An analysis of nurse managers' human resources management related to HIV and tuberculosis affected/infected nurses in selected hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa - an ethnographic study.
INTRODUCTION: Providing sufficient quality nurses in resource strapped countries is a human resource management challenge which nurse managers’ experience on a daily basis. THE PURPOSE of this study was to analyse and to determine the issues which affect the the human resources management of nurse managers in selected hospitals in the eThekwini District of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and to formulate draft guidelines to assist nurse managers with human resource management. METHODOLOGY: A constructionist, reflexive ethnographic approach was used. The ethnographer spent two years in the field collecting data from informants, who were nurse managers, in four (4) selected district hospitals. Data was collected using unstructured informant interviews, non-participant observation and confirmatory document analysis. Data analysis led to eliciting codes from the data, searching for semantic relationships, performing componential analyses and discovering the themes for discussion within the final ethnographic report. A nominal group process was used to develop the draft guidelines. FINDINGS: The findings showed that the human resources management around sick nurses is a complex task. The themes of nurse managers’ experiences were a “burden” of maintaining confidentiality, as well as an emotional burden. Administratively, they experience the burden of absenteeism and the burden of policy compliance. The final theme is the burden of the deaths of HIV and Tuberculosis affected/infected nurses. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Organizations should create a non-judgmental work environment where non- disclosure by employees is respected in order to promote disclosure. They should have an awareness of the emotional effect on nurse managers and provide them with support. Emphasis needs to be placed on an HIV and AIDS policy and programme, incapacity leave workplace strategies and return to work policies. It is also recommended that contingency plans be provided when the death or prolonged absence of an employee impacts the staffing of the organization; consideration to be given to piloting and refining the draft guidelines; the management of employees on prolonged sick leave be included in the Nursing Administration Curricula taught to future nurse managers; and further research be conducted to assess employee reluctance to report needle stick injuries (sharps injuries) as well as the related phenomenon of stigmatization.
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