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Healthcare Trends 2018

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#WomensMonth: Nursing education creates empowerment

In South Africa, only 28% of senior management positions are held by women. While this percentage is higher than last year, the percentage of women business leaders has not changed significantly since the research began 13 years ago, when this figure was 26%.
Dr Sharon Vasuthevan, group nursing and quality executive at Life Healthcare
So, there’s a need to support and empower women through education, says Dr Sharon Vasuthevan, group nursing and quality executive at Life Healthcare. “At our Life College of Learning, we are able to develop many South African women through our various nursing and health sciences courses.

“Our business model ensures we retain and develop nursing staff while giving them access to career development opportunities. This approach then creates a large pool of competent nurses, and helps alleviate the national healthcare skills shortage,” she adds.

Education options

“There are several options one can consider to become a registered nurse. School leavers can start in a college and follow a diploma programme in nursing or attend a university and obtain a degree in nursing. Both options lead to registration as a nurse. The advantage of the degree is that it allows one to pursue an academic career which can ultimately lead to a PhD in nursing,” she says.

“Once qualified as a nurse, there are development opportunities in further studies with a view to becoming a specialist nurse both in clinical and non-clinical areas. Some of these specialist areas include critical care, operating theatre nursing, primary healthcare, occupational healthcare, education and management.

“Tremendous leadership opportunities exist for nurses. They just have to be open to opportunities during their day-to-day work,” says Vasuthevan.

Community involvement projects

While nursing and health sciences remain the core focus of the programmes, the college offers life skills workshops that cover a range of topics including managing finances, time management and stress management. There are also several related activities throughout the year, such as career days and community involvement projects (CIPs), which assist the students make informed career choices.

“Ultimately, the impact of the college extends far beyond the lives of our students. In fact, the primary purpose of many of our CIP projects is to support communities in a constructive way, so that there is meaningful and sustainable upliftment in the areas within which we co-exist,” says Vasuthevan.

Life College of Learning has been registered as a private higher education institution with the Department of Higher Education and Training since 2008 and offers relational practice-based nursing to more than 2,000 students annually who study through seven centre in four provinces (Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KZN and Gauteng).