“We commit ourselves to serve the health sector with diligence,” said Karabo Mmako, chairperson of the Student Council at the University of Limpopo (UL). Mmako was speaking during the oath-taking ceremony at UL, to “usher graduands in the faculty of health sciences who have met the requirements to practice as health professionals”.
The ceremony is one of the specially designed initiatives of the institution aimed at contributing to the country’s human resources capital. This year’s ceremony saw 110 students – 82 pharmacists and 28 human nutrition and dietetics – sworn in to their respective professions during a virtual ceremony.
Students who took the oath have completed their four-year qualifications in the department of pharmacy, human nutrition and dietetics, optometry, medical sciences and nursing science.
Nursing sciences, medical sciences and optometry students could not take part as they are currently engaged in exams. They are expected to take their oath upon completing the examinations.
Professor Tebogo Mothiba, acting executive dean of faculty of health sciences, said that the oath-taking ceremony is being held at the time when the country, particularly the health sector is overwhelmed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mothiba congratulated the students, saying their entrance into the health community represents UL’s contribution in the fight against the pandemic. She appealed to the students to “treat patients with the utmost respect and care while upholding health values and protocols”.
Said Mothiba: “We want to believe that everyone understood the meaning of oath-taking. You must remember that you will be representing the university wherever you go. Be respectful to your colleagues and patients, provide high-quality care with compassion and be ethically intact.”
Thabang Ramoroka, a qualified dietician and consultant at Tiger Brands also shared his pearls of wisdom with the students. His advice was that the students’ success in the health profession was dependent on their willingness to learn and take up opportunities regardless of how small they might present themselves. “Never see an opportunity as small, make yourself available and learn to apply yourself regardless of how small the opportunity may be,” added Ramoroka.
He also highlighted the importance of self-development, saying it is one of the key effects on one’s success in their careers. “Your qualification allows you to get into the sector but to be sustained you need to keep developing yourself by being teachable and always getting involved,” advised Ramoroka.
Acting director of school of health care sciences, Prof Linda Skaal, also added her words of advice. She described 2020 as the most challenging year for the faculty as they had to deal with the effects of Covid-19. She thanked the students for their hard work and for finishing their studies despite the challenging circumstances. She also expressed gratitude to management saying they provided sound leadership to “salvage the academic year amid uncertainty”.
Another guest who graced the occasion was Professor Samuel Risenga, director of school of medicine. He reminded the students about the importance of taking an oath, saying it is not just the signing on paper, but a lifelong commitment. He said that the students ought to be ready to confront a new set of challenges in the workspace, and their oath should serve as a guideline to put people first.
Mmako said heaped praised on UL, saying as students they couldn’t have chosen a better university to pursue the health care profession. He said UL is well-known for its record of producing leaders in all spheres of life.