Getting to know one of Hospice East Rand’s nurses and Kempton’s very own Sister Tracey Scholefield.
“It’s not a job but most definitely a calling.” This is the words of Hospice East Rand’s Sister Tracey Jean Scholefield.
Scholefield is passionate and dedicated to serving and holds close to her heart her patients and their families.
The Kempton Park resident, who is a wife and mother of two, has been with Hospice East Rand for eight years and told Express more about her journey at the hospice.
Q: What sparked your interest in this field?
A: Two of my very dear friends passed away from cancer. Hospice visited them.
Q: Tell us about your day-to-day duties?
A: I visit my patients in the comfort of their own homes and manage them holistically which includes physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual care.
Q: What do you like most about your job? Why?
A: Interacting with my patients and families and knowing I can make a positive difference in their lives because they are afraid of the unknown and what lies ahead. Being there to reassure them that I will be there to walk this path with them is important.
There are many misconceptions about hospice and palliative care, for example, ‘it’s just for cancer patients, it’s a place where people go to die.’ What do you say to people who still hold these beliefs? The minute people hear the word ‘Hospice’ they believe it is the end and this is not true. I have had patients who have been with me for up to four years.
I reassure my patients that it’s about managing their symptoms which automatically makes them feel better, that their mindset plays an important role, and to take each day as it comes, opposed to thinking weeks and months ahead.
Q: How has lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic affected your work?
A: It has been daunting with the pandemic. We could only visit patients once we hit level three and four. Before then we had to phone all other patients. This was to protect them, but it was hard not being able to physically see and interact with them. Wearing PPE has also unsettled my patients as we also have to do social distancing, which is difficult as you can’t reassure them by holding their hand or giving them a hug. Many of my patients passed away without having their loved ones at their bedside which was heart-breaking for me and their families.
Q: Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
A: I love reading when I have the chance which is generally when I go away. Walking also relaxes me.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: I am honest, fun, loving, have a wicked sense of humour and sometimes too sensitive due to my soft side.
Q: What are some of your highlights?
A: Seeing that smile on my patient’s face when I arrive to visit them. Seeing a positive outcome since my last visit.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in this position?
A: I get very attached to my patients and their families. I try very hard not to but many of them just creep into my heart. They are truly special, fortunately, we do get counselling which helps us deal with everything.
Q: What motivates you?
A: Knowing that what I do can make a difference.
Q: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in this field?
A: It’s not a job but most definitely a calling. You need to have empathy for your patients.
Written and published by Kempton Express