A nurse, who helped care for thousands of people’s wounds at Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town, retired on Friday after 35 years – and she had never taken a day’s sick leave.
Sister Colleen Grehan’s dedicated service was highlighted on the Heroes of Groote Schuur Facebook page, a project of the hospital facility board.
Grehan, 66, said that nursing had always been in her blood and she paraded around with a towelling nappy on her head as a toddler, pretending to be a nurse.
Some of her patients fondly remembered her care and thanked her, while former colleagues appreciated her knowledge and patience.
Grehan explained that she had refused to take sick leave because there had been no one else to do her job.
“I’ve had times where I had a problem with my back and I could barely walk but I was here. A couple of times I’ve had to say to somebody please drive me to work because I can’t drive, but I was here.” she said.
“If I could just keep going I would keep going. Monthly I treat between 250-270 patients. Last year I did 3097 patients in one year.”
Grehan said she retired for 10 hours last year but there was nobody to replace her so she returned. Now she was forced to retire.