Photo Credit: Heroes of Groote Schuur

Sister Serene Wessels has retired after starting at Groote Schuur Hospital at the age of 19; she has had a fulfilling career but looks forward to the rest.


Cape Town, South Africa (15 March 2023)Heroes of Groote Schuur recently highlighted Sister Serene Wessels, who retired from the hospital this month after decades of working in various departments. She had a fulfilling career and touched the lives of thousands of people.

She shared her story with the organisation, which aims to highlight the people the work at the hospital.

“After 44 years and four months I’m very excited to be retiring. I started here when I was 19, in 1978, and qualified as a staff nurse in 1982 and worked across the hospital. In 1989 I furthered my studies and later qualified as a registered nurse. I’ve always been a medical sister, working in the wards. I enjoy taking care of patients. I think nursing is the heart of the health system.

In 2002 my supervisor decided I needed to cover cardiology, and eventually, I ended up being the sister in charge here. In 2007 I became an operational manager. So I’ve been here for 20 years. I think it’s a wonderful department to work in. All the different parts work together; it’s one cohesive team. I believe that everyone, from the porter to the surgeon, has a role within the department.

I wouldn’t be where I am without the nurses who were with me. They were part of it, as well as the doctors. I’ve grown so much within nursing. I started when I was 18 and I’m now 64 and by the grace of God I still have good health.

A highlight for me was the two opportunities I’ve had to go overseas for the Nurses’ Congress – we went to Barcelona and Singapore. Another highlight for me was being part of the Entertainment Committee, because it’s a fantastic team made up of people from all over the hospital. It is a great way of networking.

If I had to give advice to any young nurse starting out today, I’d say that you must come ready to learn and that you need to treat people with respect. My motto is that if you nurse a patient, you must nurse them as if they are your own family. Also, when you talk to a patient, that is the time you connect with them and you find out that this is a mother with children alone at home and so on. Nursing is not just nursing someone medically. It can bring great satisfaction when you can do something small for a patient because for them it can be a massive thing.” – Sister Serene Wessels

Sources: Heroes of Groote Schuur
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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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