The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) national student movement has rejected a directive by the health department to send third and fourth-year student nurses to work at COVID-19 vaccination sites as vaccinators on weekends, reports TimesLIVE.
The students said they did not enjoy protection in the form of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical cover, indemnity cover or support with transport to the sites.
“Student nurses are not workers and they must not be made circumstantial workers now at the convenience of this very short-sighted government,” Denosa said in a statement.
It added that the directive was given to provincial health departments on 6 July and student nurses were then placed at sites in various provinces. But student representative councils and students in certain institutions refused to work at the sites.
TimesLIVE noted that many of them said they were excluded from the first phase of the vaccination rollout.
“They were never given any PPE by the government as no one is sure who is responsible for students. Under the Persal system they enjoyed these protection benefits, including transportation to and from clinical settings because they were partly regarded as workers due to the nature of their practicals.
“Now that they are under a bursary system, this means student nurses are purely students and the department must sleep on the bed that it has made itself.”
They said the notion that hours worked at vaccination sites would count for work-integrated learning was “far fetched”.
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