Twenty-five medical interns have joined the team at the New Somerset Hospital in Green Point.
Western Cape MEC for Health, Nomafrench Mbombo and head of department, Dr Beth Engelbrecht, welcomed the new intake of interns last Friday, January 11.
Dr Mbombo joked that she felt old seeing so many young faces joining the field. She said it was the first time that they had such a large intake.
She said the provincial department would have wanted more but they don’t have enough funds.
She said it was the national health department’s duty to place the students and the provincial department doesn’t choose who goes where.
Dr Mbombo told the new interns they were coming at a difficult time where health resources were scarce, not only in the province but throughout the country.
“You are coming at a time when patients do not only come with one disease, you are coming at a time when patients don’t only need your thermometer, but your ears too. People are going through a lot and most times, they will need your heads, your hearts and hands,” she said.
Dr Mbombo told the new doctors that there’s no hospital CEO, medical manager, or a professor who can teach them how to break the news to a person who’s just lost their loved one.
“No one can teach you how to wipe the tears of a person who’s been waiting for assistance for six to eight hours, no one can teach you how to handle a frustrated parent whose child is dying because she’s been on the waiting list.”
Dr Mbombo urged the new interns to base their service on patient-centred-care. She thanked them for choosing to apply to work at this hospital.
“We’re relying on you to expand our values which are caring, accountability, integrity, innovation, responsiveness and respect,” she said.
She urged the public to also take care of the young doctors because this is also their learning experience.
“When you look at the New Somerset Hospital, don’t only look at the services the hospital provides, but also think about the whole package which includes human resources that the staff fall under. They are also journeying psychologically and they are human beings,” she said.
One of the new interns, Nompumelelo Mahlangu, from Stellenbosch University, said she chose to apply to the New Somerset Hospital because it is a secondary level hospital which also has academic responsibilities.
“For me, this would be a nice balance between having practical experience and having enough supervision so that I don’t feel completely out of my depth but at the same time I’m able to develop my skills in a highly supervised and a highly academic environment. Also, being close to the V&A Waterfront doesn’t hurt,” she said.
Ms Mahlangu said she plans to learn everything that she can to be competent on her own when she has to start specialising or opening her own practice.
“I want to involve myself in as much as I can practically so that I get the skills of one day being able to step out and not getting anyone for help,” she said.
Dr Mbombo said the 25 interns are part of the 333 interns that had been placed across the province.
The hospital also has 12 second-year interns.
According to the department, the purpose of the internship is to provide well rounded, patient-centred, team-based, practical work experience to these junior doctors. They develop the practical skills to go with the theoretical base they already have under the supervision and mentorship of more senior and experienced teams.