Nurse acknowledged

2018-11-13 06:00
Sister Valerie Kruger.

Sister Valerie Kruger.

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In acknowledging the dedicated work of nurses, the Western Cape Department of Health honoured the almost 13 000 nurses in its employ when it showcased 12 nurses who were nominated for the prestigious Cecilia Makiwane Nurses Recognition Award which took place on Friday 9 November.

The awards recognise, celebrate and value nurses for their unwavering dedication and selfless commitment to the nursing profession and exceptional work in making a lasting improvement of the quality of life and the well-being of patients.

“With the Cecilia Makiwane Awards we gave recognition to those men and women who went beyond the call of duty to serve their community.

“Men and women who were innovative within the constraints of the system to ensure they provide quality care to our communities,” said Health Minister Nomafrench Mbombo in a statement.

One of the nominees who received recognition at the awards ceremony is the Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre’s Sister Valerie Kruger, a Clinical Nurse Practitioner working in the School Health Component for approximately 12 years at the facility.

She was nominated for her commitment in providing an effective and qualitative school health service in Mitchell’s Plain.

Kruger started working at the CHC in 2006 and has since upskilled herself from a Registered Nurse to a Clinical Nurse Practitioner. She completed a Nursing Education Diploma and in 2013 completed her postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Administration.

In 2016, she managed the school health services in its entirety, and has developed a clear referral path in Mitchell’s Plain for school health services in compliance with Ideal Clinic standards and ensures that she is available and contactable via her personal cell phone.

“Health promotion is an important part of the Integrated School Health Policy (ISHP), and I have over the years ensured the link between the Western Cape Departments of Health and Education are strengthened through the Health Promoting Schools (HPS) initiative,” said Kruger in a statement.

She serves as the Chairperson of the Metro Health Promoting Schools executive team as well as the coordinator of the Mitchell’s Plain HPS cluster group.

When being asked what the award nomination meant to her, she humbly said: “We have many ‘Cecilias’ working for the Department, and we should all be able to recognise our own ability and worth.”

She knew from the get go that prevention was better than cure, and for the past few years, she has been working to see that happe­n.­

Kruger was first featured in People’s Post last year, after receiving an award for Best Frontline Service Delivery at the Premier’s Awards. This was her first award (“Principled school nurse will go the extra mile to help”, People’s Post, 12 September 2017).

Kruger, from Surrey Estate, specialised in school nursing in Mitchell’s Plain, starting her studies in 2001.

In 2005, after finishing her studies, she worked with children at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

“I saw too many end-stage cases and wanted to do some preventative work. I always wanted to be a school nurse,” she said to People’s Post at the time.

In 2006 a position became available at the Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre, which Kruger says she jumped at, even though she had never been to the area
before.

“I have been here in school health for 11 years and I have seen the many changes in school health services,” said Kruger.

Her interest in school health started while in training.

“Every year we were placed for community work and I was always placed with the school nurse. When I finished my fourth year, we were all asked where we wanted to go and I was the only one who knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a school nurse,” she said. “School health is preventative but also health promotive.”

“I wanted to become a teacher or lawyer and not a nurse, but because of finances I went to college and there I decided to become a nurse,” said Kruger.

Being involved in the care of the aged changed her mind. What she enjoys most is the science behind nursing and the human body.

“The fact that there is science in us and to be able to understand that and we can share that with everyone.”

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