Faces of the frontline

Edith RobertsAdministrative Assistant: Emergency Centre

“We’ve always enjoyed a family culture at Mediclinic and fighting COVID-19 has brought us closer together. A small thing maybe, but when the pandemic broke out, the hospital made provision for everybody – including support and administration staff – to wear protective scrubs. This boosted morale and helped us work as a unified team.” 

Nandipha MpolweniRegistered Nurse: Medical Unit 

“I am excited to go to work every morning because of our sense of teamwork and togetherness. It’s a passion for me. I focus on treating my patients like people – not just patients. Nursing is about making people feel special and cared for.” 

Yvette Marais Acting Unit Manager: Emergency Centre

“Working on the frontline hasn’t always been easy, but we have been supported every step of the way. Hospital management recognises us when we go above and beyond and make a point of saying thank you. The fact we feel heard when we need to speak up means a lot.” 

Dr Bianca VermeulenGP: Emergency Centre

“The psychological fallout from ongoing waves of positive COVID-19 cases is immense. Fortunately we have access to debriefing, psychological or religious counselling, and group sessions where appropriate. We’re reminded and encouraged to focus on ourselves – not just on our patients. After all, we need to take care of ourselves in order to care for our patients optimally.” 

Sejin Edattukaran – Professional Nurse: Paediatric Unit 

“I learn so much from the amazing kids I nurse – they show such courage and strength. I treat my patients as if they were my own children. In my line of work, it’s important to offer emotional support to the concerned families too. I’ve been with Mediclinic for nine years, and as a professional nurse, I know patience and calmness are key.” 

Maryke OttoSenior Professional Nurse: Orthopaedic Unit

“My mother was a nurse and I spent my childhood playing with teddy bears and plasters. I can’t see myself doing anything else – nursing is in my blood. It’s definitely a calling. Nurses get to see people at their most vulnerable, and we aim to respect and restore their dignity. It’s very rewarding to know you have played a significant role in a patient’s healing process. A key requirement to be a nurse? Empathy.” 

Sabelo KevaProfessional Nurse: Surgical Unit 

“I’m a kind, loving, empathetic person who comes from a family of healthcare professionals. As a nurse, you have to be fully present and precise at all times. There is no room for mistakes. Mediclinic offers quality, ongoing training and workshops where we constantly learn about updated procedures and technologies. Mediclinic is all about teamwork and open communication. Seeing elderly Covid patients being discharged after being on a ventilator has been a real highlight for me.” 

Elizabeth DoumanSenior Professional Nurse: Surgical Unit 

“Mediclinic is a culture – we strive towards compassion, continuous improvement and fairness. If you set goals for yourself, Mediclinic offers opportunities to empower yourself. I could never have been a businesswoman working with money. Health is a priceless commodity and I enjoy people too much – I give 100% to my patients. The satisfaction of helping very ill patients get better and walk out of hospital is enough reward.” 

Heinrich Africa – Branch Manager: ER24

“Ironically for a paramedic, I have a fear of needles. But I went to get the vaccine, which shows that my fear of the virus outweighs my fear of the needle. We’re seeing a change where paramedics have been vaccinated and are getting COVID-19 because of accidental exposure – but the symptoms appear to not be that harmful. The vaccine is an extra internal personal protection against COVID-19 that each person can carry. It is our best shot at defeating this disease and ending the pandemic.” 

Letica LotteringProfessional Nurse: Neonatal ICU 

“My mom had chronic renal failure so I became very familiar with hospitals as a youngster.  I’ve been a nurse since 2002 and neonatal is so rewarding. There is nothing that compares to seeing a premature 495-gram baby go home after four months weighing two or 3kg. I get so attached to them and their mothers – and often stay in contact after discharge. I also take joy in our patients’ tiniest improvements because they are often big achievements. Being confident in what you do is important – and Mediclinic offers constant support.” 

Ilsa ElsProfessional Nurse: Medical ICU 

“We see many stroke victims and patients with respiratory and kidney problems. The best part of my job is being able to make someone’s terrible experience in life a little better. I studied through Mediclinic and if a patient is on dialysis or a ventilator, we are qualified to look after them. It’s a tough, high-pressure job with very intense one-on-one contact with patients. I couldn’t do it without our incredibly supportive nursing teams.” 

Roselene van WykSenior Professional Nurse: Emergency Centre 

“As a nurse, you always wear a mask – which means you need to make good eye contact with your patients and your teams. We see everything from medical trauma patients to the elderly and kids; it’s different every time. The Emergency Centre is an adrenaline rush and being respectful of the unknown keeps you on your toes. We are constantly training and upskilling – from advanced life support training to ventilator workshops.” 

Suzan Ramaboka Enrolled Nurse Auxiliary: Maternity Unit 

“I love delivering babies and teaching new moms how to bath their babies and breastfeed. It’s amazing to hold a tiny, innocent newborn. It’s so life-affirming, it’s like a little miracle every time. I gave birth to my first child during the pandemic – and chose to deliver at Mediclinic because the quality of care is so high. From the nurses to the doctors to the cleaners, everyone is so professional.” 

Princess Qondo – Basic Life Support Paramedic: ER24 

“I had a passion to help other people starting from when I was young because I grew up with an asthmatic mother. I had a teacher who helped me out with my mother when she had asthma attacks. That’s where I learnt how to help treat patients with asthma and knew I wanted to help people who were suffering. I enjoy treating patients, chatting with them and advising them. I like to give my patients hope.” 

Alida Horn Professional Nurse: Theatre Recovery 

“I am the first face you see when you wake up after theatre. I check that you are breathing on your own, are pain-free, not bleeding, orientated and strong enough to go to the ward. I also monitor your vital signs. We work 12-hour shifts and my colleagues are like family. The highlight of my day is seeing my patients smiling. I see a broad spectrum of patients – from paediatric cases to cardiovascular to orthopaedic. I really enjoy the human contact and making a connection with all of them.” 

Rozanne Visser Professional Nurse: Surgical ICU 

“I get paid for doing what I love. I enjoy taking care of a patient’s needs and being an integral part of their recovery phase. To be a good nurse you need organisational skills, empathy, kindness and patience. As an ICU nurse, you can’t panic. There can’t be chaos. You need to think ahead and be prepared for all eventualities. I deal with anxious people who are often in pain so I always explain what I’m doing and include them in the decision-making process. When people say thank you, it’s such a reward.” 

Nicola SteenbergOperational ECT Medic: ER24

“My five-year-old son had COVID-19, and my husband had COVID-19 quite badly. He was in bed on oxygen. I haven’t been able to see my grandmother for two years and she’s 89 years old. She raised me, so not seeing her is very difficult. Our message to the public is: Just stay home. Don’t go to gatherings. Take care of yourself. Take responsibility for your own health. Do everything you can to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 and this will help to protect those around you too.” 

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