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Nursing: A lifelong calling

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By Najma Bibi Noor Mahomed

In the fictional world, every super hero has a cape to symbolise their bravery and commitment to helping others. However, in reality we find doctors are celebrated, but are nurses hardly recognised, despite the lengthy hours they dedicate in the service of mankind.

May 12th is International Nurse Day and it is set aside to highlight the commitment and dedication that individuals in the field of nursing undertake. International Nurses Day is celebrated around the globe as the birthday of Florence Nightingale who was an icon of Victorian culture. Nightingale was referred to as a nurse of modern medicine and her relenting effort was awarding with recognition in her lifetime.

The World Health Organisation has set this year’s theme for International Nurses Day as Nursing: A voice to lead – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Nurses are there from the moment of welcoming human life into this world to bidding farewell. They work tirelessly to ensure when patients are checked into a health care facility that they get the finest treatment to aid their speedy recovery.

With the role of witnessing new life and healing the aged the cringing task of bed baths and cleaning bed pans makes this career questionable.

A tireless profession
Nokwanda Primrose Micheal, has been a nurse for 21 years. She is currently a nurse at Groote Schuur Hospital and when things get tough she reminds herself about what set her of in this path in the first place.

“I remember seeing a nurse for the very first time when I was a teenager. She had this cape on and she held herself with so much integrity and I thought to myself that I want to be like her, because surely she is a superhero. It does get hard and when it does I keep telling myself that I wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to be like her, a superhero.”

Being in the field of nursing one must garner the motivation and composure to push to be the best. But what happens when the circumstances around you are always negative and melancholy?

A nurse at the Manenberg clinic, Judith Hendricks has been in the nursing field for 27 years. She is one of the long serving nurses which the City of Cape Town recently honoured as one the many leading lights in City Health. However despite being in a community plagued by gang violence, she perseveres to be a beacon of hope.

“You need to stay positive and treat people with respect because if you do that then you will get respect back. You need to love what you do and have a vision and mission for yourself. Manenburg has challenges with the gang violence and social issues but you have to motivate yourself. For me it is my family and God,” Nurse Hendricks explained.

The Breakfast Beat show hosted these phenomenal women with a motivating discussion on what drives their flame. Take a listen to the full audio below.


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