Today's Big Stories

Have nurses become desensitised to the trauma of patients?

The mother of a four-year-old rape survivor says they were sent home from a Paarl Hospital last week without treatment. Department of health officials will probe claims that they were told to come back the next day because the child was not bleeding.

The shocking report has called into question the lack of compassion within South Africa's nursing profession.

Nursing expert Professor Karien Jooste says that although nurses can be traumatised, this particular case demonstrates unprofessional conduct and gross negligence.

Nurses are trained specifically to care for more traumatised individuals in the community. They are trained that people have human rights. Part of their training is professional practice and ethics.

Prof Karien Jooste, Head of Nursing UWC

The issue we are referring to here is 'compassion fatigue', which develops after nurses have been exposed to continuous trauma. One becomes desensitised.

Denver Roman, Provincial Chairperson for DENOSA

Roman advises more should be done to educate and support nursing professionals who do have to deal with so many of these very traumatic cases to prevent this kind of thing happening..

Listen to the full conversation:


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