Beyond duty: A nurse’s journey of perseverance and compassion

“I love nursing, it’s what I always wanted to do…”

Friday, May 10 2024

In a touching example of life coming full circle, a young woman born at Netcare Garden City Hospital has returned 27 years later as a registered nurse, touching patients’ lives with her extraordinary care.

Sr Sukayna Sallie’s journey began with her birth at the hospital and later was inspired by a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. Despite the challenges of navigating nursing education during a global pandemic, Sukayna remained committed to her calling.

For her, nursing is an art, a delicate blend of medical expertise, compassion, and connection. As a registered nurse in Netcare Garden City Hospital’s surgical ward, Sr Sukayna cares for patients recovering from everything from abdominal to vascular surgery. She has mastered this art, providing care that heals the body and touches the soul.



Now, as a nurse in the very hospital where her story began, Sr Sukayna delivers the kind of compassionate care that has earned her high praise from patients and colleagues alike.

One such patient is Miss Xoliswa Sigabi, who was so deeply touched by Sr Sukayna's exceptional care during her two-week hospital stay that she took to social media to publicly express her heartfelt gratitude to Netcare Garden City Hospital and Sr Sukayna.

“Sr Sukayna is phenomenal – rating her 10 out of 10 wouldn't do her justice. Her passion shines through in everything she does, from her dedication to her work to the small yet significant details many overlook. She regularly checks in on her patients, ensuring we've eaten, remain hydrated, and that we rest properly. Her tireless commitment to our wellbeing is truly exceptional.

"From the moment I arrived, Sr Sukayna ensured that I felt comfortable and well cared for, going above and beyond to attend to not just my needs but those of other patients as well. Her dedicated care made a significant difference during my stay,” Miss Sigabi said.

“Her compassion, professionalism, and attention to detail truly made a difference during my stay. The entire hospital staff exhibited a level of excellence that exceeded my expectations, making what could have been a challenging time much more manageable. I'm grateful for the outstanding care I received and would highly recommend this hospital to anyone in need of medical care,” added Miss Sigabi.


Sr Sukayna's nursing journey, fuelled by a deep desire to care for others, started in 2015. Undeterred by the Nursing Council's five-year hold on the eight-month nursing course, she finally commenced training in January 2020. But, just as she was finding her footing, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world, forcing her and fellow students to adapt quickly and complete several months of their studies online.

"It was challenging, doing practical training with imaginary patients online," Sr Sukayna recalls. "But qualifying in April 2023 as one of the first groups of nurses in the new nursing programme made it all worthwhile."

As a naturally shy person, Sr Sukayna had to push beyond her comfort zone to connect with her patients. "Those first two minutes each morning, checking in and asking how they slept, are so important," she explains. "It makes people feel seen and acknowledged. Being a good listener is a vital part of nursing."

She understands that patients often face emotional trauma and may not have support at home. "So, we listen, we don't give advice. Our presence makes a difference."

Sr Sukayna shares how she prioritises forging deep connections with her patients, delivering not just exceptional care but the compassion, empathy, and kindness that define nursing. The bonds she nurtures extend far beyond the hospital walls, as she frequently remains in touch with patients long after their discharge. It's especially heart-warming when former patients eagerly introduce her to loved ones, a testament to the enduring trust and affection she inspires.

This gift for seeing her patients as individuals, understanding their unique needs and fears, and providing the reassurance and support that promotes healing has not gone unnoticed.

“Sr Sukayna has a gift for seeing her patients as individuals, for understanding their unique needs and fears, and for providing the reassurance and support that promotes healing," says Zeyn Asmal, general manager of Netcare Garden City Hospital. "Her ability to connect with her patients is a testament to the power of nursing to touch lives and transform care."

“This International Nurses Day, we celebrate Sr Sukayna and all nurses who, like her, go beyond duty to provide care that heals both body and spirit. Through their compassion, empathy, and unwavering commitment, nurses like Sr Sukayna are the heart of healing, making a difference one patient at a time.

“As Sr Sukayna continues to practice the art of nursing, her story will undoubtedly inspire others to follow in her footsteps, creating a legacy of care, compassion, and connection that will touch countless lives,” he adds.

Sr Sukayna’s goal is to continue growing as a nurse, and to bring joy to her patients' lives. "I love nursing," she says. "It's what I always wanted to do."

This International Nurses Day, Netcare salutes all nurses and invites you to share your message of appreciation for nursing teams’ care on Netcare’s online Care4You platform at


Notes to editors

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For media enquiries, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.

Issued by:   MNA on behalf of the Netcare Garden City Hospital

For media enquiries contact: Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville, Estene Lotriet-Vorster
or Clementine Forsthofer
Telephone:    011) 469 3016
Email:   [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]