Creating a Sanctuary at the Medical Campus
UKZN’s School of Clinical Medicine (SCM) recently opened it’s doors to its new Investec Lounge against the background music of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, in the halls of Level 4 of the main building. The project came to fruition through a joint partnership between UKZN’s College of Health Sciences and the banking group, Investec. Situated on the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine campus, the new lounge is an initiative of the Dean of the SCM, Professor Ncoza Dlova.
Dlova, upon being seconded into the Deanship, was determined to revamp the main building to provide compatible social spaces for staff and students. The Investec Lounge is the first project which kick-started earlier this year and has resulted in a serene environment built to cater for the needs of CHS academics and doctors visiting from partner hospitals.
‘We needed a space for our doctors and CHS academics to come to relax and de-stress. The lounge is fitted with a few computers so staff can work here, relax on the lounge suite, have their meals in the dining area or use the “quiet” room to rest,’ Dlova said at the opening ceremony. She thanked Investec for the funding that brought her vision into reality. ‘We are truly grateful to Investec for thinking about our doctors and ensuring that a space is dedicated to their well-being.’
Built in a contemporary design, the lounge features a small LAN facility, a lounge, a dining area, a fully fitted kitchen and a quiet room that can be used for private consultations or by nursing women who may need to cater for their babies by breastfeeding or expressing breastmilk whilst they are at work. The furniture and warm tones, including a water feature, were specifically chosen to bring serenity to an otherwise stressful, busy environment. Entrance to the lounge is access controlled and limited to medical doctors, CHS academics and Investec staff.
Mr Stanley Sekhula, a fourth-year Medical student, recited a poem titled, These Doctor’s Craft at the opening which he dedicated to all doctors. His poem spoke to the need for doctors to take care of their own well-being, especially in light of the serious mental health challenges they face. Mr Senzeni Tshuma, a final-year Medical student wrote the lyrics to a song that he dedicated to all doctors in the College of Health Sciences (CHS), entitled Bleeding. The emotional rendition reminded the audience of medical Heads of Departments, visiting medical managers, CHS management and SCM management of the importance of “taking time out” to improve one’s mental health and well-being.
Ms Julia Taylor, of Investec Medical Banking, said. ‘As a specialist bank, we understand the needs of busy specialist medical professionals. The lounge is designed to be a sanctuary, for doctors to get much needed time-out of their intense work schedules. We know that time is the one commodity medical specialists can’t buy and the one thing they wish they had more of, which is why we bring banking to our medical clients. We do this through our dedicated Private Bankers and sophisticated digital channels. Doctors don’t live “9 to 5” lives, which is why our graduate professionals in our global Client Support Centre are available 24/7/356. Everything we do centres on simplicity and exceptional service.’
Words: MaryAnn Francis