Top nurse treats all with respect

2016-10-25 06:00
Jeanette Oliphant

Jeanette Oliphant

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A local nurse has been recognised as one of 10 finalists for a provincial award.

Jeanette Oliphant (53), an enrolled nursing assistant at the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre in Lentegeur, has more than 30 years’ experience in the provincial health department. Her dedication to serving her patients stretches far beyond her required time at the office. She treats all patients with respect and dignity.

“I am dedicated to making a difference in my community. Because many families are affected by unemployment, financial difficulty and substance and physical abuse, I regularly volunteer in a number of church and youth programmes, to assist community members who require guidance or advice,” says Oliphant.

She regularly visits persons with disabilities and their families in her neighbourhood to educate and upskill them in caring for a person with a disability. She is motivated to improve the quality of life and independence of people with disabilities – a key goal of patient-centred care.

Oliphant is known for serving her community without hesitation – many a time without remuneration.

“My return on investment has always been the reassurance that I have made a difference. I hope to continue giving back to my community even after my retirement,” says Oliphant.

Beyond volunteering at various church and youth programmes, she ensures staff adhere to all occupational health and safety policies. She has implemented pressure-relief practices to educate patients on how to relieve pressure while in a wheelchair as pressure sores can become infected and in some cases can cause death.

She implemented a programme for catheter-associated urinary tract infections to uphold standards and the right technique for removing urinary catheters from spinal-cord injury patients.

Although she missed out on the top spot, it is these attributes that recently got her nominated as one of the top ten nurses in the province at the annual Cecilia Makiwane Nurses’ Recognition Awards.

The awards ceremony was held on Friday to pay homage to the thousands of nurses who brave the various challenges this profession experiences each day, to serve a growing number of those dependent on the public healthcare system.

“Caring, competence, accountability, integrity, responsiveness, respect and innovation are integral shared values between the Western Cape government and its staff. These values are what drive [the provincial health department] towards delivering excellent person-centred care to our patients,” says Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, provincial Minister of Health.

“Nowhere else are these values more important than with the nursing profession. Nurses are the foot soldiers of the health system, its backbone, the first point of contact for our patients. They determine the experience of every patient in our care,” Mbombo said at the ceremony.

The awards provide the department an opportunity to recognise and reward those nurses who walk the extra mile to ensure excellent service to their patients and who embody the calling of what it means to be a nurse.

Department head Dr Beth Engelbrecht said: “Providing quality healthcare to 75% of the Western Cape’s population is no easy feat but with a committed nursing force who dedicate themselves tirelessly to their work, it puts the department in good stead to overcome any challenge.”

“Our department is fortunate to be able to boast about such a calibre of nurses in the province. That is why we recognise their selfless work and commitment, not only to the department, but also to each patient, their families, their friends and communities as a whole.”

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