Ntja – My dog, my buddy
Senior oncology nurse, Sister Sinah Mokale, is the second winner of our Exceptional Nurse competition. She was nominated by Lizzy Kodisang, a breast cancer survivor. They each win a two-night midweek stay for two at Sun City’s Cabanas Hotel, including breakfast.
Lizzy Kodisang (45) lives in Ennerdale, Gauteng with her husband. They have two children and one grandchild.
Lizzy was diagnosed with triple-positive breast cancer in 2018. Treatment consisted of six cycles of chemotherapy, 14 injections of trastuzumab, a lumpectomy, 36 radiation sessions, and five years of hormone blockers which she is still taking. A side effect she still suffers with is lymphoedema.
“I nominated Sister Sinah because she made my chemo days enjoyable. She had a warm welcome and I loved that she cracked jokes with my husband as that relieved a lot of stress. She would normalise everything she does by explaining each treatment, their side effects and how to manage them, with a smile on her face. Sinah is so good at meeting patients’ needs holistically and her positivity and encouragement goes a long way. It helped so much; she pushed me to fight for life,” Lizzy says.
Lizzy believes an exceptional nurse is one with good social worker skills and makes their patients feel at home. She goes on to explain her most memorable moments with Sister Sinah. “I found the trastuzumab injections painful so Sister Sinah would distract me by talking to me so I don’t feel the pain. She also encouraged me to rather call the red devil, red angel as it was good as it was going to get rid of the tumour. With her being so approachable, I started calling her Ntja which means my dog; in the township this is a way of calling someone ‘my buddy’, and that is what she is, my buddy.”
Sinah Mokale (48) lives in Parktown North, Gauteng with her husband and three daughters.
Sister Sinah is a senior oncology trained registered nurse at Netcare Milpark Oncology Unit. She started working there when the unit opened in 2018 but has been in the nursing profession for over 20 years.
Lizzy’s nomination wasn’t the only one Sister Sinah got, a number of patients nominated her in the first and second competition. When asked how this makes her feel, she responds, “Absolutely humbled! I thank each and every one of them who have taken to heart to nominate, not only me, but all other outstanding nurses out there. Not forgetting our chemo oncology team as we journey together with our patients.”
She explains her thoughts of what an exceptional nurse is: “To me being an exceptional nurse is remaining humble, having patience, respecting myself and my profession, and reflection. I stick to basic nursing care yet provide quality care to enhance quality of life. I never seek to know the background/status of the person I’m taking care of. My approach is always stay professional, treating everyone respectfully and providing equal treatment at all times. Provide the type of care and treatment I would expect in return.”
Thinking back to when she treated Lizzy, she recalls, “When she told me her name was Lizzy, I teased her and made a joke, “What do you call a baby lizard?” I answered and said it’s called “Lizzinyana”. From her moment of confusion and anxiety, she broke out laughing and she can laugh, neh!
Since that moment she knew she was home. She then started calling me Ntja, meaning my dog (You bark for me, I bark for you), and that’s how we would greet and call each other. I gained her trust and she regarded me as her sister, and confided her most private moments and concerns to me. Whenever she is at the hospital, she pops in and says hello. I’m truly honoured and humbled that I had the opportunity to take care of her. I thank you, Sis Lizzy Ntja!”
MEET OUR EDITOR – Laurelle Williams
Laurelle is the Editor at Word for Word Media and graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She have a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Write me: email@example.com
Image by Laurelle Williams