Nursing Students REACH for Respect
UKZN Bachelor of Nursing (BN) 4th year Psychiatric Nursing students completed their Community Mental Health projects with an awards ceremony for Montarena Secondary School learners who participated in an essay writing competition.
The six BN students - Ms Thandeka Chili, Ms Preashni Chetty, Ms Nikita Trentleman, Ms Danell Brand, Ms Nothile Khuzwayo and Ms Buyi Nkosi) - were assigned to the Chatsworth school at the beginning of the semester to undertake a mental health project.
Chili said the team decided to promote mental health through the extension into the community of one of UKZN’s REACH values – Respect.
‘We implemented a number of projects at the school focusing particularly on self-esteem and self-respect,’ said Chili.
She said like any other project they encountered challenges but with the help of the teachers and their mentor and Lecturer, Mrs Ann Jarvis, they were able to rise above all adversities.
‘We managed to highlight this value to about 200 children in Grade 8 and 9,’ added Chili.
The team held several theme-based workshops during the learners’ relief periods. They had group activities where they discussed a number of issues related to teenagers and self-respect.
Khuzwayo said they managed to form different clubs for girls where they discussed all components of respect, including environment, home, school, peers and self-love.
The writing competition was one of the many projects the students conducted, inviting Grade 8 and 9 learners to write an essay about respect and self-love.
The top six participants received certificates for their work and participation.
Chili said they were happy with what they had achieved. ‘At the beginning it was not easy. Gaining the learners’ attention was challenging.’
Khuzwayo said the experience made her realise that she had to be mentally fit and sound to deal with different types of behaviour and mentalities. ‘Initially most of the learners didn’t pay attention and were very disruptive. But by the time we completed our project they were very attentive, participative and respectful.’