Taking new care of little children

2016-10-05 12:46
Mitzi Franken

Mitzi Franken

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Sharing a birthday with the founder of modern nursing led to a career in caring for Mitzi Franken.

She has just been appointed as the new nursing manager at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Franken, who is from Protea Heights in Brackenfell, joins the hospital from Mowbray Maternity Hospital where she worked as assistant manager in neonatology for the past six years.
With 25 years of experience, Franken is well-positioned to take on this senior role at South Africa’s only children’s hospital.

Having first started her career at Tygerberg Hospital in 1991, after qualifying as a registered professional nurse at the then Otto du Plessis Nursing College, Franken has worked her way up the career ladder.

After three years at Tygerberg Hospital, she worked in midwifery and neonatal nursing care at the Nkhoma Hospital in Malawi before moving to Karl Bremer Hospital where she was instrumental in the establishment of the first 30-bed Kangaroo Mother Care Unit.

She also worked at the Muscat Private Hospital in the Sultanate of Oman, where she played a prominent role in the opening of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, before finding her way back to Tygerberg Hospital where she worked as a mentor trainer in the department of paediatrics.

She says she chose a career in nursing after regularly being told the story of her birth.

“My father always tells me that he had to drive more than 300km to get my mother to the hospital after I decided to arrive four weeks earlier than my due date and after my mom was advised not to have another child,” she says.

“My birthday also happens to be on 12 May, sharing a birthday with Florence Nightingale, so ever since I was a little girl that’s what I wanted to be.

“In later years I realised the imprint that these stories had in my choice of career.”

Throughout her career she realised that every life counts and she has actively been involved in teaching and training staff to care for vulnerable babies.

With a wealth of experience in paediatric health care and as the chairperson of the South African Kangaroo Mother Care Foundation, Franken is a great asset to the team and will provide leadership to the nursing department within the hospital.

“I am confident that Franken will be an invaluable asset to the hospital and continue to advance the great level of care which it is so well known for,” says the Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.

Dr Matodzi Mukosi, CEO of Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, says: “I have no doubt that our new nursing manager will lead our nursing department with excellence. We are blessed to have a person of her calibre as part of our management team.

Franken, on her appointment at the hospital, adds: “It is a great honour to be part of this great academic institution and to be of service here. I am looking forward to maintaining the high standard of nursing care in this facility, but also to – in due time – benchmark nursing against world-class nursing services and ultimately strengthening care to our patients and their families.”

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