Alumni Spotlight

Alumni nurses during COVID-19: Khutso’s story

Khutso is a Dell Young Leaders alum from the class of 2015, and one of many in the program who have worked hard to graduate from university and start their careers in healthcare. We sat down with Khutso to talk about working as a nurse during COVID-19, how the pandemic is changing her career, and what is keeping her motivated in these challenging times.   

How would you describe your day-to-day experience as a nurse working in times of COVID-19? 

I am working in the medical ward for patients with pneumonia, Tuberculosis, and fevers, which is an overwhelming and stressful place to be during COVID-19. We need to be extra careful, but often do not have enough resources and it is difficult to ensure every patient has the care they need. 

When I think about this lockdown, I want to educate people that the coronavirus is real. Some people do not believe it until one of their own gets sick, and it is heartbreaking to see families come and mourn for those who have passed. Even though it is difficult, my passion to help patients and give them comfort makes me never give up and continue to educate others.  

What is something that keeps you grounded and sustained in these times?  

Growing up as a child in a very poor family where everything you have, you had to work hard for, is what makes me strong. I also have a 10-year-old daughter who has kept me fighting since I was in high school. Whatever I do, I do for her. I do not want my child to grow up like I did. I want her to have the things I wished for as a child.  

How have your experiences in challenging situations prepared you for these current challenges? 

Breaking the chain to become the first person in my family to graduate and achieve things I have always wanted motivates me to keep going. I have always wanted to build my mom a house, and I started that. But there are many other things needed to give my child a better life than I had, and being a working professional is helping me achieve my dreams. Thoughts like these help get me through challenges that come my way. 

How have your experiences as a Dell Young Leader prepared you for new challenges?  

When you go through the Dell Young Leaders program as a student, you meet many people and motivational speakers. Some do not know that what they say and do for you will remain with you for life. The program  taught me how to communicate, how to carry myself professionally with colleagues, and how to respect them so you earn that respect back. Having that communication and respect in place is key to being a leader in the workplace and as a professional nurse.  

As an alum of the program, it is great to know that we are still cared for and belong to the Dell Young Leaders community, even though we have graduated. The team will never truly leave our sides.