DEALING with the Covid-19 pandemic has been the most challenging part of her nursing career.

Health worker Florence Mbatha said she’s been a nurse for over 35 years and God’s grace, as well as her passion for nursing kept her going during tough times.

The 59-year-old told Daily Sun she started her career in 1982 at Tembisa Hospital, Ekurhuleni.

“I have always wanted to be a nurse and was over the moon when I got the opportunity.”

Florence said things have changed drastically over the years.

She said in the last few years, more and more young people have gone into nursing just for money.

“During the 80s and 90s, people who went into nursing were driven by passion and enjoyed it wholeheartedly. Seeing patients recovering gave us great joy,” she said.

“However, we now see more young people getting into nursing because it is affordable to study and they just want to earn money. There is zero passion and no patience for patients.”

Florence, who is based at Netcare Garden City in Mayfair West, Joburg, said she was on leave when President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed the lockdown last year.

When she returned to work, she found wards filled to capacity with people infected with the virus.

“I was scared. I was hoping the virus would be contained by the time I returned to work. However, when patients were discharged, there were others already waiting for beds. It was hectic.

“I feared I might not survive should I get infected because of my age. I also feared infecting my husband and children. But through God’s grace I managed to carry my duties professionally with love. We saw many patients recover.”

Florence received her Covid-19 jab early last month at Netcare Milpark Hospital. She said she can now enter any ward without fear.

“I waited anxiously for the vaccine. I couldn’t wait for my turn.”