Nurse goes beyond call of duty during pandemic

Nurse Birgit Green, who is based at the Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre, does all she can to keep her community safe.

A road accident survivor who suffered a pelvic fracture and facial lacerations, a Mitchell’s Plain nurse is making sure she is educating everyone around her on how to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially during International Infection Prevention Week, observed from Sunday October 17 to Saturday October 23.

Professional nurse Birgit Green, 39, from Portland, who works at the Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre, said while she has found the Covid-19 pandemic challenging to deal with, she has found her rhythm in her passion – nursing.

She said throughout the pandemic they had to deal with being short-staffed as co-workers had contracted Covid-19 while a few of them passed away due to Covid-19.

“We were overwhelmed, as we had to cover all areas. We also had to create a new system to assist our patients. I tested patients for Covid-19 and as a Covid-19 vaccinator. In this time there were many fears. My biggest concern was that I was going to contract Covid-19 and then infect my family at home but I made sure I was cautious,” she said.

Nurse Green previously worked at a factory until 2008. In the same year, she was involved in a taxi vehicle accident. She was on her way home from work, when the taxi had a tyre burst. Five passengers died in the accident. She suffered a pelvic fracture and facial lacerations.

While still in hospital, she was retrenched from her job at the clothing factory. “When I got retrenched, I felt relieved, because I could use that money to study nursing,” she said.

Nurse Green said after matric it was challenging to pursue nursing. “It was challenging for my family and life happened.”

In 2009, Nurse Green started studying towards a Bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of the Western Cape, “I’ve always wanted to study nursing when I was younger. I was 26 years old when I started studying nursing. It may have been a bit late but I am glad I pursued it,” she said.

In 2015 Nurse Green did her community health service at the Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre and in 2016 she started working at the MPCHC.

“I work in the outpatients department, where I cover family planning, the International Normalised Ratio (INR) clinic (clinic services specialising in the management of patients on anticoagulant treatment) and on and off premises for mental health,” she said.

Patient Sandra Napier from Portland said their family appreciate Ms Green’s work. “She is so dedicated, hard-working, compassionate and most of all, a nurse of her word. Her professionalism shines through her entirety of what she stands for and who she is as a professional nurse,” said Ms Napier.

“A heartfelt thanks to nurse Green as we came to know and love her, may her dedication and hard work bring great joy to many of her INR patients. She goes beyond her call of duty, working after hours for us and many others. We are humbled by her love and care. Our appreciation won’t end here,” said Ms Napier.

Nurse Celeste Jackson said Nurse Green is as constant and proper in all she does. “Knowing her as a personal friend and colleague, she is nothing short of an inspiration to the nursing fraternity. She’s charismatic in all that she does. She is humble and driven, a goal-oriented nurse who loves the value of family. She lives by the motto, when serving the community, ’this could be your mother’,” she said.

Nurse Green said her favourite part about nursing is working with people, helping them and caring for them. “I am very particular about how I deal with each patient, this is important as not every person is the same,” she said.

She said she loves what she does. “I encourage all young people to follow their dreams no matter their age or where they come from. It takes hard work and perseverance. The hardest part is going for what you want. You can do it.”