Thembalami nursing staff saluted

International Nurses’ Day is celebrated around the world on May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

Known as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’, Florence was involved in nursing people during a cholera outbreak and later she took care of the ill and wounded during the Crimean War in the 1850s. Working on the frontlines, the conditions she faced were so horrific that more soldiers were dying of infectious diseases like typhoid and cholera than from injuries incurred in battle.

This year, Nurses’ Day around the world had extra significance, given the tremendous sacrifices being made by healthcare workers battling the coronavirus pandemic. At Rand Aid’s Thembalami Care Centre in Lombardy East, a ceremony was held to show management and residents’ appreciation of the wonderful work being done by the 53-strong nursing team at the centre.

The 124 residents of Thembalami – which incorporates the Max Ordman Deaf Association – receive wonderful care from the committed team.

On International Nurses’ Day, manager Esme van der Walt arranged beautifully decorated tables outside the door of the dining hall, where the function was held. Taking centre stage was a large candle and alongside it was a lamp symbolising Florence’s lamp. Also laid out was a smaller candle for each member of the nursing team.

The ceremony started when the head of the nursing team, Matron Paulina Namo – who has been at Thembalami for over 30 years – had her lamp lit by Esme, using the flame of the large candle.

She was positioned at the far end of the hall and one by one, the professional, enrolled and auxiliary nurses walked in and lit their candles from the lamp’s flame. With Matron Paulina taking the lead, they repeated the Nurse’s Pledge together before making way for the careworkers, who also lit their candles and recited their pledge.

Ayanda Matthews, Rand Aid’s GM: Compliance and Social React Division, Esme and Matron Paulina gave short speeches thanking the nursing staff for their dedication under difficult circumstances.

“Being a nurse is a calling and not a job that just anyone can do,” said Esme, before reading a nurses’ prayer.

Resident Adrienne Bass thanked the nursing staff on behalf of the residents and afterwards, everyone sang the national anthem before social worker Lara Hurwitz closed proceedings with Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’.

Outside the hall, on the noticeboard, the names of all nursing staff members had been printed and attached to pretty pieces of material, in honour of their commitment.

A gift was presented to each member of the nursing team and tea and cake was enjoyed.

A second ceremony was held to cater for those working the second shift.

“The event was very touching. So many residents thanked the staff profusely for the way they are being taken care of, how protected they feel and how they appreciate every little gesture,” says deputy manager Elize Raath. “In turn, the staff said they felt humbled and appreciated.”

Esme van der Walt, the manager of Thembalami Care Centre, thanks the nursing staff for their dedication.

Manager Esme van der Walt lights the lamp of Matron Paulina Namo, who is the heartbeat of Thembalami Care Centre’s nursing team.

Ayanda Matthews, Rand Aid’s GM: Compliance and Social React Division, gave a heartfelt tribute to the nursing staff. Ayanda too was a nurse in the early stages of her career.

Enrolled nurse Mokgere Malebane with her candle and pledge.

Members of the nursing team at the ceremony of appreciation.

The foyer was beautifully decorated for Nurses’ Day.

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