Nursing was never part of the plan for a 37-year-old advanced midwife, and maternal, child, women’s health coordinator who is now ever so passionate about serving patients and seeing them happy and satisfied. Nurse Nthabiseng Motshegwa is a perfect example of someone who goes beyond the call of duty to ensure others are free of pain.
Not being able to realize her dream of getting into medical school straight after school didn’t stop Motshegwa from working in the health sector years later.
“My dream was to do medicine and become a pediatrician but I couldn’t pursue that dream, so I ended up working as a process controller in warehouses where I did telesales and customer service for a retail call center. I also worked as a telephone banking consultant and then only applied for nursing during my third year of working.”
‘Medicine is my passion’
Born and bred in Soweto, Motshegwa oversees and supports healthcare centres in the area that she is working.
“My work is of a greater scale as I need to make sure that the impact and efforts of hard work in bedside nursing are achieved and the services rendered are in line with the regulations through supporting health facilities. My daily activities vary from attending meetings to training, workshops, and visiting clinics for support.”
Even though Motshegwa was not in the field she initially wanted to be in, she did not stop consulting with a local doctor who encouraged her to apply for nursing. Today, years later she is making strides in a field she had never imagined to be in.
“Nursing was never my first choice. I chose it because, at that time, I thought it would be a path to take into doing medicine. But having been exposed to a lot of careers in health and its departments, I have since decided to continue while making a positive impact in the community at large. I fell in love with midwifery during training and my passion for it grew strong as I advanced with my career.”
‘Nurses are only human’
We live in a society where nurses are labelled with words such as rude and insensitive because of the bad experiences that people encounter in healthcare centres but for Motshegwa, a happy and satisfied patient makes her job worthwhile.
“I’m in love with the fact that I can give holistic care, meaning not only do I take care of a person physically, I can also take care of a person mentally, psychologically, and emotionally. I used to always say to my colleagues that sometimes patients just want you to talk to them and touch them and they are healed,” she says.
She says nursing is a calling and one needs to understand that at times it goes beyond the call of duty to have a compassionate heart.
“Nurses are human beings as well, they make mistakes, have good and bad days, and have a lot to deal with to make everything work – emotionally and clinically – which at times becomes overwhelming. Sometimes they may feel unappreciated and always under attack as the community will always talk about the bad, they do, and seldom about the good. This can result in them being protective of themselves which can be misintepreted.”
A caregiver through and through
Motshegwa who is a mother herself, is a true definition of going beyond the call of duty because wherever she goes, she continues to show passion for women’s health. She’s also an ardent nurturer of the child and mother relationship from the day a woman is pregnant to the day a child is born.
“My vision is to see a strong, equipped, and loving society.”
She says there is a high rate of maternal and neonatal deaths and some can be prevented by using services offered by the departments of health. They include family planning to prevent unplanned and unwanted pregnancies which vary from eight weeks to five years, pills, injectables, condoms, Implanon, and intra-uterine devices.
“The well-being of our country depends on each one of us. That can be achieved by taking full responsibility for our own health by eating well, exercising, and taking care of our mental well-being. We also need to invest in the well-being of our babies. Therefore it is very important to preserve and nourish our babies by breastfeeding them so that they grow strong.”