The country’s nurses, along with other medical staff, have put their lives on the line to help others during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
International Nurses Day, which is on 12 May, is an opportunity to celebrate nurses for their service to others.
Professional nurse Luyanda Ganuganu (25), from Groote Schuur Hospital in the Western Cape, says the day is also an opportunity for nurses to continue to shine the bright light of their profession.
“It’s an opportunity for nurses to be recognised, but we must continue to provide quality care, especially during the pandemic,” he says.
Ganuganu was on the frontline during the pandemic’s first and second wave, working at the hospital’s high care COVID-19 ward.
“The best part was the experience gained while working with patients, but the worst part was all the deaths that took place in the ward. Emotionally, that was not easy.”
Ganuganu, who has been a professional nurse for the past two years, chose the profession because he loves helping people.
“I grew up in a rural area in the Eastern Cape and could see how people struggled due to a lack of clinics with nursing care. This developed my passion for wanting to make a difference,” he says.
During the pandemic, Ganuganu has had to learn to work under pressure.
“Decisions have to be made quickly and you have to think on your feet. I also learnt how to communicate with patients,” he adds.
Ganuganu found it very difficult to go to work during the second wave. While he wanted to help others, he also feared for his own family.
“I got married in December 2020 and my wife is pregnant. I have seen a lot of pregnant women die in the COVID-19 ward. I had to be even more careful because I did not want to put my wife’s life in danger,” he says.
Ganuganu is grateful to his managers and colleagues.
“I want to thank them for their support and for giving me the opportunity to grow as a nurse. It’s an awesome experience to work with colleagues who support younger staff.”
His message to the community is to help nurses by being responsible.
“Help us to help you. Everyone knows what is expected of them during COVID-19. Please continue to follow all the guidelines and protocols,” says Ganuganu.