On Friday, 12 May, the nurses of Life Piet Retief Hospital exchanged their normal flats for heels as they celebrated international nurses day.
International Nurses Day is a very special occasion for nurses as it reminds them why they are in the profession and they displayed the commitment of their service to the communities. The morning started with all the nurses dancing and singing from the gate of the premises, as they believe this is where everything begins.
From there they repeated their pledge in the foyer of the hospital and then, once again singing, moved on to have the formal ceremony. Even though all the decorations were done in the colours of Life Hospital – red, blue and white – red stood out the most, as this symbolizes life, and as the nurses state in their pledge, “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life”.
After opening with prayer and worship, the Matron, Lena Masus, took the stand and explained why it is important to celebrate Nurses Day. She encouraged the nurses to do their job to the best of their ability, using Florence Nightingale and Cecilia Makiwane as examples of what a nurse is supposed to be. Florence Nightingale became the first modern nurse for her work done during the Crimean War, where she tended to the soldiers’ wounds and trained other women to help her.
She later established her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday each year to commemorate the work she has done for the profession. Cecilia Makiwane started her professional nurse training in 1903 at Lovedale College.
She passed her exams, and on 8 January 1908, Makiwane became the first registered black nurse in South Africa. “I solemnly pledge myself to the service of humanity and will endeavour to practice my profession with conscience and dignity… The total health of my patients will be my first consideration”.
The matron reminded the nurses that you do not choose to be a nurse. It is something that is within special women/men who are born to do this job. She said that nurses play an integral role in healthcare and are the heart of healthcare. Nurses need commitment and dedication for the job they do, as they have to nurse patients physically, emotionally and spiritually.
After her, Sister Kunene Thobile read the poem she wrote explaining why she is honoured and proud to be a Life Hospital Sister. Through her poem, she explained the important role that nurses play to ensure the effective care and nurturing of patients. Matron Lena Masus thanked every nurse who stands on her feet for twelve hours at a time to safe a life or in making a difference. “I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.”