Kuils River nurse retires after 43 years of service

Andrea Jacobs of Kuils River retired on April 30.

The deputy manager of Tygerberg Hospital’s paediatric ward has retired after 43 years in nursing.

Andrea Jacobs,62, of Kuils River, worked her last midnight shift on Thursday April 30 but returned two days later as a volunteer in the ward. She describes the work as “her calling.”

She was 20 when she started at the hospital in July 1977. “Nursing is not like it was back then,” she said. “We were trained by professionals who requested discipline more than knowledge.” She described how the “matrons” would not let them enter the offices if “they were not presentable enough”.

She called Tygerberg Hospital her home away from home and the staff her second family. “My husband died many years ago, but my colleagues were the ones I could depend on during the toughest times,” she said. She has served on the hospital’s facility board, with two terms and as chairwoman, and she was part of the hospital’s netball team. 

The hardest part of her job, she said, had been telling parents their child had died. “Children are very special but comforting their families when they die is one of the hardest tasks in the ward.”

She said she was confident Tygerberg Hospital staff would pull through the Covid-19 pandemic just as they had done with an Ebola outbreak at the hospital in August 2018.