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APPSA Nurses’ Day 2016

Once again we will soon be celebrating Nurses’ Day 2016. As per the ICN this year will focus on

“A Force for change, improving health systems’ resilience”

Throughout South Africa we are daily made aware of the pressure and onslaught that threatens our own health system. Many cases of patient abuse and inequality in treatment makes it through the media to the people.New strategies are implemented by Public as well as Private health care,but still there seems to be no improvement. The outcry remains for more staff, more resources, and better salaries.

Despite all of this and all the negative, feedback, the dedicated nurses remain at their posts. They are on duty every day, doing their best with what is available. They are indeed resilient, bouncing back every time from whatever obstacles come their way.

According to the Oxford dictionary resilience means “The capacity to recover from difficulties”.

Wherever you are you will find debate in progress on meeting health needs across the world. This may be because of unique challenges in a specific country,such as an increase in maternal deaths,HIV,TB and an ever increasing birth rate. Many countries find these challenges impacting greatly on their financial resources and are unable to deal with the ever increasing expectations of the population. We have seen some of these trends in our own country. The influx of people from across our borders as well as the expectations of our own rural people trying to find economic wealth in our cities has increased the pressure greatly on our Government hospitals and clinics. The nurse has to be prepared for this. She has to bounce back. Nurses are the vital force behind our health system and the challenges it faces.

The World health Organisation acknowledges the contribution of nurses and the important role they play incommunities as policy makers and responding to new health challenges. It is important for all South Africans to invest in our health work force to make sure that we strengthen our health systems.

Spare a thought and a prayer for those who man our hospitals day and night. They will one day be at your bedside to encourage you,hold your hand and ease your pain.

The resilience of a health system is its capacity to respond, to adapt and to strengthen when it is exposed to new challenges. As an important contributor to the health system, nurses do this every day.

I salute you.

May you be blessed on Nurses’ Day!

Villi Pieterse (Hon Life President APPSA)
May 2016


At the SATS 2015 Conference in May, the name change of the organisation was changed and the adoption of the new name – the Association for Peri-operative Practitioners in South Africa (APPSA) - became official. It was a considerable achievement following months of deliberation, meetings and discussions, and many feel the move was long overdue. Together with this name change came new responsibilities. According to the APPSA Constitution, one of our objectives will be to ‘Endeavour to represent all Peri-operative Practitioners in SA’. This can be a formidable challenge as our country has many widespread rural areas where it is difficult to contact hospitals or the staff working there. And although technology has made the world smaller, it still happens that vital messages do not reach them.

So how are we going to go about implementing change? Over this weekend I come across a group of peri-operative practitioners in Mpumalanga who have started the ball rolling. Mpumalanga is a large area with a number of small hospitals. To attend meetings often means that attendees have to travel long distances. Srs J Smith and TJ Griffith took up the challenge, organised a programme, invited as many peri-operative practitioners from Mpumalanga as they could reach – and the result was outstanding. People travelled from ‘as near as’ Nelspruit and ‘as far as’ Johannesburg to attend. This was indeed most encouraging, and I can only congratulate them, and wish them all the best for their future plans. The road ahead is never easy, but if you believe in what you do, and you know how important it is to reach your goal, you will never be discouraged. This brings me to another point.

Why do we not have more people willing to take up this challenge? The success of Mpumalanga speaks for itself - and it can speak for you as well. Repeat the exercise and tell the same story in North West, Northern Cape, and Limpopo. I firmly believe that there are people out there eager to emulate this example. Why don’t you come forward and start a discussion group in YOUR province? Why are you sitting outside the circle of knowledge? It only takes a little effort, some enthuisiasm, some leadership, and you, too, could be on your way.

If you have any questions, the APPSA National Executive Board will assist you at any time. Many members from the Gauteng Chapter travelled to support our colleagues on this momentous day, and we will do it for you too! My contact details are freely available and if I can be of help, please make use of me. The same can be said for all the members of the APPSA National Executive Board. You are not alone. APPSA wants to spread its wings and live up to our objectives, but we cannot do it alone. In order to truly become the voice of South Africa’s peri-operative community, we need to establish – and maintain – an APPSA chapter in every province of our country. I hope that when you read this you will be encouraged and seriously consider what needs to be done to make peri-operative care in all our hospitals the best care we can provide to all our patients.

We are ready, willing and able to assist you in any way possible towards making your PROVINCE an Independent Chapter. Call us if we can help - in any way.

Villi Pieterse
Telephone: 082 747 7187; email: vpieterse67@gmail.com

Change is a Choice

Many of you are aware that The South African Theatre Nurse Organisation (SATS) recently opted to change its name to The Association for Peri-­‐operative Practitions in South Africa (APPSA). To those members of the organisation who were present at the SATS 2013 Congress Annual General Meeting at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West, this matter was debated and discussed. A decision was taken to ensure that a name change was going to be adopted at the SATS 2015 Congress in Bela Bela.

The rationale behind this move was relatively simple. Firstly, to those of you who are technologically savvy and adept, an Internet search for SATS takes you to a whole host of sites totally unrelated to The South African Theatre Nurse Organisation. Seventeen sites are revealed – and our organisation is not one of them! The closest we came to was to the South African Thoracic Society. Secondly, as many of you know, SATS was founded in 1980 by Elise Michau to represent and unite all operating theatre sisters on a national level.

Since the 1980s, peri-­‐operative practice has developed and grown into the advanced and skilled profession it is today. The scope of practice of today’s peri-­‐ operative practitioner is so much broader, more efficient and demands greater experience than ever before. As the profession has grown, adapted and changed to represent the increased responsibilities we are faced with every day, so, too, has SATS evolved and changed. We wanted to acknowledge and reflect that growth, evolution and progress in our organisation.

The time had certainly come to establish our identity as an organisation representing the profession we are part of in the professional manner in which we need to be viewed. It is time to usher in a new era in OR nursing as we reveal the new name and logo for your organisation. From now on, we will be known as APPSA – the Association for Peri-­‐Operative Practitioners in South Africa. Our new logo also reveals who and what we really are: people driven by Caring, Compassion and Commitment.


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International Nurses Day 2014

Soon we will be celebrating Nurses day 2014. This day is celebrated around the world to commemorate the birthday of Florence Nightingale on the 12th May. However this day is seldom high on the priority list of memorable days and mostly not much is said about it

Nurses day was first proposed in 1953 by an officer of the US department of Health and Education Dorothy Sutherland, and proclaimed by the then President DW Eisenhower. The International Council of Nurses adopted this day as the Birthday of the founder of modern Nursing Florence Nightingale in 1965.

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A Legacy of Excellence

A legacy of Excellence! This is the theme was chosen By SATS for the year 2013 to celebrate Nurse’s Day,

Indeed a formidable challenge. Easy to say, but difficult to live by. This phrase “ legacy of excellence” will mean something different to each and every person sitting in this audience.

Let us look at what the words bring to mind:

We have memories of rubbing shoulders with others, sharing knowledge, sharing skills, role models, commitment, loyalty, professional care, advocacy, trust. Only a few and I am sure you can think of many more. A list that can go on for ever!

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Honorary Life President Award

Villie Pieterse

For the first time in SATS history, a Honorary Life President award was awarded to Villie Pieterse.

This prestegious award was awarded to her on a function that was held in her honour on Friday, 1 June 2012.

Villi Pieterse, in recognition of your many years of dedicated service to SATS and to the profession of peri-operative nursing in South Africa, we salute you. You are a true embodiment of caring and compassion, commitment and professionalism.

Thank you for your spirit, your wisdom and your insights – without which we would all be much poorer.

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