TRUE LIFE STORIES – HIDDEN HEROES
Values of The Exceptional Nurse Bruce herself embodies these values. She is a patron of TEN (The Exceptional Nurse) campaign, which envisages exceptional nursing care practised by compassionate, committed, competent and courageous professionals in every hospital and clinic in South Africa. “If nurses are ‘the backbone’ of public health, why are they treated like the coccyx!” says Bruce indignantly, who decries the patriarchy and disrespect that persists, particularly between doctors and nurses. Bruce can’t but help be immersed in the politics of nursing, stakeholders in which have recognised her expertise – she was previously appointed to the Ministerial Task Team on Nursing Education and Training, and was a member of the Standing Committee on Health of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Nurses make up the largest cadre of healthcare workers and are essential for a strong and responsive health system. Bruce says it is high time to see a nurse in the role of Minister of Health.
PUTTING OTHERS BEFORE SELF. Once in a blue moon we are fortunate enough to meet someone who so intentionally flies under the radar and yet is making such a significant contribution in their profession on a daily basis. One of my great honours in interviewing nurses for the TEN Campaign is coming into contact with exceptionally humble and selfless people who sometimes even struggle to talk about themselves because their lives are completely focused on others.
“I DID NOT CHOOSE NURSING – NURSING CHOSE ME!” We waited one evening in the deserted reception of the beautifully renovated 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg, Cape Town. From the moment the 29 year old Captain Lebogang Ncube came running enthusiastically towards us, his bright smile and happy demeanour enlightened the entire atmosphere.
ACT JUSTLY, LOVE MERCY AND WALK HUMBLY…… There is a general misconception that nursing is only about bedside care and dealing with patients in a hospital or clinic setting. This is why our next EXCEPTIONAL NURSE STORY is so important: it sheds light on this vital and multi-faceted profession.
Our first EXCEPTIONAL NURSE story is one that embodies a single word above all the rest: COURAGE. Stories of courage are so important because it is not something we’re born with, but it is something we choose. And it’s not only something we choose once, but over and over again in the face of each new challenge, no matter how big or small.