Red Cross Celebrates Nurse of the Year at Nursing Excellence Awards | Western Cape Government


Red Cross Celebrates Nurse of the Year at Nursing Excellence Awards

8 November 2016

Sister Jane Booth, Paediatric Nursing Specialist at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, was recently awarded the 2016 Nurse of the Year at the Hospital’s eight annual Nursing Excellence Awards, in recognition of her outstanding service to the hospital, particularly her contribution to the ground-breaking Breatheasy Programme.  

The awards ceremony recognises the excellent service rendered by the nursing staff during the year. This year’s award ceremony had 16 of the best candidates or nominees chosen by their colleagues within their respective areas of expertise. 

The prestigious award is bestowed upon an exceptional individual who lives up to the nurses’ pledge and the values of the nursing profession – having a caring, empathetic and positive attitude; advocating for patients and their families; demonstrates leadership by motivating others and earning the respect of their peers; and behaves in a professional manner. Someone who continually pursues excellence in nursing, has delivered positive outcomes in the face of adversity or has performed above the expectations of their role, plays an important role as part of the multi-disciplinary healthcare team and supports and participates in reaching the objectives of the nursing department and the hospital. 

Booth started her nursing career in 1972 as a Pupil Nurse. She worked her way up the career ladder, doing general nursing at New Somerset Hospital and midwifery at Frere Hospital in East London, Eastern Cape. In 1979 she was appointed as a Professional Nurse at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital where she has been stationed for the past 37 years, completing courses in Paediatric Nursing and Advanced Paediatric Nursing. 

She was a founding member of the Breatheasy Programme founded at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in 1989 and has worked tirelessly over the years to improve care to these children and influencing practice in South Africa and even globally by sharing this model of care. 

The Breatheasy  Programme assists parents/caregivers to look after their technology-dependent children at home. (These patients require technology to prevent death or further disability and a technically-skilled carer to look after them). The multi-disciplinary programme, a nurse-led initiative coordinated by Booth, trains parents to take over the care for their technology-dependent children from the medical team at the hospital; empowering them to take care of their children at home. 

She is actively involved in training the parents/caregivers and has always gone above and beyond the call of duty in her support of children and their families on the Breatheasy Programme. She conducts home visits prior to the patient being discharged to ensure that the equipment provided will work in their home-environment and that the parent/caregiver will be able to care for the child in their home environment as they have been trained to do. She often works extended hours and is freely available to parents at all hours.

The programme also improves the child’s quality of life, their developmental needs and prevents the psycho-social complications of long-term hospitalisation. They feel safe and secure growing up within their families, integrated into their own communities and eventually will be able to contribute to society at large. What makes this programme unique is that the parents (families) have to take complete responsibility for the care of their children at home, because as yet there are no paediatric home-based carers in the community.

Booth is passionate about the programme, because it takes children out of hospital back home where they belong, builds the capacity of the parents to be able to care for their children and allows children to continue leading their normal daily lives. 

Mitzi Franken, Nursing Manager at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, thanked all the candidates for their hard work, dedication and continuous efforts to excel in the nursing domain. “These awards are about recognising the outstanding effort by our nursing staff as highlighted by their colleagues. Nursing forms the cornerstone of any healthcare system and it is important to encourage the nursing profession by highlighting the important work that they do. These awards reward and enhance nursing excellence and create an opportunity for further education and training.” 

Additional information:
•    Booth and the Breatheasy Programme were included in a Health Innovators Booklet from the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and as a result the Breatheasy Programme was one of only two health innovations from South Africa that was featured as part of a BBC series showcasing health innovations across Africa in April 2015. The series focused on how these health innovations in Africa is making a difference to the lives of patients, their families and communities. To watch the inset visit 
•    She was also awarded the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa’s President’s Nursing Award, the highest accolade awarded by the Society, in August 2015.

Media Enquiries: 

Angelique Jordaan
Principal Communications Officer: Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital
Tel: 021 658 5448