Early career background
Jennifer holds an honours degree in nursing education and is a nurse by profession. She worked in staff development and because of personal reasons decided to resign. Serving on the BOARD for Hospice Matlosana and seeing the struggles this hospice was encountering with maintaining management, Jennifer decided to help out in order to see how far she could establish it despite the fact that she really wanted to go back to teaching.
First involvement with hospice
At the church Jennifer attends, they have a centre for orphans but before this church was built, one of the local school halls in the community hosted these orphans and when the building was finally complete, they decided to plough back into the school by buying school uniforms for all the orphans. There was a boy in grade 4 that was not attending school and out of concern the school phoned to ask if she could follow up. She then visited the boy at home only to discover that the reason why he was not in school was because he was looking after his sick mother.
This young boy took on the responsibility as a care giver for his mother and for someone of that age – it was not appropriate. He needed to get back into school or the outcome could be devastating. “I have seen many children drop out of school which resulted in crime increasing in the community” she said. Jennifer then remembered that one of the church members worked at hospice and decided to approach her in order to see if they could assist. She agreed to help and at the same time asked if Jennifer would join the BOARD of trustees – which she did.
From BOARD member to hospice manager – How did this transition take place?
While serving on the BOARD, the CEO and manager both resigned and they struggled to replace these positons. What made it more challenging was that they couldn’t financially replace both positions. My conscience was playing with me as I wanted to go back to teaching where I could get a good salary and perks but at the same time I wanted to help– I was torn between the two. I couldn’t see myself leaving hospice in the current state they were and decided to take the plunge and do it!
Programmes implemented by Hospice
Hospice Matlosana currently has 4 centres. Each centre has 4 professional nurses who all have degrees in nursing education and community health. The 4 facilities are overseen by a nursing manager and under each manager, there is an enrolled nurse. Hospice Matlosana has 30 care givers who are linked to clinics in the 4 facilities and are also part of the support groups provided. Apart from that, this hospice also has a day care centres as well as a trained professional nurse who provides home-based care training.
One of the biggest challenges for Hospice Matlosana is sourcing funding in order to extend the much needed services to the community. For Jennifer it is important for this hospice to find ways to sustain itself without being too dependent on funding. This is something she is striving to achieve.
Seeing the programmes being established and growing, especially the impact it has on the communities we work in is always encouraging to know that the hard work and dedication pays off!
To learn more about Hospice Matlosana, click here