Dr Ntshengedzeni Margaret Ravhengani’s PhD research identified evidence-based best practice in implementing the Workload Indicators of Staffing Needs (WISN) Tool in Primary Healthcare (PHC) settings to improve human resources planning and access to quality healthcare. It also revealed that WISN implementation should involve collaboration among stakeholders. During the course of the study, she interviewed 10 WISN co-ordinators at national, provincial and district level and six PHC facility nurse managers from uMgungundlovu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.
Ravhengani developed a middle-range theory for implementing WISN in South African PHC settings. She added that further research is required to determine the effectiveness of this theory to implement WISN in PHC settings in South Africa and similar facility types.
‘WISN implementation at PHC levels emerged as cyclical in nature; with health workforce managers, partners/stakeholders and labour organisations having specific roles to play in the planning and implementation process in a consultative approach,’ explained Ravhengani.
Her findings also showed that the WISN tool not only provides a critical platform for effective and efficient health workforce planning, but enhances health systems and the equitable distribution of the health workforce.
‘The study also revealed that the process of WISN implementation at PHC settings in South Africa is influenced by both the internal and external environment and that it is anchored on strong pillars which include an enabling policy environment as well as monitoring and evaluation,’ said Ravhengani.
Her future plans include contributing to the transformation of the healthcare system and supporting the implementation of National Health Insurance in order to achieve universal health coverage in South Africa.
Ravhengani enjoys challenging her assumptions, learning and imparting knowledge and finding innovative ways to improve the health system. ‘My faith in God and support from my family keeps me going,’ she said.
‘My family is very happy about my achievements. My late mother, in particular, always encouraged me to do my PhD; this one is for her.’
Words: Nombuso Dlamini
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan