Awards for long service

Tygerberg Hospital held a special long-service awards ceremony for staff with 10, 20, 30, and 40 years service. More than 250 staff were honoured, including, back, from left, professional nurses Magda Mocke, of Ravensmead; Felicia Heunis, of Parow; Kalthoema Fredericks, of Strand and Bertha Bailey, of Tygerberg. In front are Wilma Sauls, of Eerste River; Anncha Kepkey, of Parow; and Priscilla Cupido, of Kraaifontein.

She was praised for her 30-year unbroken service to the hospital.

Awards were given to employees with 10, 20, 30, and 40 years unbroken service.

Ms Heunis started at Tygerberg Hospital in July 1986 after completing her nursing studies at the Sarleh Dollie Nursing College based at the hospital.

“During my studies, I did general nursing, midwifery and psychiatry,” she said.

She started working in the cardiothoracic unit and has worked in most of the hospital’s units since then.

“It was very stressful, working in that unit, especially fresh out of college. However, it is very rewarding to watch a patient go from ill health to recovery.”

Ms Heunis said she had wanted to be a nurse since she was a child.

“I have always been a caring person and that is why I decided to become a nurse. The caring aspect of nursing drew me to the profession as I like to take care of the well-being of people. If I didn’t become a nurse I would have pursued a career in social work,” she said.

She said the gratitude shown by patients following their recovery made her job all the more rewarding.

“I work 12-hour shifts, so my job can be all-consuming. Not only am I dealing with patients but their families as well. However, it’s wonderful to be able to nurse someone back to good health,” she said.

Ms Heunis said receiving the award was wonderful as it affirmed the hard work she did everyday, but it was important to strike a balance between work and family.

“Nursing can be very emotionally draining at times. It’s not easy, but my family is my number one priority,” said Ms Heunis.

She has an 18-year-old daughter and has been happily married to her husband, Harold, for 22 years.

She urged Capetonians to take care during the silly season.

“We get a lot of cases of near-drownings and suicide attempts during the festive season. I want to urge the community not to consume alcohol while at the beach and to keep an eye on their children.”

Many adolescents tried to take their lives at this time of year, she said, especially after getting their matric results.

“Social media plays a big role in how youngsters view themselves. I want to encourage parents to keep the lines of communication open with their children. The youth still need their parents. Parents need to make an effort to constantly talk to their children. Be open and resolve conflict with your children immediately.”

Aspirant nurses, she said, should be passionate about the profession.

“Nurses work long hours, and you have to be passionate about your job. This is a serious profession as you are dealing with the lives of very ill people on a daily basis. They also need to be flexible and have a patient temperament.”