

"When we delivered the Budget Speech for the 2023/24 financial year, one of the points that we re-iterated quite strongly was the elevation of Men’s Health in the Province.

"This was actually the re-affirmation of a commitment that we made when we assumed office in 2019."

"We have made a commitment that every local municipality must have at least one facility – whether a CHC or 24 hour clinic – that is dedicated to the health of men."

"These facilities will have a male nurse during the day, and after hours.

"Want to make it easy for men to visit healthcare facilities."

The MEC also revealed that the overall representation of men in the Department currently stands at 12% across all nursing categories, and at 20% when it comes to nursing managers.

However, when it comes to the student nurse cohort, men account for 42%, which is a welcome improvement towards the goal that we are pursuing.

"We also note with a great deal of encouragement that 56 men are graduating as male nurses today, which will add to the existing 4088 cohort of male nurses."

"We encourage more men to consider pursuing a career in the nursing profession."

Quoting from an old saying that, "He who does not find time to take care of his health will ultimately have to find time for illness,"MEC Simelane called on all nurses in KwaZulu-Natal not to neglect their our own health, while caring for others.

"Finding the time to take care of our health is not a luxury, but an absolute necessity. It is not an option or an afterthought, but a fundamental priority."

"We therefore encourage regular screening and preventive care among yourselves as well, because it can help detect potential health problems early, making them easier to manage or even prevent."

"So, it is an act of self-preservation, allowing you to be more present and effective in your roles as parents, partners, friends, and professionals."

The MEC then turned her attention to patient care, emphasising the dire need for nurses to advocate and care for patients, instead of poor staff attitude and engaging in other forms of misconduct.

"It's not all nurses who are unfriendly or act unprofessionally; but if one or two have a bad attitude, it then spoils the name and good work of all the other nurses."

"Do not be that single bad element who gives everyone else a bad name. Do not let your actions tarnish the image of your facility, our Department, the community that you come from, and the nursing profession at large.

Always remember the commitments that you’ve made in the Nurses’ Pledge, and stick to them.

"Remember that you have the power to heal, to comfort, and to inspire."


Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health

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This page last edited on 29 September, 2023

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