The Lady Michaelis day hospital in Plumstead said farewell to hospital manager Evelina Weavers this week.
She has managed the facility for 16 years.
Dr Keith Cloete, the provincial head of the Department of Health, thanked Ms Weavers for maintaining a level of “human connection” with him over the years.
“It has impacted me, and I am sure her staff and those she has served through the years.”
Ms Weavers’s colleagues shared memories of her at a brunch on Tuesday.
“Sister Weavers always finishes her work very late; she inspires me,” said cleaner Marcus Prince. “She was like a mother to me; she disciplined me, and we also prayed together and ate fish and chips together. She’d also tell me when I was eating too much and warned me about my blood pressure.”
Ms Weavers thanked her staff for their support over the years.
She entered nursing in 1976 at Groote Schuur Hospital.
“The road was rocky and full of hills and sand, but it’s been successful because I didn’t walk alone. I walked with God, and with you. It’s been good years and I honestly don’t have any regrets.”
She grew up in Mossel Bay and was still in high school when she decided to become a nurse.
“I didn’t come from a rich family. My father was a truck driver and my mother was a char; she cleaned people’s houses. But the discipline that they had… their uniforms were always ironed so neatly.
“When my dad would sit behind the wheel of that truck, his suit would be crisp.
“My parents instilled discipline and morals in me. Those times were different, so when I chose my job, I knew that I wanted to do the best.”
Over the years, she has also worked as a mid-wife at Peninsula Maternity Hospital, in the ICU at Groote Schuur, at the Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital and at Mediclinic Durbanville.
“Psychiatry is what moulded me the most because the patients there can’t think clearly, and we had to become their advocates. I was also polished when I worked at Durbanville Mediclinic because it was a private institution, and I learnt a lot about accountability there because we work with people’s money directly.”
She took over as the Lady Michaelis hospital manager in 2004.
“When I worked here, I was dealing with mostly elderly people, and my parents were also sickly at the time so I could really relate to them.”
Ms Weavers said she had enjoyed seeing her staff develop and she had never kept them back from studying further.
“As a nurse, I don’t let anything defeat me, and I always put care into what I do,” she said.
Now 63, Ms Weavers said it was very hard for her to say goodbye because Lady Michaelis was a huge part of her life.
Ms Weavers suffered a stroke two years ago and was admitted to Victoria Hospital. The stroke left her unable to work for five months.
“When I was a patient, it was a reminder again to be patient-centred. At Victoria Hospital, I was like a queen at the hospital,” she said, thanking her staff for picking up the slack while she had been recovering.
“You are all champions,” she said.
Her stroke had affected her mobility and forced her to retire, she said.
“I can’t stand for long after the stroke, and you see how big these grounds are so I can’t walk around and check everything anymore.”
Ms Weavers said she now planned to relax and spend time with her family.
“I’d like to thank my husband, James. He is strict but also very supportive. I’m going to wait on the Lord to tell me what to do next,” she said.