A nurse’s job can often be a thankless one, they are often accused of being mean and rude-and most times, receive little recognition for the critical service they render to the communities they serve.
But the two clinics in Khayelitsha and Mfuleni joined other health care centres across the country in celebrating International Nurses’ Day on Friday May 11.
The day is marked on May 12 every year and aims to honour and recognise the critical services that nurses render to the community.
While the nurses and staff of Mfuleni clinic hosted a lunch for themselves, retired nurses visited staff and nurses of Nolungile clinic in Site C and conducted health awareness programmes.
Bulelwa Gaj-Mbungo, the sister charge of Nolungile clinic, said they had organised a wellness day for their staff in celebration of International Nurses Day.
She said nurses were always concerned about the patients’ wellness but often didn’t pay enough attention to their own.
“We are caring for the carer. We checked the staff for hypertension and other chronic diseases. The staff received massages and were pampered.”
She said they were also advised about how they can protect themselves from being infected by diseases, equipped with safety tips for the workplace and given information about managing their finances.
“We want the nurses to feel appreciated and valued,” she added.
Ms Mbungo said nurses work long hours and have little time to look after themselves. Responding to accusations of nurses being mean to patients, Ms Mbungo said while the department has clearly outlined the missions and visions of the department of health and the requirement to provide quality and friendly service, this didn’t mean that some nurses did not act inappropriately. This, she said, should never be tolerated.
Talking about challenges, she highlighted overcrowding and inadequate resources as the main problems facing the clinic.
Hendrina Wilschut, assistant manager at Mfuleni clinic, said Nurses’ Day was important to them and that patients were the first priority in their profession.
She said the golden rule was that staff should treat patients the way they’d want to be treated.
Nomhle Dodi, a nurse at Mfuleni clinic, said she has been in this profession for more than 30 years.
The 56-year-old mother of four said it was important that the new nurses upheld the dignity of patients and provided them with unconditional support and empathy.
She said their role as nurses was to master the clinical aspects of delivering quality health care and appealed to patients to be more understanding towards nurses.
She said although the government had made to improve this sector, there was still a lot that needed to be done to make it better.