Recently, the world commemorated International Nurses Day under the theme Our Nurses. Our Future to celebrate the role nurses play in society.
The nursing vocation holds a special place in my heart as I am a career nurse by profession. I have had many years of exposure in this field and I have often found that it is an undervalued career path.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic emphasised just how critical a role nurses play on the frontlines of the battle against a pandemic. Many lost their lives in service to others. The pandemic also reaffirmed the critical role played by nurses as first line responders.
During our own commemoration here in the City, I addressed those in attendance by acknowledging that the nursing fraternity in South Africa is undergoing a number of challenges, ranging from a decline in interest in the nursing profession, shortage of nurses, lack of professionalism in the industry and inadequate access to resources.
Despite these challenges, I used the opportunity to remind those in attendance that patients come to us when they are at their most vulnerable. They require us to be professional. Equally important is that they require us to treat them with dignity, empathy, patience, compassion and integrity.
I called on those present to be the agents of change and to take the lead in reshaping the way the nursing industry is viewed. It is imperative that we collectively restore the integrity of the nursing profession through discipline and hard work.
As the MMC responsible for Health in the City of Tshwane, I want to take this opportunity to thank all nurses for their continued dedication and service under challenging circumstances. It has not gone unnoticed.