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SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Create and maintain a safe physical and emotionally supportive environment in a health care unit 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
252101  Create and maintain a safe physical and emotionally supportive environment in a health care unit 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Nursing 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 09 - Health Sciences and Social Services Promotive Health and Developmental Services 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
This unit standard will be useful for people working as clinically focused, service orientated, independent, registered staff nurses, who are able to render basic care to persons with stable and uncomplicated general health problems, as determined by the appropriate legislative framework.

This unit standard will recognise the essential knowledge and skills required to create and maintain a safe physical and emotionally supportive environment within a health care unit.

People credited with this unit standard are able to:
  • Identify and minimise potential and actual risks in a health care unit.
  • Provide an emotionally supportive environment within a health care unit.
  • Co-ordinate nursing personnel to provide quality health care.
  • Implement a health care unit disaster plan.
  • Evaluate the health care unit environment. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    The credit calculation is based on the assumption that learners are already competent in terms of the following outcomes or areas of learning when starting to learn towards this unit standard:
  • Microbiology and parasitology.
  • Preventive measures in communicable diseases.
  • ID 252098: Use communication skills to establish and maintain supportive relationships.
  • Team functioning.
  • Supportive interviewing skills. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    Specific range statements are provided in the body of the unit standard where they apply to particular specific outcomes or assessment criteria.

    The following scope and context applies to the whole unit standard:
  • The Nurse functions within the scope of practice of a staff nurse as formulated by the SANC and the Nursing Act.
  • Health care units include community, curative/rehabilitative services, home. 

  • Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Identify and minimise potential and actual risks in a health care unit. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Risks include:
  • Physical, psychological. 

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Possible risks are identified in terms of type, typical location, prevalence and threat presented to the unit and patients. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Risks include:
  • Hazardous and non-hazardous risks, noso-comal infections, physical risks (slippery floors, wrong medication, unsafe equipment, poor storage, unruly patients, special precautions-children, elderly, confused patients).
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Methods used to identify risk are appropriate to the particular facility and are applied correctly in accordance with established guidelines and procedures. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Strategies identified and implemented to manage risk are appropriate to the circumstances, comply with institutional guidelines, and limit the potential for environmental and/or physical harm. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Nursing care and unit management are monitored for compliance with strategies and supporting procedures. Deviations are identified and corrected or reported to appropriate authorities. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Incidents are reported timeously, accurately and in accordance with institutional policy. Follow up on incidents tracks and determines trends and identifies mechanisms for preventing recurrence of similar incidents. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Incidents include:
  • Accidents, injuries, infections, medication errors, medico-legal hazards.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    The safety of patients and staff in the health care unit is maintained according to the stipulations of current legislation and institutional policy. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Legislation includes:
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 7 
    Infection control measures are applied in accordance with guidelines, procedures and protocols to control the spread of infection in a health care unit. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Measures include:
  • Aseptic technique and sterilisation of equipment, environment cleanliness, barrier nursing, universal precautions (gloves/masks/antiseptics/germicides).
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Provide an emotionally supportive environment within a health care unit. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The principles underpinning healthy interpersonal interactions are identified and explained in terms of their role in the creation of an emotionally supportive environment. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Principles include:
  • Open communication, listening skills, mutual respect, acknowledging and responding to people, regular feedback, transparent communication channels, written guidelines.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Communication and interactions with patients, staff and other health team members are consistent with the principles for effective interpersonal interaction, and conducted in a manner that promotes mutual trust and respect. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Customer focus during professional interactions ensures team support and collegiality. Interpersonal skills are utilised to ensure cooperation in meeting the needs of health care users. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Aggression and assertiveness are correctly differentiated. Interactions with patients, staff, other health team members and visitors are characterised by appropriate assertiveness which enhances working relationships and/or care provision. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Regular monitoring and evaluation of the efficacy of interpersonal relations in the unit ensures the early identification of grievances, complaints or conflict. Suggestions for improvement are appropriate to the problems identified, and promote effective working relationships. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Co-ordinate nursing personnel to provide quality health care. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Care context includes:
  • Any unit where healthcare user profile is uncomplicated and condition is stable: Well baby clinics, community health centre unit, home based care, frail care units/old age homes, hospice/palliative care, curative services (in and out patient units, clinics, long term wards), rehabilitative services (long term rehab units; chronic disease units). 

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Performance is monitored in terms of professional working practices and scope of practice for different categories of nurse. Corrective actions in response to non-compliance are appropriate to the circumstances and consistent with institutional policies and procedures. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Practices include:
  • Ethical Code of Practice, policies, procedures, nursing protocols.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Decisions pertaining to health care delivery are taken together with other members of the team where possible, and where scope of practice and expertise adds value to the decision making process. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Team members are assigned activities commensurate with their competence and scope of practice. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Team leadership provides guidance, direction and support for team members so that individuals are empowered to fulfil the responsibilities allocated to them in a healthcare unit. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Support includes:
  • Information, clear direction, protocols available/applied correctly, assessment of ability/supportive guidance and input.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Accountability and responsibility for delegated activities is maintained through systematic monitoring of the progress made with treatment and care of healthcare users. Actions taken to improve the quality of care provided are consistent with the report and status of the patient. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Monitoring includes:
  • Observation, verbal and written reports, patient feedback.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    Consultation with professional nurses in the event of complications, emergencies or adverse events ensures that actions and responses are appropriate and that practice meets institutional and nursing care requirements. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 7 
    Coordination of health care provision ensures continuity of care provided to health care users, in the best interest of health care users. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Continuity includes:
  • Discharge planning, involvement of care providers, links with community services/other service providers, referrals, information regarding follow up care.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 8 
    Healthcare users are given every opportunity and encouragement to participate in making decisions about their healthcare. Participation is monitored and steps taken where necessary increase participation in line with institutional policies and procedures. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Implement a health care unit disaster plan. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The unit disaster plan is based on an accurate and comprehensive risk assessment of the unit, in accordance with risk assessment guidelines and procedures. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The unit disaster plan is consistent with the institution's disaster plan. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Plans include:
  • Evacuation plan, exit plan for evacuation of building, personnel reinforcement plans, reinforcement of equipment and stock.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Training and assessment of staff ensures that all staff are aware of the plan and their roles and responsibilities, and competent to carry out duties as required. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The disaster plan is communicated to all unit staff members through the correct channels. Exercises are directed and evaluated at scheduled intervals to ensure that staff are compliant. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Channels include:
  • Written guidelines, mock disaster exercises, job cards.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 5 
    Evaluate the health care unit environment. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Information is gathered from all significant stakeholders within the unit, as well as records of unit risk assessments, and safety and interpersonal reviews. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Affected persons are debriefed in a sensitive and supportive manner, in accordance with institutional procedures and guidelines. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Information gathered is collated and areas for improvement in psychological and physical safety are identified, together with suggested improvements and/or recommendations to the appropriate authority. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Own role is evaluated for impact on the safety of the unit, and contribution to harmonious working relationships. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Information relating to physical and psychological safety is disseminated via approved channels to assist with refinement of information, interventions and procedures. Information is also used to validate and/or contribute to the development of effective training in safety and interpersonal skills. 


    UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Accreditation Options: Providers of learning towards this unit standard will need to meet the accreditation requirements of the relevant ETQA.
  • Moderation Options: The moderation requirements of the relevant ETQA must be met in order to award credit to learners for this unit standard. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
    The following essential embedded knowledge will be assessed through assessment of the specific outcomes in terms of the stipulated assessment criteria. Candidates are unlikely to achieve all the specific outcomes, to the standards described in the assessment criteria, without knowledge of the listed embedded knowledge. This means that for the most part, the possession or lack of the knowledge can be directly inferred from the quality of the candidate's performance. Where direct assessment of knowledge is required, assessment criteria have been included in the body of the unit standard:
  • Understanding of medico-legal risks in view of providing safe patient care.
  • Application of conflict management theories in managing a health care unit.
  • Team leadership/Team dynamics/Participatory leadership.
  • Principles of personnel co-ordination.
  • Inter-professional teamwork and practices.
  • Constructive working relationships.
  • Consultation and collaboration with other team members. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identify and solve problems and make decisions using critical and creative thinking.

    Note:
  • Identifying risks and implementing safe services implies problem-solving and effective decision making. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Work effectively with others as members of a team, group, organisation or community.

    Note:
  • Health care provision is team based. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Organise and manage themselves and their activities responsibly and effectively.

    Note:
  • Implementing safe health care requires effective organisation. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information.

    Note:
  • Central to monitoring and evaluation components. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicate effectively, using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral and or written presentations.

    Note:
  • Core competence in safe services, awareness raising amongst staff. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Use science and technology effectively and critically showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others.

    Note:
  • Used in assessment and monitoring safety. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation.

    Note:
  • Factors impacting on the quality of service delivery. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Notes to assessors:

    Assessors should keep the following general principles in mind when designing and conducting assessments against this unit standard:
  • Focus the assessment activities on gathering evidence in terms of the main outcome expressed in the title to ensure assessment is integrated rather than fragmented. Remember we want to declare the person competent in terms of the title. Where assessment at title level is unmanageable, then focus assessment around each specific outcome, or groups of specific outcomes.
  • Make sure that evidence is gathered across the entire range, wherever it applies. Assessment activities should be as close to the real performance as possible, and where simulations or role-plays are used, there should be supporting evidence to show the candidate is able to perform in the real situation.
  • Do not focus the assessment activities on each assessment criterion. Rather make sure the assessment activities focus on outcomes and are sufficient to enable evidence to be gathered around all the assessment criteria.
  • The assessment criteria provide the specifications against which assessment judgements should be made. In most cases, knowledge can be inferred from the quality of the performances, but in other cases, knowledge and understanding will have to be tested through questioning techniques. Where this is required, there will be assessment criteria to specify the standard required.
  • The task of the assessor is to gather sufficient evidence, of the prescribed type and quality, as specified in this unit standard, that the candidate can achieve the outcomes again and again and again. This means assessors will have to judge how many repeat performances are required before they believe the performance is reproducible.
  • All assessments should be conducted in line with the following well documented principles of assessment: Appropriateness, fairness, manageability, integration into work or learning, validity, direct, authentic, sufficient, systematic, open and consistent.

    The following particular issues should be taken into consideration when assessing against this unit standard:
  • The SANC guidelines are used as a reference for integrated assessment.
  • Formative Assessment: A variety of assessment strategies and/or approaches integrating theory and practice must be used. These could be tests, assignments, projects, demonstrations or clinical assessments or any other applicable method.
  • Summative: This could take a form of oral, written and/or practical assessments as agreed to with the relevant ETQA.
    Definition of Terms:

    Terms have been clarified as far as possible through the use of range statements. Further clarification of terms is provided as follows:
  • The terms "patient" and "health care user" are used interchangeably in this unit standard. The term patient is used internationally, and the term health care user is used in the Nursing Act 33 of 2005, as well as the National Health Act 61 of 2003. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Core  59236   National Diploma: Nursing  Level 5  NQF Level 05  Passed the End Date -
    Status was "Reregistered" 
    2020-07-30  As per Learning Programmes recorded against this Qual 
    Core  59257   Bachelor of Nursing  Level 7  NQF Level 08  Reregistered  2023-06-30  As per Learning Programmes recorded against this Qual 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.