Sister Marion bids farewell

Sister Marion Schubert in her nursing uniform in training in 1973.

Nursing was very different when Marion Schubert, of Monte Vista, reported for her first day of work at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1975.

Back then, nurses wore dresses, stockings and caps, not the pants you’ll seem them in today, she says.

“In those days, the sisters were much stricter, like ‘military style’, though today it is much more casual,” she says.

The 65-year-old retired last month after spending 45 years at Groote Schuur.

She was born in Coevorden, in the Netherlands and was just 3 when she moved with her parents to Angola after her father, Willem de Vries, was relocated by the oil company he worked for. Marion attended German schools in Angola and South-West Africa.

She was inspired to follow in her mother Johanna Westra’s footsteps and become a nurse, and she was drawn to Groote Schuur because of the reputation the hospital had after the first heart transplant there in 1967.

“When I came here my English wasn’t good. I was Dutch and did my school education at German schools, so it was quite an adjustment as I needed to do my training in English.”

During her career at Groote Schuur, she has worked in various wards and spent the past 37 years on night shift.

“I preferred it, and my body clock got used to it.”

Nursing has seen many changes since 1975, but some things haven’t changed, she says.

“Your work ethic, how you talk to the families and how you impact the patients is important in nursing.”

Groote Schuur spokesman Alaric Jacobs says the hospital is sad to see her go.

“We are proud of what she has done at the hospital and she is an example to all the young nurses entering the field and we wish her well on retirement.”