A large part of the charm and success of Brenthurst residence is in the people who have chosen to work here. One such person is Sr. Lynette Unser our Nurse Manager –
I trained at Addington Hospital in Durban. These were the golden years of nursing training. An entire new hospital was built on the seafront in Durban’s’ Addington Beach and our group 2/66 ( March intake 1966) was involved in actually moving into and setting up the new wards and units. We also took occupancy of the brand new nursing home.
The nursing intakes for new recruits were large in those days. Our group was over hundred trainee nurses and we all lived in the Nurses Home so developed a strong relationship with our colleagues over the years. We had excellent tuition and exposure to all disciplines. Training was tough then and the senior Charge Sisters were absolute tyrants! As students one was terrified of them but they did instil a great work ethic which has remained ingrained in me throughout a very long career.
Our lives were quite regimented dividing the year into practical work in the wards alternating with periods or blocks in the Nursing College. As a Junior Nurse we wore green buttons on our uniforms and we all envied the Pale blue buttons of the senior nurses who were actually finished their training and waiting for their Epaulettes. But our time did come and eventually we could proudly display those epauletts and place a veil on our heads. What a sense of achievement! Today some of the traditional decorative insignia has gone, along with the nursing capes that we treasured on night duty as it kept you warm during the wee early hours of the morning. Gone too the veils and other frivolous head gear that was totally impractical as it caught on the patients curtains between the beds and was difficult to secure on one’s head.
I finally left Addington after completing my Midwifery course which was a year in those days. I had a desire to work at GSH the home of heart transplants and Dr Christian Barnard who had been the guest speaker at our inauguration ceremony. I think I had a sort of romantic impression of this great surgeon and the world wide recognition that he received after Louis Washkansky’s heart transplant. Delusion quickly set in in this regard but I won’t dwell on that. I did work in the Emergency department and gained a great deal of experience treating large trauma and distinctly remember suturing multiple wounds on night duty because the doctors were just inundated by patients. It was exciting and stimulating never routine and I looked forward to going to work everyday.
After getting married and having 3 children I returned to nursing and besides this gap of 8 years I have been nursing my entire life. I have worked overseas in the Middle East in Saudi Arabia and also the UAE for a period of 10 years so gained invaluable experience by being exposed to an entirely different culture and nursing philosophy. The Middle East is a university of life and if you can succeed there then you can succeed anywhere.
Now, when I really should be retiring, I find that I still enjoy this profession and continue to have a passion for my work, hence the reason that I am working at Brenthurst Residence in an entirely different field of nursing. Caring for people living with Dementia gives one a completely different perspective of nursing. No longer am I working in a tertiary institution where aggressive medicine is practiced. Now the accent is on providing a safe environment and maximizing care practices to promote independence. This has been an invaluable learning curve for me. It has indeed been a privilege to work here as this will certainly be my swansong.
Sr. Lynette Unser – Nurse Manager