Patients keep nurses on the trot


In five working days, four Port Elizabeth nurses at Netcare Greenacres Hospital walked a collective 174km – without even leaving the hospital.
This was just a normal working week for the four – only this time they were asked to measure their steps.
All were surprised at how much they walk during the course of their daily duties.
Staff nurse Thembisa Khonza said she had always had a lot of energy.
“I work in high care. The other day I saw I covered 8,620 steps and that was just from walking in between patients,” she said. “I never knew we walked that much.
“I like making a difference. There is nothing better for me than to see a very sick patient leaving the hospital so much better,” she said.
She walked 23,128 steps in five 12-hour shifts.
Chantelle Fredericks works in the hospital’s surgical ward.
“I was very active when I was at school and in college. I thought I had become lazy but now I see I am doing all my exercise at work!” she laughed.
Fredericks walked 51,053 steps over five days.
“I take patients to the theatre and then go to fetch them again. Sometimes I will go to the pharmacy but otherwise it is just me walking around in the ward. We are a big, busy ward with about 35 beds.
“For me doing something small for my patients like washing their hair or doing their nails is the essence of nursing. Sometimes patients need nothing more than someone holding their hand and talking to them for a while.”
Deputy nursing manager Arina Boers was also surprised by how much she walked daily.
Last week she took 52,987 steps in five days.
“[One day] we had a lot of issues at the hospital and I covered well over 20,000 steps,” she said.
“I try to go everywhere in the hospital every day.
“My staff calls me if there is a case needing resuscitation in trauma, otherwise I make sure I get around to every ward.”
Boers, who has been a nurse since 1994, said she would choose nursing as a career again.
“Sometimes the best thing you can do for a person is just be there for them and listen.
“I love my job – and now I know why I am so tired every evening,” she said.
Dominque Smith, who works in the medical ward, covered 46,967 steps in five days.
May 12 is International Nurses Day. Hospital manager Andre Bothma said it would be an honour to celebrate with their nurses.
“I have always believed that people who have chosen nursing as a profession have responded to a calling in their life,” he said.
“Nurses inspire me on a daily basis and I am amazed every time I see them respond to the needs of their patients with compassion and empathy.
“I would like to thank every single nurse for their passion and dedication to providing person-centred care to their patients and their families.”

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