TB HIV Care

International Nurses Day: Interview with Jenny Mcloughlin

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. Why did you decide to embark on a career in nursing?

• I wanted to be a nurse as I had a burning desire to care for, serve and help people.

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

• I started my nursing training at Addington hospital in the eThekwini district of KZN and graduated as a trained nurse and midwife in 1989. I worked in a district hospital in KZN as a midwife for three years. My passion for taking services to the community resulted in me applying for a primary health care position where I furthered my studies. This afforded me opportunities to work in the NGO and public South African health systems for more than 30 years as a nurse clinician, HIV coordinator, site manager, quality improvement advisor, technical lead and currently – the DREAMS director (at TB HIV Care). I have been responsible for PEPFAR-funded programmes involving multiple partners for more than ten years, first at the University of the Western Cape, where I was responsible for coordinating projects and budget management. I have strong ties with the DoH at the national, provincial, district, and site levels. I have demonstrated the ability to liaise with senior medical officials, government officials, dignitaries, executives of NGOs, FBOs, CBOs, the for-profit business community, and senior members of the donor community.

3. What is your current role within TB HIV Care, and what is your core responsibility?

• My current role is the PPPrev Programme Director, and my core responsibility is twofold: Ensure effective implementation, coordination, and maintenance of structural community-based programmes focusing on adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), MSP and parents and guardians, and ensure full integration between structural programmes, psychosocial, and biomedical and intensified economic strengthening activities.

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

• Not that I can think of. I’ve loved my journey.

5. What have you enjoyed most about this profession?

• I have most enjoyed reaching out to the most vulnerable communities and giving them hope, for example, prescribing ARVs for HIV positive patients and seeing life-changing journeys.

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

• The most challenging part of my career was watching HIV positive patients die without having ARVs to save their lives.

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

• I want to be part of leadership in the prevention space that will contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), end poverty, protect the environment, reduce economic inequality, and ensure peace and justice for all.

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

• Take every opportunity given to you with both hands and do it even if it means finding out how to do it, as that is how you learn and grow.

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

• A nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, community, or population.

10. 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?

• Nurses benefit the communities they serve, and we should recognise their true value. An example of this was how nurses risked their health to care for patients and kept our communities safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

International Nurses Day: Interview with Ntombifuthi Luthuli

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. Why did you decide to embark on a career in nursing?

• Helping others achieve their goals has always motivated me, and it is rewarding to make a difference in someone’s life. Nursing provides a unique opportunity to assist people in achieving a healthy state of being, which is one of life’s most essential aspects. The rewarding nature of the job, combined with the potential for stable employment opportunities, has inspired me to pursue a nursing career in which I have grown to be one of the best clinical practitioners.

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

• I began with a four-year Diploma in General Nursing, Community, Psychiatry, and Midwifery and graduated as a Professional Nurse. I then pursued a Diploma in Primary Health Care speciality, which led to my becoming a clinical nurse practitioner. I worked independently in assessing, diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating clients in a Primary Health Care setting. I went on to earn a BCur in Nursing Management and Nursing Education, allowing me to pursue a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health. After completing the post-graduate diploma, I enrolled in and completed the Master of Public Health programme, allowing me to currently enrol as a candidate for the PhD in Public Health.

3. What is your current role within TB HIV Care, and what is your core responsibility?

• Currently, I work as a Quality Improvement Technical Lead for the Priority Populations Prevention (PPPrev) & PrEP Programme. I am responsible for providing technical support across all aspects of the PPPrev Programme. This includes conducting adolescent and youth-friendly services (AYFS) assessments, developing programme implementation documents, developing staff capacity building, developing models of care, supporting quality improvement initiatives, monitoring performance progress, solving operational problems, and writing progress reports.

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

• I would have joined the nursing profession immediately after completing my matric, and I would have contributed to saving more lives.

5. What have you enjoyed most about this profession?

• It was extremely rewarding to be one of the nurses who received NIMART training and began saving clients from HIV-related deaths. It was heartbreaking to lose clients to AIDS, but once nurses were given the authority to initiate ART, we started saving lives. I gained a lot of job satisfaction and fulfilment from seeing clients recover and enjoy a better quality of life. ART initiations were not limited to adults but also included children and adolescents.

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

• There is limited funding available to support the nurses in South Africa, which results in nurses having to pay for their studies. I have experienced challenges getting bursaries or scholarships as an employed nursing professional.

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

• With my current academic journey, I am hoping to complete my PhD and use my experience in the public health space to contribute to writing guidelines and policies based on the latest scientific research aimed at improving the state of the public health system in South Africa by highlighting contributions made by nurses and also to improve the negative image of the nursing profession created by media.

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

• I would encourage nurses to keep up with the current changes by constantly enrolling in the available courses to improve our profession. Nurses are the backbone of the health system, and we should be competent and knowledgeable to provide quality health care services. I would advise nurses to take speciality courses so that when consulting the client, we can advocate for comprehensive, holistic and quality health care services.

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

• Being a manager has taught me skills such as excellent communication, work ethics, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities. Computer skills were not emphasised as a nurse, so I had to learn them. I had to ensure that I improved my technological skills, such as computer literacy, quality improvement, and monitoring and evaluation.

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.

10. Applied in a South African context, are we investing enough in the nursing profession?

• Numerous articles and headlines in South African media have portrayed nurses in a negative light, potentially influencing public perceptions of nurses. Nurses must ensure that the nursing profession’s positive image is restored by adhering to policies and serving as good leaders in order to attract more young nurses to our profession.

The 9th SA AIDS Conference (10 – 14 June 2019)

TB HIV Care hosted an exhibition stand at the 9th SA AIDS Conference in Durban last week.  It was an unforgettable experience, a whirlwind of networking, workshops, track sessions, plenaries, social media and more.

The concept for TB HIV Care’s stand was simple, we wanted a space where people could meet, discuss different programmes and projects (#ChangeTheConversation), as well as take part in live Facebook and Twitter chats. All of this to showcase areas where TB HIV Care had expertise to share. Our topics were reflected on the back panel of the stand – as well through advocacy messages on button badges. We were fortunate to be able to distribute interesting and engaging materials (e.g. information around harm reduction, OST and a sex work study) as well as our 2018 Annual Report.

In terms of the concept, the stand was very successful. It was gratifying to see the number of people who wanted to engage at our stand, including people from the National Department of Health, District Departments of Health, the Department of Correctional Services, the Department of Social Development, SAPS, other NGOs and civil society. We took the opportunity to celebrate TB HIV Care’s 90th birthday (what a milestone!) at the stand – and grabbed some great videos and photographs of people wishing TB HIV Care a happy birthday.

Thanks so much to Luzuko Tosh (HIV Prevention Regional Manager), Tricia Sterling (Training Manager) and Alison Best (Communications Manager) who assisted us so ably in our first foray into Facebook Live videos. Thanks to Malibongwe Daweti (Provincial Community Coordinator) who provided valuable insights on men-friendly services and working with traditional healers.

A real highlight was TB HIV Care’s three Twitter chats:

  • Can data save lives? Exploring how data can help reach epidemic control
  • Men Matter. How can we better involve men in the HIV response?
  • What keeps stigma alive, and can innovation help to end it?

The ‘tweetchats’ were moderated by Vanessa Carter from Healthcare Social Media South Africa (#HCSMSA) and we got great stats – positioning TB HIV Care as one of the top social media influencers at the conference.

In addition to the expo stand, TB HIV Care was well-represented during the  conference, including:

  1. Skills Building Workshop: Disruptions and change

The time to ignore intersections between HIV, viral hepatitis and drug use is over – understanding integrated HIV responses for
people who inject drugs with Dr Andrew Scheibe, Ms Andrea Schneider, Prof Monique Marks, Ms Angela McBride and Dr Kgomotso Vilakazi Nhlapo

2. Skills Building Workshop: Pushing PrEP beyond Implementation Possibility

Exploring experiences gained in providing PrEP to the sex worker, MSM and Transgender populations with TB HIV Care, Wits RHI, Engage Men and PHRU.

3.  Panel Discussion: Decriminalisation of HIV and AIDS (with Shaun Shelly discussing PWID)

Thanks so much to all involved.

The TB HIV Care conference stand was still a popular ‘photo booth’ even on the last day just before being dismantled.

Bustling with activity, the conference booth was a meeting place for staff, partners and stakeholders.

The Twitter chat in full swing and being broadcast at the TB HIV Care booth.