Kambonde: Navigating through healthcare chaos

Kambonde: Navigating through healthcare chaos

When nurses are not distracted, overworked and overwhelmed, they are better at their jobs, and can provide skilled, quality healthcare efficiently and effectively, pointed out Claudia Kambonde, a nurse matron at Windhoek Central Hospital.

“This means patients have shorter wait times, more positive experiences in the hospital, and leave with better health outcomes,” she said.

On average, it is estimated that nurses work about 40 hours a week – and depending on the workload, the shift is extended for additional hours, which may reach up to eight.

“My work is exciting.  

I enjoy my work – even though sometimes it’s hard when there are too many patients in some operational units and not enough nurses to care for them,” she said.

She indicated that on those days, she is expected to make tough decisions, overseeing and coordinating the work of some 700 nurses across several operational units of the hospital.

“It is not a simple numbers game with an easy nurse-to-patient ratio, as sometimes, the care needed is intensive – and the impact of delayed care is severe.  For example, eye patients may be few, but they need to have their eye drops administered on time for it to be effective,” she stated.

The healthcare worker said delays and distractions in healthcare administration can be detrimental.

Kambonde recently participated in a series of workshops provided by the health ministry to come up with ways of safeguarding her nurses from overload that can impact the quality of care they provide.  

The workshops were designed to determine the standard tasks required for all types of patient care, and the staff time required to perform such tasks. 

At the workshops, supported by the United States’ government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), participants analysed the workloads of medical officers, nurses, radiographers, psychologists and other public health workers.  

These analyses will assist Namibia in appropriately allocating resources to meet the health needs of the population and achieve universal healthcare coverage, a situation in which everyone has access to basic, affordable healthcare as prioritised by the government. 

For Kambonde, the workload analysis will reduce the amount of time she has to spend negotiating with operation unit heads and nurses about staff allocations.