Top honour: Grey’s Hospital midwife fulfills her dreams

2012-11-08 00:00

WHEN Sister Leigh Scott decided to answer a calling to become a nurse, little did she realise the positive impact she would have on the lives of others.

The operational manager at Grey’s Hospital was the overall winner at the Marilyn Lahana Trust Caring Awards held in Pretoria on Friday.

The awards commemorate Marilyn Lahana, a Johannesburg nurse who risked her life in the interests of her patients.

A patient who had contracted Ebola fever was admitted to the facility where she worked. Lahana took a risk in caring for the patient, contracted the disease and died soon after.

Said Scott: “I feel very honoured and privileged. There are thousands of midwives doing what I do.

“I don’t really think I’m worthy of the award, but the staff at Grey’s feel that I am worthy. I must accept that.”

She won the award as best nurse and took home R7000. The second and third prizes went to nurses from the Free State and Eastern Cape respectively.

Next year, after 40 years in the profession, Scott will retire.

Although she feels sad at the thought of leaving her colleagues, the students she helped and the many patients who have made her life more meaningful, she believes that life must go on.

“In some ways it is wonderful, and in other ways I’m going to miss what I do … terribly,” she added.

“But it’s another phase in your life and one moves on. I have done more than I thought I could do.”

Scott took an interest in the profession at an early age and joined the Red Cross Society when she was still a child.

“It’s a passion for me, it’s a calling. I decided many years ago that this is what I was meant to do,” said Scott, whose selfless dedication has earned her the respect of her colleagues.

Scott is the operational manager in the hospital’s labour ward, admission ward and induction bay.

She has practised as a midwife for years and has brought a lot of joy to many patients after helping to deliver their babies.

“I’m passionate about the care that a woman must receive when she is in labour.

“A woman must come away from having a baby feeling that she has achieved something,” she said.

Although she doesn’t have children of her own, she has held many babies in her arms. While she can’t recall the first time she delivered a baby, she said the first delivery was special.

“Any midwife will tell you it is very special. They will say, ‘Wow, I delivered a baby today’,” Scott said.

Although she has been a part of many people’s happiest moments, she has also experienced the reality of mothers and babies losing their lives during birth.

Scott’s smile disappears as she talks about the deaths.

“It is a terrible time and it upsets the nurse. Doctors are incredible … and go the extra mile.

“When a mother or baby dies it is not something we like to see, but it’s a reality,” she added.

Despite the occasional setbacks, Scott said, she and her team soldiered on and tried to do their best.

Scott said she had no regrets about the career she had chosen and had loved every minute of it.

With just a few more months left before she retires, Scott said she had fulfilled her dreams.

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