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Exploring reasons for the high staff turnover amongst professional nurses at the Mandeni sub-district primary healthcare facilities.

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Introduction Primary healthcare (PHC) facilities are the first level of health care, therefore it is essential that these services are always accessible to the local community. The South African healthcare system has adopted a primary healthcare approach aiming to achieve health for all South African citizens. This is the reason why PHC services are rendered free of charge in all public clinics in South Africa. However, professional nurse turnover is impacting negatively on accessibility as well as quality of services rendered in the rural PHC clinics. Therefore, this research seeks to explore the reasons for high staff turnover amongst the professional nurses and to increase access of PHC services to the community and improve quality of services delivered by these clinics. Aim To explore the reasons for high staff turnover amongst professional nurses at the Mandeni sub-district PHC facilities. Method A qualitative exploratory study was conducted in seven PHC clinics and one Community Health (CHC) clinic was selected. Five professional nurses, including one operational manager were selected purposely. Data was collected using unstructured interviews. The main research question for this study was: “Why have you decided to leave employment at the PHC clinic?” Results The study’s findings revealed that professional nurses were overworked due to high patient load, lack of support from the management, favouritism, poor working conditions, professional nurse shortage, unmanageable subordinates, intimidation at the workplace, ever complaining community, financial problems, family responsibilities, poor work schedules and doing on-call duties, and lack of resources like poor water supply.


Master of Nursing. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2017.