By Minenhle Moyo
Mpilo Central Hospital student nurses have said their lives at risk as they are ‘forced’ to attend patients without protective gear and equipment in light of the dangers presented by the novel corona virus.
This came out during a meeting which they said was the first ever to address he COVID 19 since it became prevalent across the world .
The meeting which they said was long overdue was meant to address the preventive measures they would adopt against Covid 19.
During the meeting students suggested they be provided with masks, gloves and other safety clothing to prevent them from the corona virus as no one is immune to it. The reporter spoke to some of the students who agreed to comment on anonymous basis said they fear for their lives .
“We are being forced to go and attend to patients without any masks or anything to protect ourselves from contracting the virus because for now we don’t know who might be infected or not. As such we have asked the higher office to provide us with protective personal equipment because some have it and others don’t ” , said one of the nurses.
The students also revealed that they work without supervision from qualified personnel a move which puts patients lives at risk and short changes them in their studies.
They demanded that they be supervised during their shifts in the wards.
Students on work related learning are expected to work under supervision from their qualified practitioners .
Another trainee nurse said: “If you visit any of the wards right now you will not find any registered general nurses to supervise us. As students still learning we need that supervision because we meet a lot of medical hazards for example some juniors do not know certain procedures to administer medication on patients. There could arise emergencies were one needs to resuscitate a patient, a student nurse like me cannot do it because l do not have that experience yet.”
These students said if their demands were not met they would rather self quarantine as a measure to prevent themselves should their superiors fail them. Instead of sympathizing with his subordinates and take note of their pleas, the hospital’s clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya allegedly threatened their jobs as students said they heard him say ‘you guys should be careful not to self quarantine out of employment’.
This escalated student’s tempers as they said the response was a threat to their jobs and could not tolerate such treatment from their higher office.
The reporter also caught up with The Public Relations Officer for Mpilo Central Hospital Mr Ozias Ndlovu who said despite the challenges the country is facing the hospital managed to provide all students in high risk departments with required protective gear.
“All students working in high exposure departments were given protective equipment although we acknowledge that as a country we have problems especially in the health sector but as a hospital we do try to provide our staff working in high exposure areas with protective personal equipment”
Despite these sentiments by the PR officer, according to the students, the number of the protective gear available does not tally the number of staff available at the hospital as such he pleaded with their officials to source more protective personal equipment.
The workforce in the health sector is highly exposed to the corona virus hence the need to acquire safety clothing needed.As a preventive measure the government announced a 21 days lockdown which started on the 30th of March 2020 to the 19th of April 2020.
The virus has since infected seven and claimed one life in Zimbabwe