Nurses praised for their compassion, bravery

Groote Schuur Hospital advanced midwife Memory Gama and acting operations manager Zukiswa Moses.

Covid-19 has shown just how important nurses are, said Dr Keith Cloete, the head of the Western Cape Health Department, during an outdoor ceremony at Groote Schuur Hospital on International Nurses Day, May 12.

Dr Cloete hailed the bravery of nurses in the face of the worldwide pandemic and said: “The voice of nursing came to the fore during Covid-19 through countless acts of compassion. The nursing fraternity connected society through our hearts during the pandemic. People will always remember an act of kindness or compassion during their darkest days.“

Lessons learnt from the pandemic would help to shape the health-care system of the future, he added.

“Our pledge today is to look for a health-care system in the future; is to have a leadership style that values others and brings out the best in people and nurtures through acts of compassion.“

Guest speaker Professor Lynette Denny, who received the Order of the Baobab (Silver) from President Cyril Ramaphosa last year, said the pandemic had shown the importance of investing in nurses. They were at the front-line of health care but were often undervalued and underpaid.

“It was inspiring to see our nurses rise to the occasion during the pandemic. Nurses were there in the absence of family and friends due to Covid-19 restrictions. They stayed firmly in their role, providing love, care and support as patient after patient succumbed to the virus.”

The hospital’s acting operations manager, Zukiswa Moses, 25, said she had a passion for helping and educating and was not just there for the paycheck.

“I like being involved in the changing of a patient, from coming in ill to being discharged, being able to see the transition,” she said.

Advanced midwife Memory Gama, 29, said while it was not easy studying, working and taking care of a toddler, she was determined to advance in her field. She completed her post-graduate diploma in nursing education and later completed her Master’s in midwifery and neonatology, which would allow her to either remain an advanced midwife or become a lecturer.

Ms Gama said as an advanced midwife her role was not very different from a registered nurse but she could manage more critical cases.

To those considering a career in nursing, she said: “You need to ask yourself if this is something you want to do because there are job opportunities or because you love it. You need to love what you do in order to give your patients the best care possible and not just think of it as a normal job.”

The hospital also unveiled its new nursing education centre, which includes an e-learning lab to support hospital staff and nurses in accessing training and continuing professional development.

Dr Keith Cloete, the head of the Western Cape Health Department, praised nurses for the courage they had shown in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Children from Groote Schuur Hospital’s creche performed during an outdoor ceremony at the hospital on Thursday May 12, International Nurses Day, to celebrate the role of nurses.
Clinical facilitator Lenore Fredericks in a ward-simulation unit used for training.