On the frontlines of COVID-19

Tshepo Maphanyane

A children’s nurse who loves adventure returns to work

Covid -19 has thrust the nursing profession in the limelight and earned it a new level of respect since the Florence Nightingale days.

On Nurses’ Day Ndlovu – Dawika, a bubbly pediatric respiratory nurse in North West London Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), celebrates her good news of going back to a job she does not only love but thrives at.

On the frontlines of COVID-19

“I am going back to respiratory nursing and also, I am looking to develop a new asthma service,” says Ndlou-Dawika gleefully, despite the looming danger facing her.

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In the United Kingdom so far there has been 226 000 confirmed cases of corona virus and over 32 000 deaths.

Over 100 Covid-19 deaths of health workers have also been reported in the news so far but Ndlovu- Dawika’s reassuring personality comes across as perfect for providing a sense of normalcy to anxious chldren in distress.

“The nursing profession truly provides comes with a lot of sacrifices, and our fallen heroes have paid the ultimate price of laying down their lives for fellow human beings, but what could be possibly better than providing care and prolonging life? She asks.

Ndlovu-Dawika cut her teeth in the world of work as a young woman in hospitality and events before quitting to study pediatric nursing at West London University.

She has been a nurse for 17 years working in various specialties before she chose to specialize in pediatric critical care.

“My greatest passion is being the cornerstone and supporting children and their families both in the hospital and in their home environment,”she explains.

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Sharing her motivation to go into nursing, Ndlovu-Dawika beams as she mentions her great aunt, a nurse who had encouraged her to pursue nursing, as she was good with children.

“And as they say, the rest is history. Right now I cannot imagine doing anything else,” she says.

Like many, Ndlovu-Dawika is navigating the changes that Covid -19 has presented.

“Initially it was extremely difficult to stay away from work even when advised to do so because one’s instincts are to help as much as one can however there are protocols to be observed. So many lives have been lost and therefore we all need to adhere to the lockdown rules,”Ndlovu-Dawika reiterates.

Although like many others she is currently navigating work from home as she awaits her return, she says no one-day is the same.

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As part of the team that does training, Ndlovu-Dawika is thankful for the many health volunteers that have stepped up to assist.

Ndlovu – Dawika however doesn’t want to dwell much on the dark cloud engulfing the world right now but chooses to talk more about life beyond the clinic.

“I live by the motto; working hard and playing even harder. A girl’s got to live a little,” she says before bursting into a fit of laughter.

On the frontlines of COVID-19
Adventureous Sammy fishing

At 37 the feisty Ndlovu-Dawika has also made time to discover the world.

Her travel diaries include numerous countries and exhilarating adventures she has had a chance to indulge in all over the United Kingdom where she lives and works and all over the world.

From road trips to the scenic Edinburgh,passing through Manchester and Newcastle to visiting the World Heritage site; Stonehenge, visiting the iconic Botswana Butchery in Auckland New Zealand and enjoying the sights of Venice, Ndlovu- Dawika has done it all.

On the frontlines of COVID-19
In Auckland New Zealand

“Europe is easy to get around and relatively cheaper so I have taken full advantage of this and made the best of trips to Portugal (Lisbon, Porto, Albuferia), France (Paris, Bordeaux), Amsterdam, Spain (too many places especially La Gomera and Tenerife), Germany, Luxembourg, Italy and I have thoroughly enjoyed travels to Singapore, Hong Kong, Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania and Kenya where we enjoyed both Nairobi and Mombasa over 2019 Christmas holidays with my younger sister.

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To keep motivated during this unprecedented time, Ndlovu-Dawika says she keeps in touch with her family back in Botswana and the legion of friends from around the world via voice and video chats.

Born to an Ndebele mother and a Motswana father in the UK, Ndlovu-Dawika earned her double-barrelled status from them.

At the time her parents were not married and as it was custom during that period she inherited both her parents’ surnames.

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Upon their return to Botswana following completion of their studies to get married and raise a family, Ndlovu-Dawika retained both surnames.

This would prove rather bizarre for many as she went through school and her life journey as an expatriate.

“It sure called for some interesting times especially when we traveled as a family. I was always the odd one out with a British passport and a different surname from my siblings.”

However, Ndlovu-Dawika says she identified with her name and never felt the need to change it. It did prove to be a conversation starter throughout her life.

“I would get asked where I was from and realised it wasn’t so simple to explain. Born in the UK, she schooled in Botswana and did her o’levels in Zimbabwe, attended West London University and then London Southbank University. I guess like I was told all my life, I have always been an expatriate no matter where I was,” she says her bubbly and comapassionate nature shining through her radiant smile

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