|Tuberculosis is a health threat, globally, in Africa, South Africa as well as in the North West Province. Although a number of positive interventions have been implemented, like the introduction of direct observation treatment strategy, still tuberculosis remains a threat. This may be due to the fact that while interventions to fight tuberculosis have been formulated and implemented, the most important resource in the Department of Health, which are nurses. Nurses working in the tuberculosis programme who play a vital role in the implementation of the health strategy are left behind and not given the proper support that they need to ensure the implementation of the health strategy. Nurses need to receive physical, emotional and social support from management so that they can give quality care to their patients.
The purpose of this study was to explore the support from management to nurses working in the tuberculosis programme in the primary health care facilities at the Matlosana sub-district so as to make recommendations to management with the aim of improving the nurses’ work life and consequently rendering quality care to the tuberculosis patients.
The research was conducted in the Matlosana sub-district in the North West Province of South Africa. A qualitative research design was used to explore and describe the support by management to nurses working in the tuberculosis programme in the primary health care facilities. A purposive voluntary sampling method was used to select participants who met the set criteria. In depth Semi structured interviews were conducted. Data was captured on an audio recorder, and transcribed verbatim. The researcher and the co-coder analysed the data after data saturation was reached. A consensus was reached on the categories that emerged.
The results showed that most facility managers lack knowledge about tuberculosis making it difficult for them to support nurses working in the tuberculosis programme. The lack of support resulted in the arousal of feelings such as frustration, feeling undermined, feeling unnoticed and unappreciated. It also resulted in resistant behaviours such as underperformance, loss of interest in their work, wanting to leave to where they will be supported and reluctance to take annual leave due to fear of piling work. However, few participants reported supportive experiences from both their facility managers and from the tuberculosis coordinator. Recommendations were made for the field of nursing education, community health nursing practice and nursing research with the aim of improving the nurses’ work life and consequently rendering quality care to the tuberculosis patients.