Cape Town – An Atlantis nurse has left her job to open her own clinic using her pension money.
Olivia Pharo, 49, from Saxon Sea, worked at the Wesfleur State Hospital for almost 24 years but took a leap of faith to assist her community.
She says on 1 March, on the day her nursing career kicked off exactly 29 years ago, she opened Sister Pharo’s Clinic in the Atlantis City Centre building in Wesfleur Circle.
“I handed in my resignation last year in September because I just had enough of the bad service residents in our community were receiving,” Sister Pharo says.
“I was in a managerial position and having to deal with all the complaints and the staff crisis and I just got so irritated.”
Sister Pharo, who is married with two daughters aged 18 and 22, says it has always been her dream to open a healthcare facility that caters to the needs of all residents.
“I left the hospital and never could I ever have imagined I would be leaving with a big smile on my face,” she says.
“I have an amazing team assisting me who share the same vision as I do.”
Three qualified nurses, two administrative clerks, one assistant clerk and a cleaner work at the clinic, which operates from Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and Saturdays from 9am till 2pm.
“I have been funding the clinic from my own pocket using my retirement fund.
“I wanted the clinic to be seen as a one-stop shop for all your needs.
“I am fortunate enough to have landed an investor, after he heard my story from someone.”
Most services are free but patients do have to pay for certain things, like pap smears, as it requires outside lab work.
Services include everything patients would receive at a traditional clinic, like diabetic and TB care, family planning and pregnancy, but they also have a dial-a-nurse programme.
“Many people do not have transport to get to the hospital, so they call us and we go out to their homes and assess the patients and treat them as best as we can,” Sister Pharo adds.
Admin clerk Pieter Pieriga, 47, says the support from the community has been overwhelming.
“Since 1 March, we have seen over 250 patients, young and old,” Pieter says.
Resident Marianne Isaacs, 38, says she initially went to the clinic for family planning, where caring nurses discovered she had a bladder infection and sommer treated her for that.
She could not stop raving about the great service, saying: “A definite 10 out of 10. I will most definitely be back.”