News | South Africa | Health
Once a nurse, always a nurse. Once you start caring for people, you realise it’s more than a job. And when the call went out for help as Covid-19 swamped the country, Boitumelo Moseki didn’t hesitate to come out of retirement and get back onto the wards.
Moseki, who retired as nursing manager at Dr George Mukhari Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa, north of Pretoria, went back to the frontline of the pandemic fight at Phedisong clinic in Ga-Rankuwa.
After 30 years of service as a nurse, she couldn’t imagine not volunteering to help out. But, with a giggle she acknowledges that nursing wasn’t her first love when she started out.
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“When I first started at Dr George Mukhari [Hospital], which was then called Ga-Rankuwa Hospital, I hated the job. Back then the career choices we had were being a nurse, a cop or a lawyer. So I grew to love the job,” she said.
Stories like hers were echoed around clinics and hospitals across the country on Wednesday as nurses celebrated International Nurses Day in honour of fallen heroes who fought tooth-and-nail against the Covid-19 pandemic while faced with challenges such as low wages, lack of resources and overcrowded hospitals.
According to the International Council of Nurses, the day commemorated the birthday of nurse Florence Nightingale who came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organised care for wounded soldiers.
The department of health said the International Nurses Day assumed great significance to express their deepest gratitude for nurses and health workers around the world with the theme “Nurses: A voice to lead – a vision for future healthcare”.
Unlike Moseki, Thandazo Mboba, a trauma nurse a Netcare Hospital and Linkie Thathetji, a paediatric and intensive care unit nurse at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, said it came naturally for them from an early age to choose a nursing career – and they wanted to make a difference.
“There aren’t single defining moments but being a trauma nurse and bringing a patient back to life when they looked hopelessis what is fulfilling,” said Mboba.
However, Thathetji said nursing for her embraced everything that she stood for, especially ubuntu and taking care of people.
“I’ve heard people say nurses are rude and wanted to change the narrative while empowering my community,” she explained.
Mpho Sekgothe, who is an assistant nurse at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, said she had always been fascinated about taking care of sickand injured people.
“I’m an assistant at the clinic and doing my practicals but I really cannot wait to be a qualified nurse,” Sekgothe said.
She said working through the pandemic was the most challenging part of her journey but it was also the most defining moment and highlight of her career.
“Things started to become very hectic around April, which was around the time I also tested positive for Covid-19, but after my recovery I knew right there and then that I was destined for this profession,” she added.
Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi thanked nurses and all other staff members for their dedication and selfless efforts during the pandemic and encouraged them to “soldier on”.