Two long-serving UKZN employees – Nursing Management Lecturer Dr Jane Kerr and Administration Officer in the Department of Community Health, Ms Mano Pillay - have retired.
Sixty-year-old Kerr, who has been in the Nursing Discipline for eight-years, has mixed feelings about her retirement.
‘It has been difficult but I have developed from a clinical nurse manager into a junior academic through hard work and determination,’ said Kerr.
She is grateful for the support, experience and growth she received and experienced. ‘The sense of unity among my colleagues in UKZN is remarkable. I am extremely grateful to all individuals I met through local and international associations and the wider UKZN community who have contributed towards my personal and academic development. Teaching nurses in Seychelles and presenting papers at International conference are experiences I treasure and enjoyed dearly.’
Another memorable event was when she was selected by the Dean to present two papers and a poster at the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre Conference in Glasgow.
She appreciates all the REACH values, but her order of importance is; 1. Accountability; 2. Client Orientation; 3. Honesty; 4. Respect and 5. Excellence.
Kerr started her academic career at UKZN in 2009 where she has been actively involved in the refurbishing and relocation of the School of Nursing and Family Medicine skills laboratory and has been involved in the procurement of specialised teaching equipment e.g. Sim Man and Sim Mom and Sim Baby.
While studying towards her PhD, she received grants from Sigma Tea Tau (STTI) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, through the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH).
She completed her PhD in 2014.
She has had a varied career, commencing her training at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town; studying midwifery at Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg; teaching at Carinus College, Grootte Schuur Hospital and Greys College of Nursing; practising as an Occupational Health nurse in the Metal Box Liquid Packing plant in Isithebe, and working as a medical representative for Adcock Ingram.
Pillay started her journey with UKZN in 1982, joining as a DoH Provincial Administrative Clerk in the Department of Anatomical Pathology.
In 1991 she was transferred to Community Health (now Public Health Medicine) as a Senior Administration Clerk and then in January 1994 was transferred to Community Health as an Administration Officer.
‘UKZN is my first home,’ said Pillay. ‘I will miss going to work. There are many memorable moments that I shared with my colleagues.’
‘I have worked under five Department of Health HoDs, celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the establishment of Medical School (attended by President Mandela) and the renaming of Medical School. In my time here I’ve seen the expansion of the former University of Natal to the current five campuses of UKZN.’
Pillay said it has been both stimulating and challenging to be part of an institution which helps address the shortage of doctors and aims to give graduates an understanding of public health. ‘As an administrator I have assisted academics with the administration of the community health/public health programmes and the examinations of students. I have always been of assistance to numerous registrars during their four years of training in the Discipline.’
She thanked all her colleagues for their support and co-operation. ‘I have enjoyed my years at UKZN and I believe that good collaboration is very important if systems are to work well.’