It was a proud and stirring moment for the South African nursing profession as the achievements of 97 healthcare professionals were recognised at the 21st graduation ceremony for Netcare Education’s Western Cape campus last week.
Campus manager Ilse Crafford notes that 2023 was a historic graduation year, being the first cohort of students qualifying in the new three year general nurse programme from Netcare Education Western Cape – the only private nursing higher education institution in Cape Town accredited to offer the new nursing qualifications.
“This is also the 25th anniversary of our campus and was our first in-person graduation ceremony since COVID-19. It was, therefore, a particularly meaningful moment as we celebrated all those graduating from various programmes, demonstrating the multiplicity of options available to anyone who enters the nursing profession.
“From this remarkable group of achievers, no less than 26 individuals received special awards – a testament to the level of care and excellence that is so apparent among those who have chosen to further their educational journey with us,” she says.
Crafford points out that so many graduates achieve their academic goals in the face of heartache and adversity, but the call to care for others is so strong they are undeterred in their pursuit.
“There are among us many who have struggled to get where they are today. One such young nurse comes to mind. Pheliswa Ngwilikane from Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital is described by the academic team there as an individual who creeps into the corner of your heart, demonstrating tremendous resilience and sheer determination in the face of enormous loss and life challenges during the past three years.
“Pheliswa could not have known it when she began her studies, but by the time of her graduation, she would have lost her sister, her mother and her brother. She also experienced the joy of having her first child, returning to her course just six weeks later. She was also one of the thousands of nursing students whose studies were disrupted and who were thrown in the deep end during the pandemic.
“Despite all of this, Pheliswa was determined not to lose time. She worked hard to make up her hours to graduate with her classmates, who all pulled together like a first-rate Olympic team under pressure, assisting one another through some of life’s most unexpected moments.
“It is with immense pride that we see Pheliswa graduate as a Registered General Nurse, alongside her peers whose tenacity, discipline and dedication are indicators of the bright futures in nursing that lie ahead of them, even in challenging times,” she said.
Toy Vermaak, manager of the Faculty of Nursing and Ancillary Healthcare (FNAH) at Netcare Education, congratulated the graduates on their achievements while thanking the academic and administrative staff and management, hospital based academic staff, hospital management and nursing staff.
“It is with great joy that we congratulate all our graduates who have achieved this great milestone and acknowledge the vital role played by those who have supported them along the way, from their families, communities and peers to their educators. It is a proud moment for our profession,” she concluded.