A calling to care…

The definition of a nurse, when you look it up, is ‘a person trained to care for the sick or infirm, especially in a hospital’. Nurses are so much more than that, though. In honour of International Nurses Day, we sat down with one of Ballito’s most accomplished and trusted private nurse practitioners, Trish Idensohn.

At the frontline of patient care, both before and during the global pandemic, nurses around the world deserve a moment of thanks. Not only for the work they do and the challenges they face, but for the genuine care and compassion they show their patients.
It’s is this compassion, Trish says, along with a desire to care for others and an intrinsically altruistic outlook, that should be the driving force for anyone deciding to pursue a career in nursing.

Having been a qualified nurse and midwife for more than 30 years, Trish certainly walks the talk. As the founder of CliniCare in Ballito, Trish is a highly educated, experienced nurse practitioner and has a string of qualifications behind her name. She is an internationally-recognised advanced wound care specialist, as well as tutor and lecturer at universities around South Africa and abroad.

At the heart of her personal mission as a nurse though, is simply a desire and a calling to care for others. She reflects on the words of author Leo Buscaglia, who said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

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Trish’s own life was turned around when she lost her father at the age of 15. “I will never forget the incredible care and kindness we were shown when my father was in the ICU. Now, when I am in front of a patient, I think of myself ‘giving back’ for that.” Trish completed her basic training in 1984 and graduated from Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. She says the scope of nursing has advanced a lot over the years, with nurses furthering their education and careers and becoming nurse practitioners and specialists in their fields. “Nurses are often called on by doctors to give advice these days, and we have the hands-on experience,” says Trish.

Preventative health care is incredibly important to nurses, just as it was to the famous Florence Nightingale who founded modern nursing and whose birthday is used to mark International Nurse’s Day on 12 May.

“The pandemic has been a whirlwind and affected all of us so differently. What we’ve realised though,” says Trish, “is that the basic environmental principals that affect our health, as pointed out by Florence Nightingale all those years ago, are still the same. Although simple, they are so applicable in the delivery of healthcare in nursing practice and the pandemic of today: pure water, pure fresh air, light (especially sunlight), cleanliness, drainage as well as a quiet environment and attention to our nutrition. The WHO defines health as, ‘a state of completely physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ It’s so important that we remember this.”

Although they have always been dedicated hard workers, Trish believes the pandemic has shown the world how incredible nurses are at facing a challenge head-on – and rising to that challenge. “We are human and we do cry,” she laughs, “but we have incredible support from other nurses and our industry as a whole. Not one of my staff members, whether they were working in hospital, at the clinic or doing homecare, refused to do their job or didn’t rise to the challenge within our practice throughout this pandemic and I’m incredibly proud of their dedication.”

Details: CliniCare Medical Centre: 27 Jacqueline Drive, Ballito, 032 946 1826

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