Ward for ‘the vulnerable’

Gillian McAinsh

NURSING is not a job, it is a calling, says Matron Elizabeth Moss and her own calling has been so strong that after officially retiring, she is helping to open a new ward at the Provincial Hospital.

The great-grandmother from the Free State has no time for slackers who are only there for a pay cheque when there are so many desperately ill and impoverished patients needing help.

“Those who are educated as nurses must know that it is a calling,” said Moss in an interview at the Provincial Hospital ahead of International Nurses Day.

“You must be a woman of integrity, or vision, who wishes everyone to have a better life; and a nurse must be multi-skilled – it is not just a bedside task.”

The Sotho-speaker trained at Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein before moving to Port Elizabeth and worked at Dora Nginza before transferring to the Provincial in 2003.

“That’s where I saw I could make a difference,” she said of her early days and paid tribute to her mother who inspired both Moss and her sister to enter the profession.

“Even though she was illiterate, we saw how she cared for the sick and the poor. My mother used to feed each and every person who came to our home.”

The sisters absorbed these values and “we converted this to nursing – we must be a mother to those who do not have mothers.”

Moss also sees her profession as giving hope.

“We try to say to the patients that it is not the end of the world. As long as you are a patient, irrespective of colour or creed, you must enjoy life.”

It is clear her service was valued when, despite reaching retirement age last year, she was called back for a specific goal.

“I was hardly one day out and the second day I was back in!” said Moss who worked as a nursing services administrator before retirement. She now works in haematology, or diseases of the blood, which is prevalent in the Eastern Cape.

“I am contracted by the department for this project. Our CEO is supporting us fully and the Department of health is behind us.”

She said five nurses at the new Aloe Igazi Haematology ward had gone to the Albert Alberts ward in Pretoria for training.

“This ward is for the vulnerable and the have-nots. We want to teach them that life is worth living.”

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