“I am so proud of them,” says Stepping Stone Hospice CEO, Tersia Burger, who attended the ceremony. “I’ve had many proud moments and ‘wow’ moments at our hospice, but seeing them standing there in their graduation gowns and caps was one of the proudest. They all worked so hard, considering the time constraints of balancing working at hospice with studying and family commitments.”
As students, the group was expected to attend college one day a week and were also supported by Stepping Stone’s Clinical Services Manager, Sr Sheryl Newman and Sr Caroline Maloney, a great friend and supporter of the hospice, who helped with additional teaching, training and mentoring.
Says Sister Sheryl Newman: “We believe in investing in our staff, in lifting them up and always looking for the next level for them to attain. We do this to help them grow and also to help us continue to offer quality care.”
An auxiliary nurse is able to carry out basic nursing procedures and takes care of patients on a less specialized level, under the supervision of a registered nurse. Tasks can include making patients comfortable, assisting nurses and doctors by taking temperatures and blood pressures, helping to feed patients, putting on new dressings and bandages, and basic home-care nursing.
It goes without saying that the qualities you need to possess to become an auxiliary nurse include being gentle and kind, caring, patient, understanding and interested in helping others – qualities that these six graduates exhibit in abundance every day while caring for their patients at Stepping Stone.
Lizzy Khoza – “Everything in my life has changed since coming to Stepping Stone. I started as a cleaner and now I am an auxiliary nurse. I want to move up – if the opportunities are there, I’ll go for it.”
Lorraine Tshabalala – “I see myself as a nursing sister one day. I love nursing with all my heart and I love my patients. I want to be a blessing to them.”
Amelia Sithole – “I couldn’t believe it was me standing there. It was also wonderful to see my mother so proud. It encourages me to want to be more.”
Levis Sebetola – “I feel happy and inspired about what I’ve achieved. I see myself working as a registered nurse one day. My thanks to everyone who helped me on this journey.”
Nozipho Munyu – “It was challenging to work and study, but I wanted this no matter what. I would like to further my studies in nursing.”
Andy Nnakwu – “Graduation Day was remarkable; especially to have our CEO, Tersia and Sr Sheryl there to cheer us on when we were called to the stage. This is just the beginning for me.”
Caption: Stepping Stone Hospice’s ‘Class of 2017’ (from left to right) – Lizzy Khoza; Andy Nnakwu; Tersia Burger, CEO Stepping Stone Hospice; Nozipho Munyu; Amelia Sithole; Sr Sheryl Newman, Clinical Services Manager; Levis Sebetola and Lorraine Tshabalala