nurse holding her first year results certificate

We are proud to partner with Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust and delighted to share this insight into the working life of one of their dedicated nursing staff.

Nokuphila Khanyile (pictured above and right) is 52 years-old and lives in Inchanga with her three sons. She currently works as a nurse in HACT’s 24-bed Respite Unit and is considered a true angel by all her patients. Nokuphila recently shared some insight into her typical working day and what it’s like to work in HACT’s Respite Unit.

“People think taking care of very sick people every day must be depressing, but it’s not. Yes, we have very difficult and sad days sometimes when we lose a patient, but mostly the Unit has a very happy atmosphere and the patients are always so grateful for our help.” 

Nokuphila has always wanted to help care for people in need so in 2011 she started working as a caregiver with 1000 Hills Community Helpers. Then in 2012 she started working at HACT as a caregiver in the Respite Unit. After a few years, at the age of 47, Nokuphila was given the opportunity to go and study as an enrolled nurse at Candlelight Nursing College through HACT’s internal staff development programme.

“It was really challenging going back to studying at my age,” laughs Nokuphila “but I was determined not to let HACT or my patients down. Thankfully, I passed all my first and second year modules with distinction and graduated with an award for being the most compassionate nurse in my class. HACT and my family were so pleased with my performance and very proud of me. Now I make sure I also encourage our younger caregivers to work hard and I tell them if they do this, their dreams can also come true.” 

Nokuphila currently works both day and night shifts in the Respite Unit.

“If I am working day shift then I wake up at 4:30am to get ready and ensure I get to work by 7:45am for the daily shift handover session,” explains Nokuphila. “After this, we are busy helping the patients to get up, get washed and dressed and ready for breakfast. All of our patients are bedridden when they come in and many are too weak to feed or care for themselves, so it’s always very busy in the Unit. After breakfast we have doctor’s rounds, medication handout, physiotherapy sessions to help with as well as getting those patients ready who may need to go to the hospital for tests or further treatment.”

“After lunch, the afternoons are less busy so we do our paperwork, make follow-up phone calls to patients families or the hospitals and also try spend some time with the patients just talking to them as many don’t get any visitors and can be lonely,” explains Nokuphila. “My shift ends at 5pm and then I make my way home to my family. I’m normally in bed by 9pm as at my age I need lots of rest!”