Pretoria News

Nursing from the heart, with compassion


WHILE the world celebrated International Nurses Day yesterday, a nurse with a passion for assisting children on their path to recovery spoke about his challenges, coupled with the joy the profession gives him.

“Nursing must be from your heart; it is challenging, and it can be emotional, but it is an extremely rewarding career that is about so much more than just the money,” said Sibusiso Xhakaza, 33, a skilled member of the paediatric ICU team at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand.

According to him, to be a nurse you need to have a passion for humanity and be both gentle and strong when you are caring for someone who is fragile and frail, like the small children they look after in the paediatric ICU. “These tiny humans give us purpose, and even when their immune systems are weak, they have such strength that it inspires us.”

Xhakaza comes from rural Nkandla in Kwazulu-natal. He studied nursing at the Pietermaritzburg DUT campus before becoming a full-time maternity nurse.

“As I explored more about nursing, I became drawn to the paediatric ICU. It is a very specialised environment, and you need the humility to always be learning from your team and sharing your knowledge so we can all grow from our experience and do the best for our little patients.”

Teamwork is critical, he said, because everyone involved brings different strengths.

“Together, our combined strengths make us a formidable team. Our patients and their parents become part of our paediatric ICU family, too.”

He said it was stressful for parents, but the staff offered them support to help alleviate their anxiety.

“We explain how we are caring for their child and not to be alarmed by the lights and beeping of the ICU machines. They learn to trust us and feel safe with what we are doing for their precious little ones.”

A family who asked to remain anonymous spoke of the difference caring nursing made when their child was cared for in the paediatric ICU at Netcare Waterfall City.

“The nurses were very friendly towards us and gave us updates on how our child was doing.”

They said when their infant son was moved to a big machine, they were confused as to whether he was getting worse or better, but Sibusiso had been kind and explained everything in detail.

“He assured us that our son was getting the best care possible, and we left the hospital feeling much better, knowing what was happening. Overall, we are very happy with the care our son received from the nurses; not just one, but all the nurses that took care of him.”

Paediatrician Dr Palesa Monyake praised the dedication of the paediatric

ICU team.

“The nurses are absolutely amazing, and the team goes above and beyond the call of duty time and again. We update each other on each patient, sometimes minute by minute, and have such strong systems in place that our teamwork takes caring for our patients to an almost intuitive level.”

“Although we see so many beautiful recoveries and stories of hope, emotions can run high in the paediatric ICU, and it can be stressful and frustrating for parents when their children are very sick,” she said.

Xhakaza said there was no greater motivator than working to help save a child’s life and nurse them back to health.

“I have been in the paediatric ICU for five years, and we live through all the emotions – from hope, elation, anxiety, and unfortunately, sometimes grief. It gives some comfort to know you have tried your best to fight for a child’s life, but it is still devastating when we cannot save a patient.”





African News Agency