What makes a resilient health workforce?

Findings from a longitudinal cohort study in South Africa

Centre for Health Policy, University of the Witwatersrand , 2017
South Africa

South Africa, like many other low and middle income countries, face issues recruiting and retaining a nurses, especially in rural areas. RESYST has investigated the dynamics of health worker movement in South Africa, to better understand the job choices of nurses – specifically with regard to where they work, when they move, where they move to, and the reasons for the decisions.  

Since 2008, the Centre for Health Policy at the University of Witwatersrand has tracked a cohort of 377 nurses in rural Northwest province and urban Gauteng province. This video presents first hand experiences from nurses who participated in the study as well as interviews with the researchers and key decision makers. In particular, it addresses the following questions:

  • What are the main challenges that nurses face?
  • How do nurses deal with chronic everyday stressors?
  • What makes nurses move or remain in their jobs?
  • What constitutes and promotes health worker resilience?
  • What influences nurses’ behaviour?
  • What are the key policy initiatives that need to be supported?

Further resources

RESYST Working Paper 10: A Longitudinal Study of the Job Choices of a Cohort of South African Nurses to inform Human Resource Policy Interventions

Policy Brief: Rural or urban: the role of nurses' dedication towards patients in their choice of job

Key finding sheet: How do we train, support and retain resilient nurses in underserved areas?

Multimedia | Health workforce