Uncertainty hangs over South Africa like a looming cloud, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc n the lives of thousands of people.
In South Africa, there is 10 015 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 194 COVID-19 related deaths. In Newcastle, Mediclinic Newcastle has tested 245 patients, of which two tested positive. The first case was in March and the second earlier this month. Both are self-isolating at home and show no negative implications to the virus.
In the quest to assist the community, Mediclinic Newcastle has taken vital steps to ensure patients are always protected. Cleanliness and hygiene at the forefront, making the hospital safe for all patients and those who need medical care.
As the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads far and wide, infecting scores of people and killing thousands, humankind has learned who their real superheroes are.
It is not some comic character, nor is it a singer, actor or even a billionaire who donates to charity.
In this time of adversity, our true heroes stand in the frontlines, sacrificing of themselves without the slightest hesitation. These heroes who we now look at are those in the healthcare sector. Men and women who walk where angels fear to tread in the quest to bring relief to those who are ill.
One such individual is Mediclinic Newcastle’s Nursing Manager, Dr Yvonne Combrinck, who is leading her team during this difficult time.
How do Dr Yvonne Combrinck and her team deal emotionally with the challenge which lays before them?
“We carry our nurses’ pledge to the service of humanity in our hearts. While we do have our moments feeling anxious and scared, knowing that things are going to be hard, we are driven by our promise to practise our profession with conscience and with dignity. We do our utmost best to protect our patients and the community to the best of our ability,” she explains.
As the nursing staff brace themselves for whatever may come, how do they prepare themselves for the daunting challenges which stand before them?
“We strictly follow Mediclinic guidelines, having complete confidence in our corporate leaders’ expertise to guide us”.
From there, Dr Combrinck says she and her team do their best to plan and foresee what might come next.
“We try to stay ahead in providing the best possible safe and protected care to every suspected COVID 19 case in proper isolation facilities according to the prescribed guidelines. We also simultaneously, keep in mind that there are other ill patients to be cared for as well,” Dr Combrinck says.
She emphasises that they also have frequent communication huddles to keep up to date with the latest information. “The current healthcare environment is dynamic, and guidelines are changing daily,” she explains.
As the nursing team plans, dealing first-hand with COVID-19, people often forget how stressful the situation is for the medical sector during this time.
“The current stress levels are high. Observing what the world is going through with COVID-19 through social media, we realise that the impact on nurses is huge. Our integrity, endurance and capabilities are facing the biggest test in our nursing careers. We are conscious and even at times fearful of the sacrifices which we might have to make. We all have families, and we know we are not going to be able to care or spend as much time with them”.
Dr Combrinck emphasises that neither she nor her team will leave their posts.
“Our duty comes first. It is our calling, and an honour to serve our profession. This year is the 2020 Year of the Nurse and Midwife in remembrance of the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale and acknowledgement of nurses’ vital role in healthcare. We started the year with great excitement and ample planned activities in honour of nurses, never realising how much we would soon be giving.”
Driven by their call of duty, their pledge to the health sector and nursing, Dr Combrinck says she and her staff will continue to work. This is despite the potential challenges and overwhelming obstacles.
“We are front line healthcare workers. We do not even think about what we need to do, because we know what we should do, including all the sacrifices.”
During this time, Dr Combrinck urges the community to work closely with the healthcare sector.
“Stay at home and follow the necessary protocols, while we focus on those who are in need the most and who are acutely ill.”
Dr Yvonne Combrinck and all nurses around the world, we salute you for being the heroes we need during this difficult, challenging time.