In the heart of Duduza township, west of Nigel on the East Rand, Gauteng, Mpho Nkosi embarked on a remarkable journey that would lead to a fulfilling career in the healthcare sector.
Growing up, Nkosi developed a strong foundation in community care and a sense of responsibility for everyone around her and that set her on a path to making it her life’s work.
Raised in a close-knit family that extended its warmth to neighbours in need, this young dreamer learned early on the value of unity and compassion within her community.
“My parents tended to adopt people into our home, regardless of their background. It didn’t matter who you were, you found acceptance on our doorstep,” Nkosi recalls.
The path to healthcare
Nkosi’s journey to becoming a professional nurse was not without its challenges. Despite receiving an acceptance letter to study medicine at the University of Cape Town, she faced financial constraints, making it initially seem impossible. Her parents’ unwavering support and determination led her to enrol at the University of Johannesburg for a nursing degree instead.
“My mom was like, ‘The one thing you won’t do is sit around the house for a whole year. Decide, girl’,” she remembers. That’s exactly what she did. Taking matters into her own hands, she embarked on a journey that would redefine her path and lead her to where she is today.
During her studies and subsequent community service, Nkosi developed a holistic perspective on healthcare. She worked in various clinical settings, from theatre to orthopedics, witnessing firsthand both the challenges and triumphs within the healthcare system.
She says her experiences taught her the importance of patient-centred care and being an advocate for the well-being of every individual she encountered.
Raising awareness for cancer
After completing her community service, Mpho decided to focus on cancer education and risk reduction screening. Joining the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) team as a registered nurse, she made it her mission to empower individuals with knowledge about career prevention and early detection.
Cansa collaborates with healthcare professionals, government agencies, and community organisations to spread awareness, provide screenings, and educate underserved communities.
In her current role at Cansa, Nkosi has planned healthcare campaigns, organised screenings, and educated countless individuals about cancer prevention.
Nkosi says she is aware of the challenges facing healthcare in South Africa, especially in underserved areas. She emphasises the importance of reaching out to communities and collaborating with local pharmacies, schools, and organisations to bridge the gap and promote well-being throughout South Africa.
Dedicated to her calling
As a healthcare professional dedicated to lifelong learning, Mpho is excited about the emerging trends in healthcare and how they can be incorporated into their work. Technologies like telemedicine and wearable devices offer opportunities to improve healthcare accessibility and early detection, ultimately saving lives.
In November, her focus is on raising awareness about prostate cancer, a prevalent issue in South Africa. She stresses the importance of regular check-ups and the significance of discussing symptoms and family history with healthcare professionals.
With a career dedicated to making a positive impact, Nkosi encourages her fellow healthcare professionals to find their passion, engage in lifelong learning, cultivate empathy, communicate effectively, and prioritise self-care. These values have been instrumental in her journey, shaping her into an advocate for healthcare and a beacon of hope in her community.
She concludes, “We work stressful long hours and it’s emotionally demanding. It’s important to make time for self-care to rejuvenate your body, your mind, and your spirit to give your best in patient care.”
Nkosi’s inspiring journey serves as a testament to the power of unity, compassion, and dedication in the world of healthcare.
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