Nurses at Weskoppies Hospital retake their pledge

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pretoria - In a moving ceremony on Wednesday, nurses at Weskoppies Hospital rededicated themselves to their calling.

They were among millions of nurses around the globe who celebrated International Nurses Day, even if their celebration was a few days later. International Nurses Day is traditionally observed across around the world every 12 May, to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the iconic Florence Nightingale.

In a candlelit ceremony, the Weskoppies nurses jointly recited the Nurses Pledge which all members of the profession are required to take in order for them to understand that the care of patients is their number one priority.

Speaker after speaker related what it meant to be a nurse and reminded themselves why they were nurses.

Dressed in their white nurse uniforms, the men and women are charged with the responsibility of looking after the needs of psychiatric patients at the historic hospital.

Stella Sebati, the former Matron of Mamelodi Day Hospital who is now retired, took the audience through the history of nursing in South Africa and the world.

She spoke of nursing heroines like the first registered professional black nurse in South Africa Cecilia Makiwane and other pioneers of the profession.

She dealt with the Biblical basis of nursing and quoted from the Old Testament books of Exodus and Ezekiel, noting that nurses regarded their work as God's work. She told of how, in Ancient times, nurses' work was performed by slaves and priests.

Hospital CEO Maureen Mabena said: "Every nurse must take the baton and restore the profession to its glory. Taking care of a person until after death is what we do. The functions have not changed. We must also know about patient rights. Without a patient, there is no work."

Many of the nurses present spoke about their profession proudly.

Weskoppies has about 460 inpatients and treats about 1 000 outpatients.

The nurses were treated to a sponsored lunch after the ceremony.