National award for ‘caring’

2016-09-06 06:00
Helen van As career in caring was rewarded with major award.

Helen van As career in caring was rewarded with major award.

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A career in caring was rewarded when Fish Hoek’s Helen van As, case manager at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, was recently named the 2016 National Public Sector Case Manager of the Year.

She was given this accolade when the awards ceremony took place at the National Public Sector Case Management Conference in Port Elizabeth during August.

The recipient of the annual award is an individual whose notable contributions and exceptional dedication have provided a positive vision for the future of case management, a relatively new and developing role in the South African health care market.

The award is presented to a manager within the public sector who is judged to have demonstrated excellence in their profession. The recipient is considered to have made a positive impact on patients, possess a passion for service to patients, provide leadership in their organisation and creatively solve problems and address barriers to patient care.

Case management is made up of nursing professionals who, by their nature and vocation, are nurturers and caregivers. Few of them contemplate the difference they make to their patients and employers, but this prestigious award recognises the work that Van As and her team do at the hospital.

“I am exceptionally proud of Van As and her achievement,” says the Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.

Accepting her award Van As stresses that the award was not hers alone.

“It is a great honour to receive this award, but it isn’t mine alone,” she says.

“It belongs to the hard-working and dedicated team within the Case Management Department at the hospital and the multi-disciplinary team involved in the care of each and every patient.

“Our patients and their families have never been more complex or diverse and we are reminded to advocate for our patients on a daily basis in a kind, calm and patient manner.”

Van As started her nursing career in 1992 at Witrand Hospital in Potchefstroom where she qualified as an Enrolled Nursing Assistant.

She worked her way up the career ladder, working in various areas within different hospitals – including the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NNICU) and Trauma Unit – to qualify as an Enrolled Nurse.

In 2012 she trained as a Clinical Coder before entering the field of case management more than two years ago.

Van As says she got into case management because she thrives in a challenging environment and wanted to be involved in all aspects of a patient’s care.

She believes that working with patients from start to finish makes a true difference in the outcomes.

The case manager uses various scoring systems to determine the appropriate level of care required as well as the functional ability of the patient.

“Case management in South Africa is a far cry from what it should be, but our daily duties enable us to apply our knowledge and skills and provides opportunities for us to put the field of case management onto the map, especially in the public sector where this is still a relatively new and unknown field,” she concludes.

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