Photo Credit: Cottonbro via Pexels

Warda Hendricks and her sterilisation team keep everything clean at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town; her department is one of those that keep the hospital operational.


Cape Town, South Africa (30 May 2022) – A hospital is very much like a human body in that there are millions of systems that work together to make everything work. We are always left in awe when we learn about a new system or department that helps a hospital run smoothly.

Heroes of Groote Schuur is a Facebook page dedicated to highlighting the amazing people who work or visit the hospital. The page highlights the incredible work being done by the staff of the academic hospital. The page has indeed been a highlight during the pandemic as we have met so many of the people who work behind the scenes to keep the hospital operational.

The pandemic has taught us that a hospital is more than the nurses and doctors; it is also the cleaners, porters, maintenance staff and, of course, the countless admin teams that keep everything running smoothly.

Warda Hendricks and her team of sixty people are one of those special departments that work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep everything running. Warda works in the sterilisation department.

Heroes of Groote Schuur interviewed her about her career and what she and the team do at the hospital.

“I’m a sterilisation supervisor in the Central Processing Department. I came to Groote Schuur from the private sector in 2016 after 20 years experience there.

We have over 60 staff members here. We are the heart of the hospital, because every reusable medical device and instrument used across the hospital, comes here. We decontaminate, pack and sterilise, and then issue to all our user areas.

We get over 100 sets of reusable items coming in every day, depending on the case load in the hospital (we are a 24-hour service, because Emergency works through the night, so we have day and night staff working). We also have hollow-ware that comes to us – the basins, the jugs etc; and we also do the packing of the linen – the staff do about 120 packs per day. Each pack is different – has different amounts of linen, and linen that needs to be packed and folded differently, depending on where it’s going and what operation it’s being used for.

Patient care is our number-one priority. We have to ensure that everything is safe for the patient, so we also testing and record keeping. We may work behind the scenes, but we ensure that our nurses, doctors and patients get what they need and can do their job. There’s a high level of accountability and responsibility required in this department – items have to be sterilised properly to prevent infection, and items have to be packed correctly, otherwise we’ll waste the patient or the staff’s time.

We really try to put our Batho Pele (People First) principles into our workplace. I want everyone to understand what we do, and to see the amazing men and women who work in this department – their hard work, their dedication, despite the challenges we face. It doesn’t go smoothly every day but we do our best. As a team, we do amazing things together. I’m very proud of this department, and of Groote Schuur.

It’s such an honour to work here. The hospital had only been in existence for one year when my grandfather came to work here, and then my dad and uncle worked here, and my cousins and myself – so there are three generations of my family who have worked here. My dad, a senior admin clerk, was here for 49 years! He worked his way up from the bottom, and his work ethic was passed down to his children –– he taught us to have respect for everyone, and to do the best in our work. I hope to grow much more in this role while I am here.” – Warda Hendricks

Sources: Heroes of Groote Schuur 
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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