This man made history by becoming the first male head nurse at Groote Schuur Hospital.
Aghmat Mohamed, 41, from Woodstock, is the first man in the world-famous hospital’s 78-year old existence to be put in charge of its 1600-strong nursing staff.
Aghmat, who grew up in Manenberg, started his new job on November 1, stepping into the shoes of Maureen Ross who retired last year.
He says: “Despite the negative stigma attached to Manenberg, I didn’t let it keep me from reaching my dream of nursing.”
Aghmat was raised by his grandparents in Vistula Street, and says he fell in love with his profession after watching nurses in action at his home.
“My grandmother was diabetic and always needed home-based treatment on her foot after she lost a toe. The nurse would come to her house and dress her toe. I always admired the way she made my granny feel better and make my grandpa smile,” he says.
“I was just a small boy but that nurse had an impact on me, I instantly fell in love with nursing.
“The neighbours on either side of where we lived were also nurses and I liked the way people looked up to them and depended on them for help.
“I then realised that I want to be a nurse, to be acknowledged like they are.”
After matric, he studied at Nico Malan Nursing College and did his training at Groote Schuur Hospital, while he worked at Woolworths to pay for his studies.
In 1998, he started his first official job as a nurse at Red Cross Children’s Hospital’s paediatric section.
He worked at many other medical facilities, including day hospitals in Woodstock, Delft and Retreat, and at the Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union Healthcare Centre, where he was the facility manager.
In 2004, Aghmat moved to Dublin, Ireland, where he planned to work for two years, but ended up staying for 11 years.
“I enjoyed working there, I worked with 58 different nationalities and taught Speciality Nursing for six years,” he says.
But he returned home last year after his father passed away, and to support his mom.
Speaking about the perceived stigma attached to being a male nurse, Aghmat says: “That stigma has faded out, men are naturally nursing when helping their wives with newborn babies or helping the next person when they’re hurt. There is no such rule as nursing being only for women.”
Spokesperson for Groote Schuur Hospital, Alaric Jacobs, congratulated Aghmat on his appointment.
“We are sure his experience of 21 years in nursing will stand him in good stead to lead the nurses at the hospital,” Jacobs says.