Tygerberg Hospital Hero Amongst us – Candice Randall
This week’s nominated coronavirus hero amongst us at Tygerberg Hospital, Candice Randall, provides an essential service to the public during these challenging times. The hero amongst us campaign seeks to highlight an official’s achievements, abilities or personal qualities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the eyes of hospital staff, he or she can also be regarded as a role model or ideal.
As a Speech Therapist in a tertiary hospital, she has worked for 14 years in the Speech Therapy and Audiology Department. During the pandemic, they are still quite busy daily with referrals from the wards. “We have to be very careful all the time to comply with full PPE [personal protective equipment] instructions as we are involved with swallow evaluations, which are considered to be aerosol generating procedures,” says Candice, who lives in Boston, Bellville.
What motivates her to come to work every day is, “as a health worker, the reason we do what we do is to make a difference by helping people. This has remained the same during the pandemic, but we never thought it would be a situation where our own or our family's health could be affected by us doing our job. I think this time has caused many of us to reflect on our motives, and whether the initial impetus for us to do this work is still there. I can't discover a cure or a vaccine, but I can help with swallowing and language rehabilitation for in-patients in this hospital. I am happy to help in any way I can.”
She is also appreciative of the support of hospital management during this time. Despite all the precautions and having enough PPE, she still contracted COVID in early May this year. It was a scary experience, with her main concern been that she had possibly transmitted the virus to her family. “My entire family tested negative thankfully, and I had to just get on with isolation and healing. I only developed mild symptoms and did not have to be hospitalised. The provincial Western Cape Department of Health contract tracing team traced and contacted all my listed contacts swiftly and professionally, and I was impressed and reassured by the daily follow-up calls by a doctor, in week 1 of my isolation. In addition, despite hearing about PPE shortages, my department has never experienced it. Despite us getting some opposition from health professionals who do not understand that we need N95 masks for the aerosol generating procedures we always had these provided by stores and have been using them responsibly and sparingly,” adds Candice.
Candice concluded, “the threat of COVID still hangs over each of us daily, but I've learned that I can really depend on my team - the strong, competent ladies in the Speech Therapy & Audiology Department, to lift you up, and support you, and pick up the slack if you can't. They are my heroes. And I've learnt to cling to my faith, and not [to] lose hope no matter how dire the situation is. " The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it - John 1:5.”
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