Frontline staff series: Teamwork making a difference


Occupational Health Centre staff members Zilla Shaw, Natalie Meyer and Keenan Magielies form part of those going the extra mile on campus.

Teamwork key element to success

While Zilla Shaw’s key role is supporting the work of the Occupational Health Centre’s (OCH) manager, she knows it takes a team to achieve success.

Zilla (in the middile of the photo below), who has been with the University since May 2019, is one of several professional nurses responsible for introducing new guidelines, protocols and training presentations towards ensuring our campuses are compliant with COVID-19 safety measures.

“We worked feverishly to get everything done,” says Zilla.

Furthermore, Zilla and her colleagues were back on campus by mid-May to prepare their facilities for the necessary screening measures for staff. This included revamping the tennis clubhouse on North Campus as the University’s new COVID-19 Screening Centre.

Zilla has identified teamwork and unity as key elements to the success of the Occupational Health Services Department.

She also called for staff and students to take responsibility for their wellbeing.

“Irrespective of who we are, where we come from, what our job title or position is, we are all vulnerable to COVID-19.”

‘I was born to help others’

Natalie Meyer is a professional nurse who works as an Occupational Health Nurse at the University’s new COVID-19 Healthcare Screening Centre on North Campus.

It is here at the former tennis club house, especially refurbished to meet the stringent safety needs of life under the pandemic, that Natalie is able to practice her calling.

“I’ve always known nursing would be the perfect profession for me, as I was born to care and help others.”

Qualified as a professional nurse in 2012 and working at the University since 28 May this year, Natalie screens staff members, contract workers and visitors to North and South campuses, be it at the gate upon entry at North Campus or in the Screening Centre.

She says teamwork is the motto at the centre.

“I feel very proud and blessed to be part of such an amazing team.”

Making a difference

Keenan Magielies, 24, has been working as a data capturer in the University’s Occupational Health Services since June 2020. 

He works at the Screening Centre on North Campus capturing all the details and paperwork recorded by the nurses as they go about their daily duties.

Mandela University staff who need to be screened upon their return to campus make bookings with the OCH and are assisted between 07:30 and 16:00. 

Keenan captures their medical history, including temperature and any comorbidities, to enable the team of nurses to make the necessary follow-up calls.  He does likewise for “persons under investigation” (PUIs) – those whose screening processes indicate that they are a high-risk candidate for COVID-19.

“I enjoy this work as I feel that I make a difference in people’s lives. I think health services is a very good profession, says Keenan.  Keenan’s father, Kobus Magielies, has been working at the University’s Occupational Health Services for many years.