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City nurse scoops excellence award

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Rijomon Varkey, was presented the annual Nursing Excellence Award by Mediclinic Kimberley/Gariep in recognition of the dedication he invests into caring for his patients and supporting his colleagues.

Rijomon Varkey

AS THE world celebrated International Nurses’ Day on Friday, a Kimberley nurse, Rijomon Varkey, was presented the annual Nursing Excellence Award by Mediclinic Kimberley/Gariep in recognition of the dedication he invests into caring for his patients and supporting his colleagues.

Mediclinic spokesperson, Denise Coetzee, pointed out that the award was particularly significant because nominations were made by nursing peers.

A Senior Professional Nurse, Varkey has been with Mediclinic Gariep for eight years and works in the Intensive Care Unit.

“He was selected as this year’s award winner because of his compassion for his patients and his commitment. He has strong leadership skills and stays calm under all circumstances. As one patient stated, ‘He has a presence of quiet capability and caring’. His dedication to patients and attention to detail as well as his ability to empathise with patients and their families is noteworthy,” Coetzee said.

Eight years ago Varkey, 32, made the life-changing decision to leave India to work in South Africa because he wanted to work with different cultures, patients and meet new people, as well as explore the country.

He started work at Mediclinic Kimberley on November 1, 2010. After two years he married his wife Anju Philip, also a nurse from India, who came to work at Mediclinic Kimberley in November 2014. They have two children, a boy, Ben, and a girl, Bija. Currently Anju works in the neonatal ICU at Mediclinic Kimberley.

Two years ago Varkey was promoted from a Professional Nurse to a Senior Professional Nurse.

Coetzee explained that Mediclinic’s Nursing Excellence Award was an opportunity to recognise those nurses who give of themselves daily in caring for others. “These are the nurses who believe that delivering on patients’ expectations is an essential part of who they are.”

Mediclinic Kimberley/Gariep currently has 46 nurses from India. The hospital group first conducted recruitment in India in 2006, following an exploratory visit in 2005. After successful recruitment, Mediclinic Kimberley received 13 Indian staff in November 2010.

Coetzee explained that India met a number of essential requirements as a source country.

“Their training produces Professional Nurses whose level of qualification is the same as those trained in South Africa.

“The training also follows the same structure and format as South Africa. In addition, all training is conducted in English and the clinical terms are generally the same.”

She added that India has an extensive training system with a great deal of nursing schools. “These produce sufficient nurses for their internal needs and they generally do not have a shortage of nurses.”

India is also regarded as an acceptable source by the South Africa Department of Health. “The department does not regard as acceptable any nurses from SADC states or generally elsewhere in Africa. This is due to a SADC agreement not to aggravate nursing shortages in other member states. Our Department of Health extends this concern to all countries in Africa and most other developing countries.”

Coetzee stated that the staff from India helps address the nursing shortage in the Northern Cape.

“Most of these staff have a qualification to work in specialised units like ICU, Emergency Unit and Theatre. At this stage there are no new nurses being trained in the Northern Cape, which necessitates us to make use of these nurses from India.”

– Patsy Beangstrom