Young men urged to consider nursing as a career

South Africa – KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane, has urged young men to consider pursuing a career in the nursing profession .

Simelane made the call during the graduation ceremony of 197 nurses, including 56 male nurses, from the KwaZulu-Natal College of Nursing .

“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 a 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,” Simelane said .

The MEC said the 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 (community health centre) or a 24-hour clinic – that is dedicated to the health of men .

These facilities will have a male nurse during the day, and after hours [because] we want to make it easy for men to visit healthcare facilities,” Simelane said .

The MEC also noted 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, she said, 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 4 088 cohort of male nurses .

We encourage more men to consider pursuing a career in the nursing profession,” Simelane said .

The MEC also called on all nurses in KwaZulu-Natal not to neglect their 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,” the MEC said .

Turning her attention to patient care, Simelane emphasised the need for nurses to advocate and care for patients .

“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,” Simelane said .