A Conceptual Model for Improving Working Conditions at Selected Public Hospitals in Mpumalanga, South Africa
Employees in public hospitals in South Africa work under dreadful conditions and are at risk of developing psychological stress and occupational diseases as well as occupational injuries. These poor working conditions translate to poor service delivery and as a result, the patients are the ones who suffer the most while under the care of these healthcare professionals. Despite these poor working conditions in public hospitals, there are limited studies that have dealt with this important topic in South Africa. The purpose of this paper was to describe a conceptual model which can be used as a framework of reference to improve the working conditions and the health and safety of employees at selected public hospitals in South Africa. A descriptive, explorative and theory construction research design was used to construct a conceptual model for improving the working conditions in public hospitals in the specific province in South Africa. The model suggests that improvement of working conditions, employee health and safety and quality patient care can only be achieved if employees and managers work interdependently for the betterment of the working conditions of their hospitals. Improvement should focus on enablers such as leadership commitment, infrastructure, resources, safety and security communications, decision-making, interpersonal relationships, support, and education and training. The implication for the managers and employees is that the model can be used as a framework for improving working conditions in hospitals, to promote the health and safety of employees and to improve quality patient care.