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Run to honour SA nurse shortage as 50% of nurses close to retirement age

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Cape Town – With 50% of nurses in South Africa close to retirement age, a night run in aid of student nurses will take place over the weekend, highlighting the critical shortage.

The Exceptional Nurse campaign in partnership with Wintergreen and supported by Run Walk For Life, will host the 7km race on Saturday from 6pm to 8pm, commencing at the Mouille Point Lighthouse.

The run/walk is in honour of health-care workers, with funds raised going towards bursaries for nursing students.

Professional nurse and campaign founder Teresa Basson said 50% of nurses in South Africa were over the age of 50 and would be retiring within the next 10-15 years.

“This means that we are losing 9 000 nurses on average each year due to retirement, death and immigration. The country currently only has capacity to train 3 000 per year so this is the purpose of the Exceptional Nurse campaign, it is to address this critical problem,” said Basson.


“Our vision is to see exceptional nursing care practised in every hospital and clinic in South Africa. Our motto is ‘save lives, be a nurse’.”

The campaign aims to achieve this by creating awareness of the critical shortage; raising the status of nurses and promoting a culture of honour and gratitude towards nurses; recruiting young people; raising funds for disadvantaged students; and to encourage nurses to re-enter the profession and mobilise communities to serve.

The campaign was launched in 2015 by a group of professional nurses and concerned citizens.

Basson said there are currently a shortage of 30 000 nurses nationwide.

Headline sponsor Wintergreen’s brand manager, Alexandra Quarmby, said: “It was important for us to support them because we want to bring awareness to the nursing shortage in South Africa and we want to show our appreciation for all the hard work the nurses and healthcare workers have done, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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