For Thembisa Yekani, being nominated as one of the province’s best nurses, was enough.
She didn’t imagine that she would take home the provincial nursing excellence and Cecilia Makiwane recognition award.
In fact, she hadn’t even been paying much attention when the announcement was made. But then she heard her bosses screaming and calling her name.
The awards, presented at a recent ceremony held in Paarl, are aimed at honouring nurses’ dedication to making a lasting difference in the lives of their patients.
The 43-year-old mother of six who began her nursing journey in 2009, said she never anticipated that she would one day win an award for her dedication and work ethic.
Ms Yekani said nursing to her was not just a profession but a calling and she genuinely loves what she does.
Before she became a nurse, she worked as an auxiliary social worker for a social welfare organisation but she always felt that nursing was her calling.
So she left her job and applied at nursing college. In 2009, she began her long journey at KTC community health care facility as an agency nurse.
Ms Yekani said she also worked for Groote Schuur Hospital and Khayelitsha District Hospital as an agency nurse before getting permanent employment in 2013 at Michael Mapongwana community healthcare facility.
She said over the years she had learnt to treat patients with respect and dignity.
She said nurses were often labelled as rude and hostile but she made it her mission to change that negative perception with every patient she treated.
“I do what I do because of passion and love. I do not want to be the reason that certain patients stop coming to our facility because of my attitude and work ethic. Every person that I encounter, I should make a lasting impression on.
“I’m the servant of this community. I put them before my life. I wish we could undo or reverse this stigma that nurses are rude.
Not all of us are the same,” she said, adding that the job could be very stressful and physically demanding.
Maternal child health unit operational manager, Sumaya Yacoob, said nurses go all out to ensure that patients received optimum health care.
Ms Yacoob said the awards indicates that the centre always has the best interests of the patients at heart.