International Nurses Day: Interview with Thuli Mavuso

Today is International Nurses Day, and this year’s theme is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health. TB HIV Care values and respects nurses and the work that they do. For International Nurses Day, we’ve interviewed nurses within the organisation, focusing on their journey within the nursing field, lessons learnt throughout their career, and gained insight into their thoughts on the importance of investing in nursing!

1. Take as through your career from where you started to where you are now?

I did my community service at Orlando East Clinic, Psychiatric Department. This was amazing! I loved Psych. During my 2nd year, an opportunity opened up at Jeppe Clinic, where the RN who was doing Psych had left unexpectedly. So, I asked to be transferred there. That was great as well, I really enjoyed it.

I moved to Momentum, doing medical assessments for insurance. After 2 years I joined Jhpiego South Africa doing VMMCs. It started as one site, then lead to more around the Vaal region. I then trained as a trainer and travelled to other provinces, training, DoH clinicians. So, I got to run multiple sites and do trainings.

I was then hired here at TB HIV Care to run five sites in Mpumalanga and North West. So here I am.

2. If you look back on your career, is there anything you wish you had done differently?

No, I don’t feel I have any missed opportunities. Everything just aligns well.

3. What have you enjoyed most about this profession?

I have enjoyed meeting diverse people from the most brilliant, to everyday people, to those living with limitations who are determined to push beyond barriers.

I love when you see you’ve made an impact with someone you’ve met for an hour or less and they say thank you for the services you’ve given them. That always makes me happy and fulfilled.

4. What has been the most challenging part of your career to date?

It’s often difficult to manage people. Mostly because of work ethics, predisposed points of view and knowledge, the biggest factor – is emotions when dealing with challenges or issues.

5. What do you still want to achieve in your career?

I would still like to study further and travel, maybe work and travel to countries on the continent.

6. What advice would you give to aspiring nurses who want to reach a managerial position?

Don’t be complacent, there are vast careers and options in nursing. Not just bedside and chronic care.

7. Are there any qualities or skills that you learnt as a nurse that have served you well in a managerial position?

Working in a psych dept has taught me that a lot affects a person’s mental wellness and social issues are a big challenge when not properly addressed. It has made me appreciate the differences that shape and define our lives and how easily it can change by just deciding and working towards specific goals.

8. The theme for International Nurses Day (IND) 2022 is – Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health, focusing on the need to protect, support and invest in the nursing profession to strengthen health systems around the world. Applied in a South African context, are we investing enough in the nursing profession?

No, I feel most of all the trainings and other information given to nurses is patient/client-focused.

In South Africa especially, we are given a bad name and reputation that we’re unfriendly and apathetic. Yet there are few initiatives that empower and grow the nurse, in terms of people skills and handling stress and unfair work demands etc. Nurses still work 12-hour shifts, they are continuously working in an understaffed environment and they are still expected to give their best. A lot could be done such as looking at new ways to work which is evolving, efficient and empowering.