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Nurse shares challenges of working during the COVID-19 pandemic

Sister Thobile Mtshali from Carsternhof Hospital/ Supplied
Sister Thobile Mtshali from Carsternhof Hospital

By: Poelano Malema

The world celebrated International Nurses Day on Wednesday, 12 May.

Nurses were appreciated for their selfless commitment to making the world a better place.

Sister Thobile Mtshali from Life Carsternhof Hospital in Midrand says the day meant a lot to them, especially because they are at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The professional nurse of ten years says working as a nurse has always been her dream, even from a young age.

“It was my childhood dream to care for the sick. Growing up, I would see nurses when going to and from work in their white uniforms and would mimic to be a nurse when we were playing as kids. I was not confused even at high school, I was determined to reach my lifelong dream of being a nurse,” she says.

Sister Thobile Mtshali/ Supplied
Sister Thobile Mtshali/ Supplied

Misconceptions

There are a lot of misconceptions about the nursing profession.

Mtshali says that sometimes people don’t respect the profession because of these misconceptions.

“The biggest misconception is that nursing is not autonomous, which basically means that patient care is doctor dependent, but that is incorrect, as the nursing practice is an independent act as prescribed in nursing act 50 of 1978 which sets apart the independent functions of our noble profession. Nurses develop and monitor care and treatment plans in consultation with other members of the MDT,” she says.

Health experts to keep a close eye on the COVID-19 infection numbers

Working during COVID-19 pandemic

Nurses are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of their job. In 2020, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala stated that nurses account for the majority of deaths due to COVID-19.

Mtshali says one of the most challenging things about working during the COVID-19 pandemic is the risk of infecting family members.

“The biggest challenge is the COVID-19 exposure and the potential risk of being infected and transferring the virus to my own family. However, our employer ensures that we have PPE and adhere to IPC protocols.”

READ: Challenges of living with a front line worker during a pandemic

The joys of being a nurse

Despite the challenges of being at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mtshali says what brings her joy is seeing her patients recover.

“I love when my patients conditions improve,” she says.

The pediatric nurse says being able to comfort and help both children and their parents is a blessing.

“As a nurse in children’s ward, most of the time when children are sick, parents also panic because of the fear of the unknown. With my care, I am able to allay their anxiety through communicating with them and involving them in the treatment plans of their kids. I thoroughly love when a child that was sick gets discharged after good quality care that we have provided. The smile on the parents’ face is priceless.”

A call for more nurses

Mtshali’s advice to aspiring nurses is that nursing requires selflessness and it is a fulfilling career.

“Nursing is a noble profession built on love and care for the people. It requires a selfless and hard-working person as there is not much money like other professions, but is however very fulfilling,” she says.

The proud nurse concludes with a call for more nurses.

“We need more nurses, please come and join us, we need more caring hands,” she concludes.

READ: DENOSA urges govt to address healthcare service disruptions

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