Role Players

The Nurses’ Forum is a new structure within the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa. This section of the website is a new addition and will take some time to develop fully. The, projects, committee, membership and publications section of the site have yet to be completed. However, the news section has some preliminary information available.

The formal proposal for the establishment of a sub-structure of the Council (of the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa) to represent the interests of the Critical Care Nurses of South Africa working in the Critical Care units of South Africa.

The initial proposal presentation for the establishment of a sub-structure of the Council (of the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa) to represent the interests of the Critical Care Nurses of South Africa working in the Critical Care units of South Africa.

BASIC for Nurses

This project was initiated in 2014, after a discussion at the World CC Congress in Durban with Prof Charles Gomersall and Prof Gavin Joynt from Hong Kong.

Gavin, a South African, who trained at WITS, and Charles are the drivers and brains behind the BASIC short courses, (Basic Assessment and Support in ICU), of which there are currently a number being run in SA, with the endorsement of the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa.

Hong Kong were in the process of developing the BASIC for Nurses course in collaboration with a team from Australia. The first course was held in Hong Kong in Dec 2014and we were convinced that it was needed in SA.

A year later, in December 2015, two instructors from Hong Kong came out to Cape Town and a “train the instructor course” and first provider course was held. 4 Cape Town instructors, 2 Gauteng, 1 Bloemfontein, 2 East London and 1 Durban instructor were trained. 24 Delegates attended the course. The positive feedback received from the delegates reassured us that this course would benefit Critical Care nurses in SA.

In 2016: 7 courses were held: 2 each in Bloemfontein, Cape Town and East London and one in Pretoria. All courses were fully subscribed within a couple of weeks of advertising them.

This year will see Durban and Gauteng hosting their first courses.

We now have BASIC for Nurses courses in 6 different centres within SA! Each centre will host 2 courses per year.

What is the BASIC for Nurses course? It is a two-day intensive, interactive course comprising lectures and practical stations for the Registered Nurse in Adult Critical Care. It covers a variety of topics ranging from haemodynamics, ventilation to communication and basic assessment of the Critical Care patient.

I would like to thank all the BASIC for Nurses instructors who have volunteered their expertise and time:
Belinda Karstens: Bloemfontein
Lucy Dolo: Tshwane
Des Cox and Bev Bell: East London
Cheryl Carter: Durban
Stephilia Tshukutsoane: Gauteng
Ellen le Roux, Joleen Arendse, Rencia Gillespie: Cape Town

Thanks too, to the CCNF, who have supported the initiation of the course, identified potential instructors and quietly kept momentum going when spirits were lagging.

Without the funding provided by the CCSSA and the encouragement, push and motivation from council and, in particular, Profs Ivan Joubert, Mervyn Mer and Guy Richards and from Dr Malcolm Miller, (BASIC course director in SA), this project would still be an unfulfilled dream.

On behalf of all Critical Care Nurses in SA, I would like to thank the CCSSA Council and members who have supported, and continue to support, the initiative. Without continued funding from CCSSA, we would not be able to expand this initiative.

BASIC for Nurses is currently being run in 7 countries throughout the world.
For further information on the course, email Bronwen Espen (BASIC for Nurses SA course director) at or go to the CCSSA website

Course poster – provider generic

Target audience: For Critical Care / High Dependency Registered Nurses
Format: Course manual, lectures, skill stations

Click here to donwload the Course poster – provider generic.

The Critical Care Nursing Forum, with support from the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa, will be initiating the presentation of BASIC for ICU nurses course in South Africa.

This 2 Day course aims to provide an introduction to Intensive Care nursing for novice ICU nurses, although more experienced nurses would also benefit from attending.

The course was written by Prof Charles Gomersall from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in collaboration with Critical Care Nurses from Australia and Hong Kong under the direction of the BASIC collaboration group.

The initial Instructor training course will be held in December 2015. Dates for 2016, in various regions within SA, will be announced on the CCSSA website:

The course material consists of:

  • Course manual for pre-course reading
  • Pre-course multiple choice question test
  • Lectures
  • Skill stations
  • Post-course test

There is a strong focus on the practical needs of the novice ICU nurse, with theoretical aspects being limited to those issues that are directly relevant to an understanding of clinical practice.

Topics include:

  • Basic nursing assessment of critically ill patients
  • Airway management
  • Basic respiratory physiology
  • Acute respiratory failure
  • Mechanical ventilation
    • Modes and settings
    • Troubleshooting
    • Non-invasive ventilation
    • Nursing care of the ventilated patient
  • Respiratory monitoring in ICU
  • Arterial blood gases interpretation
  • Basic cardiovascular physiology
  • Basic hemodynamic monitoring in ICU
  • Shock
  • Life threatening arrhythmias
  • Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation in ICU
  • Oliguria
  • Basic neurological assessment in ICU
  • Intracranial hypertension
  • Sedation
  • Acute pain
  • Nutritional support
  • Infection control
  • Transport of critically ill patients
  • Communication in ICU
  • Clinical handover

For more information contact: Bronwen Espen on

News to follow shortly.

Des Cox (Chair Person) Eastern Cape
Irene Kearns Gauteng
Stephilia Tshukutsoane Gauteng
Juan Scribante Gauteng
Helen Perrie Gauteng
Janet Bell Western Cape
Rencia Gillespie Western Cape
Bronwen Espen Western Cape
Ronel Pretorius North West
Cheryl Carter Kwazulu Natal
Elzieta van Staden Free State
Tanya Heyns Pretoria
Isabel Coetzee Pretoria