Local nurse, Onele Mdunduluze, says working in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic places a lot of strain on healthcare workers but resilience and support for one another keep them going. As the world celebrated International Nurses’ Day last week, for Mdunduluze, the day meant “serving people with pride and continuing to give quality nursing care”. Mdunduluze, originally from Cofimvaba and a registered nurse at Life Queenstown Private Hospital’s intensive care unit, says Nurses’ Day is an important date to all nurses as it is an anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is widely considered as the founder of nursing.
“We appreciate all the knowledge she has left behind for us to be able to continue to serve our people with pride and continue to give quality nursing care. We do feel that our endless contributions and efforts are appreciated.”
Born and raised in Port Elizabeth, she started working as a nurse in 2015 at Netcare Nursing College and did her practical hours at Netcare Greenacres Hospital. She joined Life Queenstown Private Hospital in December 2019.
Her decision to choose nursing as a career path was influenced by her desire to help others. “I chose this career because I have always wanted to help and take care of people in their time of suffering and need.”
Being a nurse during the time of a pandemic asks a lot of frontline workers, Mdunduluze explains. “Our role has become even more vital with the pandemic because we saw that we had to face a lot. We had to sacrifice time with our families in order to take care of our patients and worked tirelessly for the sick. We had to be the bridge between patients and their loved ones as they could not visit them and relied on us to keep them updated.”
Working in the midst of Covid-19 put a lot of strain on healthcare workers. “There was a lot of strain on the team, but we learnt to be resilient and support each other in taking care of patients. We had a lot of professional growth as we were seeing cases that presented differently every day.”
In a statement, Life Healthcare, one of South Africa’s leading private hospital groups and healthcare providers, said it recognises and celebrates the dedicated and committed healthcare professionals for placing patients at the centre of care amid the challenges and stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The group employs more than 10 000 nurses and says over the past year its nurses have joined together to lead and support each other as caregivers with heart and substance and have continued to care for patients compassionately and thoughtfully. “Nurses are the backbone of our company. It is our nurses who dispense comfort, compassion and care and all this plays an important role in the recovery of patients. On this International Nurses’ Day, we thank our nurses for dedicating their lives to making life better for others,” said Bruce Janssens, regional manager of Exec Border-Kei.
To commemorate the day, various activities were held at all of the Life Healthcare hospitals in the Border Kei region. Nurses recited the nurse’s pledge of service, individually and collectively recommitting themselves to give only the best care to their patients and their families. According to the statement, one of the ways Life Healthcare annually celebrates its nurses is through the Great 100 Nurses initiative. The initiative sees nurses nominating their peers and awarding those nurses who epitomise efficiency, quality and compassion in their daily work – which contributes to the patients’ hospital experience. In the coming weeks, this year’s winners will be announced.
Meanwhile, Mdunduluze’s message to young people interested in nursing as a career was to remember that the nurse is just another word to describe someone strong enough to tolerate anything and soft enough to understand everyone. “And never let it be said that to dream is a waste of time – dreams are our realities. If we put our minds to something, there’s nothing we cannot achieve in this world.”