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COVID-19 redefines nursing role: expert



Staff Reporter

The COVID-19 pandemic has grossly affected the work of nurses over the past year forcing them to adjust the way they conduct themselves and how they assist those seeking medical help, an expert has said.

A senior researcher and lecturer at the School of Nursing at the University of the Free State, Dr Champion Nyoni, says the role of nurses as the frontliners of the healthcare system cannot be overstated as they have been key to ensuring those in need of help are assisted, despite the risk to their own lives.

“A lot has happened in 2020 and more will happen in the future,” said Nyoni in a statement released by the UFS on the occasion of the International Nurses Day.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought various challenges to the healthcare system and nurses have been at the coalface of these challenges,” he added.

“The mental health of nurses has been challenged, their resilience tested and their teamwork strengthened.”

Commemorated around the world on May 12, the International Nurses Day celebrates the contribution of nurses to the healthcare of individuals, societies and communities.

The theme for this year is “Nurses: A Voice to Lead”. It is underlined by the sub-theme “A Vision for Future Healthcare”.

“In the future, a collective approach related to the function and role of nurses needs to be enhanced,” said Nyoni.

“The growth of the nursing profession is essential and nurses will continue this work through enhancing their professional identity, their professional role, their own research, and also through teamwork with other professionals.”

Nyoni said the future of nursing is bright, thanks to the rapid advancements in the professionalisation of this important field over the past 60 years – from being an altruistic occupation to a profession with a legal status in many countries.

He said the science of nursing has been growing exponentially, with several nursing-specific research and research led by nursing scientists.

According to Nyoni, the impact of nursing research continues to be aligned with improved healthcare and health outcomes in many settings across the globe.

“Nurses continue to be celebrated for their tireless efforts in influencing healthcare and health outcomes, in addition to being the single largest health professional body in the world,” he said.

“The world requires more professional nurses, not only by qualification but by necessary and appropriate context-specific competencies aimed at universal healthcare.

“Nurses have to look towards negotiating new healthcare spaces where their professional roles, though indispensable, are aligned with future population healthcare needs.

“In the same vein, the nurse of the future needs to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its potential influence on the profession.”

The nursing lecturer said the UFS School of Nursing is at the forefront of nursing education in South Africa in terms of preparing competent professional nurses who meet the healthcare needs of our population and the future.

“Our undergraduate programme is aligned with the primary healthcare approach, which is a complex healthcare model that underpins the health delivery system in South Africa and many low- and middle-income countries,” said Nyoni, who became the first UFS staff member and only the third African to win the prestigious Sigma Emerging Nurse Researcher/Scholar Award.

“Through state-of-the art facilities, our students engage with top nursing experts who facilitate and guide their learning.”

Nyoni stressed that the postgraduate nursing programmes at the UFS were driven towards producing independent thinkers who are able to significantly contribute to the development of nursing and healthcare, not only in South Africa but also in the rest of Africa as the students are drawn from all over the continent. ؘ

The students are challenged to engage in research that makes a contribution to their own nursing practice and context.

Two established research niche areas drive the research agenda in the School of Nursing, namely the ‘transfer of learning’ and ‘health communications’ research niche areas.

In the transfer of learning through the research niches, various research projects are in place – all aimed at improving the quality of nursing education, which in turn result in quality graduates who will influence health outcomes.

“Currently, various projects such as ‘emotional intelligence in nursing’, ‘online education of clinical preceptors’, ‘professional identity in nursing’, ‘self-directedness among nursing students’, and ‘extended reality in nursing education’ are some of the ongoing research projects aimed at improving the nursing education agenda and improving student experiences of nursing education,” said Nyoni.

He said in the health communication research niche, several projects have been initiated in South Africa, Lesotho and Kenya, and have been reported in several national and international fora.

Both of these research niche areas are engaged in national, Africa-wide, and global research collaborations.

A new research centre in the School of Nursing is about to be launched, focusing on reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health.

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Municipal manager facing tender fraud charges granted bail



THE ACCUSED . . . Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha is out on bail

Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha, 49, was on Friday released on a bail of R500 000 by the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrates Court after he was arrested by The Hawks for fraud, corruption and Contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The state alleges that he allegedly awarded a contract of R58 million to Kill Crime Security Company in 2020 without following proper procurement processes.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said Mothamaha allegedly signed a service level agreement on May 19, 2020, appointing the company to render security services to the municipality for a period of three months without following procurement processes.

“The municipality continued to pay Kill Crime Security Company for almost two years without a contract,” said Shuping.

He said Mothamaha was supposed to appear with his co-accused, father and daughter who are the owners of Kill Crime Security, Thabiso, 55, and Dimakatso Sekhosana, 29, on Monday after they were instructed by The Hawks to hand themselves over on Sunday, but he failed to do so.

The Sekhosanas appeared on Monday facing similar charges and were released on bail of R150 000 each.

Part of Mothamaha’s bail conditions are that he must not enter the offices of the municipality, not interfere with the investigations nor intimidate witnesses.

The case was postponed to September 30 for further investigations. – Staff Reporter

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Six nabbed for alleged theft of network batteries



NABBED . . .  The six men believed to have stolen network batteries and damaged critical infrastructure

 Six men were due to appear in the Marquard Magistrates Court on Friday after being found in possession of eight network batteries believed to have been stolen.

Police spokesperson for the eastern Free State, Warrant Officer Mmako Mophiring, said the suspects were arrested following a joint effort by members of the SA Police Service, private security and farmers.

He said police received information from the community at about 3am last Wednesday saying some unknown men were digging up network boxes and cutting copper inside a manhole.

“The police activated and mobilised other members and arrested the first suspect who is a foreign national near a filling station while sitting inside a vehicle,” said Mophiring.

The man was arrested for possession of suspected stolen property after eight network power box batteries were found in his possession and failed to properly account for them.

While pursuing the matter with the help of some farmers, the police received information at about 8am that some five men were trying to hitch-hike near a certain farm to Senekal.

“The team quickly responded and arrested the three suspects who were successfully linked to the initially arrested suspect. Two other suspects managed to escape but were chased and arrested near a farm going to Senekal. Four of the six suspects are Illegal immigrants and two are South Africans,” he explained.

The six are aged between 23 and 30 years of age.

They are facing charges of contravening the Immigration Act, possession of suspected stolen property and damage of infrastructure.

Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane applauded the community and the team for the prompt arrests and urged them to “continue working together to fight crime”.

Meanwhile, three suspected armed robbers were sniffed out of their hideout in Thaba Nchu near Serwalo on Thursday morning following a petrol station robbery.

Police spokesperson in Mangaung, Sergeant Mahlomola Kareli, said in a separate statement four armed robbers arrived at the petrol garage just after midnight on Wednesday and threatened the security guard with a firearm before tying him up with wire and fleeing the scene with a undisclosed amount of cash and cans of motor vehicle oil.

The suspects demanded keys from the guard and gained access to the back offices.

And while others were busy helping themselves to the oil cans and cigarettes, others were busy grinding the safe to access the money inside.

The four then left the security guard with his hands and feet tightly fastened with a wire.

The guard was only rescued by staff starting duty at 5am.

The matter was reported to the police and a case of armed robbery was opened at Thaba Nchu Police Station and a manhunt was launched.

Luck ran out for three of the suspects aged between 38 and 40 after they were traced and found near Serwalo in Thaba Nchu at about 2am on Thursday and were arrested.

They were found with an undisclosed amount of money suspected to have been stolen during the robbery.

One suspect remains at large.

The three were due to appear in the Thaba Nchu Magistrates Court on Friday for business robbery. – Staff Reporter

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Garden scissor attacker nabbed



THE CRIME TOOL . . . A 64-year-old man allegedly used this garden scissor to attack a man and his family

A 64-year-old man has been arrested after stabbing one person in the stomach with a broken garden scissor and injuring the victim’s family while holding them hostage.

Police say they were called to a place in Verkeerdevlei on Wednesday evening where a person had been stabbed in the stomach.

Upon arrival, they found a 53-year-old man who had been stabbed in the stomach with the broken scissor.

The suspect had already fled the scene.

“The victim was taken to hospital for medical treatment,” said Captain Stephen Thakeng in a brief statement.

Further investigations revealed that the same suspect went to the house of the victim’s 36-year-old daughter house where he held her and her two children – aged 13 and 15 – hostage.

“Tactical Response Team (TRT) members from Park Road were activated at about 21:30 and it was realised that the suspect was holding (the family) hostage in a three-roomed shack,” said Thakeng.

“The TRT members gained entry into the shack and rescued the three from the suspect.

“The three victims were also stabbed with the same half part of the big scissor.”

The suspect is facing a charge of attempted murder and three counts of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He will appear in the Verkeerdevlei Magistrates Court soon.

THE CRIME TOOL . . . A 64-year-old man allegedly used this garden scissor to attack a man and his family

Meanwhile, a man believed to be terrorising tuckshop owners around Bothaville was arrested on Wednesday following a tip-off by community members.

Police say they received information about a man with a firearm and who might be involved in robberies of tuck shops of foreign nationals at about 16:30.

The suspect’s house in Kgotsong was identified and members of Bothaville Crime Prevention approached it and asked for permission to search the place.

They were granted permission and a 9mm pistol was found and a 27-year-old man from Potchefstroom was arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The suspect will appear in the Bothaville Magistrates Court soon. – Staff Reporter

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