“I will never forget the smell of burn wounds. While still working for the National Renal Care as a Clinical Technician in Nephrology, I was once assigned to Milpark Hospital’s Burns Unit to help revive the kidneys of a young mom who, together with her two children, had suffered third-degree burns from a car accident. Dialysis can take between four to eight hours, so I spent a lot of time in her ward witnessing all efforts to restore her life. At that very emotional moment, it suddenly dawned on me that my job surpassed definitions of a career. The life of any patient I encounter lies in my hands,” says Mpume Magwa, co-founder of Izinso Dialysis Services, a company she established with her husband Sithembele Magwa. David and Janice Meissner joined as business partners. “Izinso Dialysis Services offers various forms of renal replacement therapies to patients whose kidneys can no longer carry out their functions,” she explains.
Magwa speaks with the passion of someone who knew quite early on that they wanted to run a medical business that would restore lives, as well as tend to patients’ emotional needs. Yet, the 40-year-old shares how her lifelong goal was to become a medical doctor — a dream, she says, was hampered by not achieving the required academic points to make it into medical school. Fortunately, her detour — in the form of a B-Tech degree in Clinical Technology at the then Pretoria Technikon — saved the day. “When I couldn’t get into med school, the next best thing was for me to choose something that would at least see me working in a hospital,” she recalls. “I must admit though that because the course wasn’t popular, most of us wondered what would become of our careers once we had graduated. We honestly had no idea what doors this diploma would open.”
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