'Dad's death led me to nursing career,' says young nurse

Tsakani Ndlovu
Tsakani Ndlovu
Image: Supplied

Tsakani Ndlovu was inspired to become a nurse after her father passed away from a chronic kidney disease.

The 29-year-old Ndlovu said she felt helpless when her father was sick and decided that the medical fraternity was where she belonged.

"I felt that if I had known at that time how to look after my dad, he might still possibly be alive or may have lived longer," Ndlovu said.

"Now I have the skills to help someone who is in the same position as him. When I see someone walk in with a critical condition and then leave the hospital in good health and in a better condition, that is the best part of my job... being able to change people's lives."

Ndlovu from Midrand, Johannesburg, said one of the most difficult parts of her job was separating her emotions from her work.

"Sometimes patients stay in hospital for long and you end up knowing even their kids and hear them telling you about their lives. You end up having unintentional attachment to the patient and it becomes difficult to separate emotions from work."

Ndlovu said accepting that some people would die was also a hard lesson to learn.

"We can't save everyone as much as our goal is to save lives. Sometimes you cannot save some people's lives and death is sometimes something you just cannot get used to.

"I don't feel nurses [in SA] get paid enough. That's why some of them get their qualifications and go to other countries for better opportunities."

She believes that nurses will stay in the country if salaries become more satisfactory.

"If you compare salaries across the healthcare sector, you will find that nurses are the lowest paid compared to doctors and pharmacists."

Ndlovu said there was a stigma around nurses who other people see as the "devils in the white dress", because of negative stories in the media.

She added that although every single position was important for a hospital to be successful, nurses ultimately carry most of the workload.

"I want to see the empowerment of young nurses and nursing being taken seriously in society and respected as a profession.

"I also want to go back to school and continue being a great mother," she said.

-These are the views of Tsakani Ndlovu and not the DOH

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