Hats off to praying porters

Cape Town – Starting their day with a prayer, two hospital porters take pride in assisting patients.

For Mario Angelo Williams, the smile from a patient is the ultimate reward.

Williams, 48, has been a porter at Mediclinic Cape Gate for five years. He started as an agency worker and was later made permanent.

A typical day for the Bellville resident would be a shift from 6am until 6pm.

He gets up for work at 4.30am, follows with a prayer, showers, dresses before practising his smile and greeting style for the day.

Williams reports for duty at 5.40am to ensure the porters’ desk is ready to receive its first arrival.

On arrival at home, he will enter through the garage to undress for infection purposes and follow hygiene principles. The father of two will then spend time with his family and enjoy his mother, Susan’s cooking before preparing for the next day.

Williams said he enjoys everything about his job.

“I am part of a larger team and our aim is to enhance the experience of the patient at every opportunity. Good service has a ripple effect. If I do my job efficiently, it makes life easier for my colleagues and they can also continue to excel. A player is only as strong as its team, and I have wonderful teammates that also influence me in a positive way and make work life enjoyable,” he said.

About dealing with anxious patients, he said: “My years of experience have taught me the valuable skill of being in tune with a patient’s emotions. When I sense a patient is feeling anxious, I do my best to have a casual uplifting conversation to relax the tension.”

His hard work has not gone unnoticed and he received the applause recognition award and applause recognition platinum award last year.

“On a daily basis, my colleagues and superiors are giving me praise and sharing their appreciation. It makes me feel proud and want to do even better. However, the smile from the patient is the ultimate reward and compliment letters,” he said.

On off-days,Williams will socialise with friends and family, watch movies and soccer. His favourite team is Manchester City, who play in the English Premier League (EPL) and admires The Sky Blues playmaker, Kevin de Bruyne.

Patient experience manager at Mediclinic Cape Gate, Madali Groenewald said she cannot be more prouder of Williams.

“Angelo and I share the same passion and dedication for patient experience. He is exceptional with names and can remember so many details about every patient. His favourite phrase when he receives a task is ‘copy that sir or copy that mam’,” she said.

Chief porter at Karl Bremer Hospital, Jovan Arendse, 29, has worked at the hospital for more than a decade. Like Williams, he worked for an agency before he was made permanent.

Jovan Arendse, chief porter at Karl Bremer Hospital. Picture: Supplied.

He started out as a general worker before he became a porter.

“My first day as a general assistant, I was very nervous. I didn’t know much about what would be expected. When I started, there were two other staff members who helped me to understand my role and what to do. As a porter, I helped a patient who collapsed. The patient had a seizure and I assisted her,” he said.

The Eerste River resident starts off his day with prayer before heading to work. When arriving at work, he splits his colleagues into teams to ensure that all wards are covered and he likes to keep them motivated throughout the day.

“I take pride in my job. We believe in Batho Pele, it means that people or patients come first. By all means, they come first. Every day is different, one day, I may have a bad day and the next a wonderful day. You need to be grateful for your job. Sometimes you need to think for the patient as well. How I interact with patients, is often how they experience the hospital,” he said.

Dressed like “traffic officers” with blue shirts and navy jerseys, the father of one said he was once offered a reward by a patient but refused to accept it.

“When I took her for her scan, she asked me to go to the shop for her as she couldn’t walk at the time. She wanted NikNaks and juice. She felt hopeless and I thought ‘let me help’. I want to show patients that there are good people who want to assist them. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad. I am here to do my job and make a difference,” he added.

Head porter at Karl Bremer Hospital David Plaatjies, said: “Jovan does his work well and is very diligent. He is spontaneous and flexible when faced with challenges. He offers his support when needed.

“When we do not agree, we talk about the issues and move forward. He is always on time and does his best every day. He is someone we can rely on.”

Weekend Argus