A third-year nursing student from the University of the Free State (UFS) has become the first-ever student from the UFS to win the prestigious Exceptional Nurse Campaign Award. Bloemfontein born and raised Nthabiseng Manele was nominated for the award shortly after she and three other students interned in a hospital in Belgium.
The Exceptional Nurse Campaign was established in 2005 by a group of nurses and business people from various churches in Cape Town with a mission to create awareness of the nursing crisis in South Africa. According to UFS Senior Media Relations Officer, André Damons, the campaign aims to recruit exceptional young people for the nursing profession and mobilise exceptional nurses to the hospitals and clinics where help is needed most around the country.
“They also encourage, motivate, appreciate and honour all currently employed nursing staff, as well as raise the status of nurses in our nation,” he stated.
Manele said that she would like to make an impact in the nursing community. “Nurses all over the world are not given the credit they deserve, and I hope to one day follow in the footsteps of pioneers such as Florence Nightingale and Charlotte Searle and change the way the community view us. I believe that it is such an honour to work with other healthcare professionals to help people and save lives,” she said.
The 23-year-old expressed that her future plans in the nursing profession include becoming a lecturer and to hopefully someday be the head of the School of Nursing. “At first, I was not sure what the award entailed, so my father and I made some phone calls in order to learn more about the organisation.
“After actually seeing what this organisation stood for, which is to empower nurses from all walks of life, I knew that this was the best decision I could ever make in order to cement my place in the nursing community, to make a larger impact,” explained Manele.