Harare Central Hospital scores a first
IN A historic development for the nursing profession, Harare Central Hospital has adopted public selection of student nurses as a way of improving transparency and dealing with corruption in the recruitment process.
The hospital’s chief executive officer, Dr Nyasha Masuka, said the health institution invited members of the public and the media to witness the selection process, a culmination of recommendations by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).
“We developed a new trainee nurse recruitment policy following recommendations from a report. An audit of nurse recruitment at Harare Hospital was done by Zacc in 2017. We adopted all the recommendations from the report.
“The selected students will be interviewed in February 2019 and we will invite the public and media to witness that process as well. We will be the pioneers of implementing this new policy in the country,” he said.
Dr Masuka said they used a lottery system from all the prospective applicants to get their required figure.
“We need to recruit a total of 105 trainees for the three 2019 intakes, therefore we need to interview 315 candidates to get these 105 student nurses.
“We had 7 000 applicants, we then divided 7 000 by 315 and we got 22. We were then picking every 22nd application until we got 315 applications.
“We then opened the applications and selected those that had the required qualifications and discarded those who didn’t qualify and repeated the process until we had the suitable candidates for training,” he said.
“The process looked at those with highest passes, that is those with three As in Mathematics, English and Science. These would give us say 15 point marks and our range was from 11 to 15 points for females and 12 to 15 points for male applicants,” he said.
Dr Masuka said for the public interviews coming next year, they will use candidate numbers and not names. He said this will increase transparency.
“The interview panel will be selected transparently and will not include people with conflict of interest. We will allow some independent experts to observe interviews and candidates will not be known by names, but by candidate numbers issued by an independent entity,” he said.
The hospital boss said the Zacc audit followed a nationwide outcry on the recruitment process.
“Their audit was prompted by numerous complaints and allegations of corruption. People claimed that they were being made to pay as much as $2 000 to get into training, although nobody has come forward with any proof,” he added.
This had allegedly led to the decay of the nursing profession as a number of the student nurses were failing the nursing examinations.
Dr Masuka is urging all those who might have been swindled of their money to come forward.
“We have heard reports that there are some students who have offer letters for May and September 2019 intakes and we advise them to come to the hospital and see our clinical director with those letters. The interviews are only scheduled for February next year but already we have reports suggesting that some applicants are in possession of offer letters so we need to investigate the matter,” he said.
In a related development, the hospital has since closed the quota system door for students that were interviewed and recruited by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
“We have since written to the Permanent Secretary advising him of our new recruiting policy - that this time we are not going to take any applicants from the Ministry,” he said.