Toolkit to help bolster nurses’ mental resilience and overall wellbeing

South Africa’s nurses honoured on International Nurses Day for ‘leading from the frontline’

Tuesday, May 11 2021

“At a time when our country needed them as never before, South Africa’s nurses did not hesitate to rise to the challenge and lead from the frontline to deliver outstanding professional and compassionate care to patients. This despite the uncertain, highly stressful and often traumatic circumstances which they faced on a daily basis during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare. 

“For the past 18 months, hundreds of thousands of nurses diligently arrived for work each day, putting their lives at risk and the wellbeing of the patients before their own, regardless of their fear and anxiety about the risk of infection to themselves. 

“Moreover, nurses made huge personal sacrifices in order to protect their families against the virus. This International Nurses Day, Wednesday, 12 May, all of us should take a step back to recognise the nurses’ extraordinary contribution to fighting COVID-19. 

“My heartfelt personal thanks go to each one of the nurses in Netcare hospitals, Medicross medical and dental centres and Akeso mental health facilities, as well as all nurses in our country and around the globe, for their incredible dedication to our patients and their colleagues,” added Dr Friedland. 

Building mental resilience 
“Caring for patients in these unprecedented circumstances can take a huge toll on nurses’ physical, emotional and mental wellbeing,” says Shannon Nell, Netcare’s director of nursing and nursing education. 

“I commend the phenomenal efforts of nurses throughout the pandemic. Although nursing is an extremely rewarding career, it can be challenging at the best of times, and the extraordinary challenges that nurses had to cope with and the losses they have faced over the last year have left many feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
“Mindful of this, a range of telephonic, group and individual support services were made available to Netcare nurses through an independent wellness service provider, a team of mental health practitioners from Akeso, and Netcare 911’s Wellness 911 service,” explains Nell.

“However, we also identified the need for a self-help toolkit to assist nurses in strengthening their mental resilience and overall wellbeing, and which they can access as and when it suits them and work through it at their own pace,” she says.

“The toolkit is available as a free download at as from 12 May onwards, and will without doubt also be of value to other healthcare practitioners and, in fact, any individual seeking to enhance their mental resilience.” 

Developed by a team of therapists at Akeso, the toolkit includes guidelines, practical activities and exercises to promote self-awareness of one’s mental and physical health needs and help build resilience. A wide variety of aspects such as processing the demands of the day, grief and loss, burnout, stress, anxiety and depression are covered, as well as coping skills in distressing situations, sleep hygiene, distress tolerance, self-soothing, practising gratitude and self-care – all extremely useful skills to help one maintain physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. 

Dr Nceba Ndzwayiba, director: human resources and transformation at Netcare, said the Group’s leadership was privileged to have witnessed the nurses’ selflessness, compassion and determination during the pandemic. 

“You have remained compassionate, empathetic, and treated our patients with care, dignity and enormous professionalism under unprecedented circumstances. We recognise and deeply appreciate your strength and sacrifice over this time where your colleagues sometimes became your patients, and even your best efforts tragically could not save every life,” he concluded. 

Invitation to the public
We invite the public to join us in acknowledging the immense contribution of nurses at Netcare and in South Africa as a whole, by sending them your messages of appreciation using #NursesDay2021. 


Looking for a medical appointment? Netcare appointmed™ will make appointments for YOU with specialists practising at Netcare hospitals, GPs and dentists at Medicross medical and dental centres, and specialists at Akeso mental health facilities. Simply request an appointment online at or phone Netcare appointmed™  on 0860 555 565, Mondays to Fridays between 08:00 and 17:00.
To find out more about the services offered through Netcare hospitals and other of the Group’s facilities, please visit or contact the Netcare customer service centre either by email at [email protected] or phone 0860 NETCARE (0860 638 2273). Note that the centre operates Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:00.
For more information on this media release, please contact MNA at the contact details listed below:
Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare 
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]