One Tuesday early in October, Reshnee Beekrum watched something remarkable: a patient being discharged from Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg after 56 days in the cardiac ICU. Beekrum, Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg’s Patient Experience Manager, was on hand for three important reasons: First, to reassure the patient’s two young children, who were understandably “nervous and scared” about seeing their dad after such a long time apart. Second, to capture the poignant event on video and share it with the hospital’s broader community. Third, and most importantly, to celebrate: Not just the patient’s recovery. Not just the hard work of the dedicated team that guided him through his fight against COVID-19 pneumonia. But life itself.

Times like these are what make it all worthwhile for those on the frontline. But there are darker days too, of course. Beekrum knows only too well how it feels to comfort a grieving family, or sit at the bedside of a patient who knows their journey is at an end. Always, she listens.

“I love the human interaction. Every day I’m in contact with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Patients share their joys, happiness and sadness. It’s my job to create space for them to be heard – to know they’re important and their experiences are important.”

As a public-facing member of Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg’s team, Beekrum is often referred to in media articles as the hospital’s “marketing manager”. While it’s true that marketing is part of her work, the clue to her job lies in its proper title. Beekrum and her Patient Experience colleagues across Mediclinic’s facilities ensure patients and their families receive an extra layer of support to complement their clinical and administrative experiences. 

Compassion is key, so it’s no surprise that Beekrum began her career as a nurse. Born in Pietermaritzburg and schooled in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, she returned home for her tertiary studies. Nursing wasn’t her first choice – she also considered going into accounting or commerce. When she expressed this at an interview for a place at a Pietermaritzburg nursing college, the interviewer replied, “I won’t waste my time if your heart’s not in it.”

“Patients share their joys, happiness, and sadness. It’s my job to create space for them to be heard – to know they’re important and their experiences are important.”

Reshnee Beekrum 

Her nursing career led to further studies; she completed a degree in nursing management and education, before entering the primary health and medical aid industry. In 1999, Beekrum joined Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg as its first Case Manager – a position that required her to spend time in ICUs and units, gathering case information, chatting with specialists and patients, and motivating to medical aids for patients’ coverage or requirements. In many ways the work was a precursor to her current role in which she interacts daily with people, drawing from her nursing background to assess clinical data.

In the early 2000s her priorities shifted. “I left [my job] when my son was born. I was a first-time mom – I wanted to stay at home and do the mom thing. When he went to play school I came back to Mediclinic as a temp for a year in the administrative department. In 2003, the hospital manager suggested I apply for the position of Client Services Manager. I did, but I told him I’d resign when the next child came along. Well, my daughter was born… I didn’t resign, took maternity leave, and I’ve been at Mediclinic ever since!”

What made her stay? “That’s an easy one to answer: Mediclinic feels like home. I’m aligned with Mediclinic’s values. My kids still call the hospital ‘Mom’s hospital’ and refer to it as my first home. Family comes first, and Mediclinic, my career here – it’s part of that family.”


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