Intern hearts already beating Mopani blue

Mopani Pharmacy welcomed two new interns at the Crossing store this year, on 14 January. Siphesihle Hlongwane and Chandre Coetzee shared the experience of their first month with us.

Everything is new

Our interns are new to the Lowveld. Both hail from Durban, but Siphesihle completed his studies at the Nelson Mandela University, Chandre attended the North-West University, in Potchefstroom.

“It is very hot here, more so than Durban. There, you can take a swim at any time. Here, there is no such luxury. The nature makes up for all of that. The Lowveld is such a beautiful place,” said Siphesihle.

“I couldn’t agree more. Since I’ve been here, I’ve visited Pelgrims Rest, the Mac Mac Falls and the Kruger National Park. We’ve had lovely rains lately, I can’t wait to explore more”, Chandre added.

Photo: Lowveld

The best of both worlds

“I am enjoying my time here at Mopani Pharmacy. It is so well-developed. I saw Spencer, the automated dispensing machine, and was thoroughly impressed. I’ve never seen any other pharmacy that has such a dispensing system. You would think, only America would be this advanced. On the other hand, this is still a community pharmacy. It’s not cold and clinical as you would find in other corporate franchise pharmacies”, said Siphesihle.

“I was amazed at how large and well-run Mopani is. It’s unlike any pharmacy I’ve ever worked at. I have worked in pharmacies in small places like Thabazimbi, and large cities like Johannesburg”, said Chandre.

Staff as brand ambassadors

“I was looking at different places to apply for and stumbled upon Mopani. I got an interview with Jaco, our Professional executive and the HR manager, Maryke. I immediately felt comfortable. I was the one applying for the job, but the two of them ‘sold’ the Mopani brand so well. They have so much confidence in the brand, and deservedly so. The staff here truly believe in Mopani”, said Siphesihle.

“I heard about Mopani via a friend. Her sister did her internship here and could not stop talking about what a great place it is and how much she learned here. That tells me that people who have worked here, are glad to have been able to”, said Chandre.

Photo: Professional executive, Jaco Venter.

Mentorship: no sinking, only swimming

“I’ve been given the freedom to actively perform duties and learn, on my own, without anyone looking over my shoulder. However, I can ask for help at any time”, said Siphesihle.

“At previous places, I would ask a mentor how to do something. They would respond by taking over instead of teaching me. I feel like I’ve grown up since I’ve been here. I can pick up the phone and call a doctor, sort out problems with a medical aid and deal with challenging customers without anyone stepping in. If I ask for help, every person here is willing to assist. However, they will guide me through the process and allow me to learn from the experience. Corné Cilliers, our Responsible pharmacist is a gem. She is like a work-mother to all of us”, Chandre added.

Photo: Responsible pharmacist, Corné Cilliers

The patients

“I have adjusted well; I can assist siSwati patients because their language is similar to my home language. Sometimes, there are challenging patients, but they are ill or in pain. They are having a bad day, and it is my honour and duty to help them,” noted Siphesihle. “You need to have compassion. That is why we study to become pharmacists in the first place.”

“I have dealt with a variety of patients as well and I learned so much about different conditions. When you study, you learn about some active ingredients and what they are used for. They don’t teach you which products contain those ingredients. I was truly surprised to learn about how many conditions can be managed with medication. With some conditions, I’ve only ever assumed that a patient would need to be hospitalised, and have surgery. Yet, here they are, happy and healthy with a treatment we can provide right here! I would also love to learn to speak siSwati and perhaps Portuguese as well, to bridge language barriers. We have such a diverse community of patients, multi-national as well”, said Chandre.

Will they stay?

Photo: Nelspruit / Mbombela

“Oh, we would both like to stay here forever. Unfortunately, we have no control as to where we will be placed for our community service year, once we have completed our internship”, said Siphesihle, adding, “If possible, I would return. I love it here. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to travel as much as Chandre, the rain kept me at home on my off-time. I do want to explore more; I am excited to put down roots.”

“I’ve committed to the Lowveld already. My partner moved here from Thabazimbi as well, and got a job. I am here to stay. I will do my best to secure a position here, once my internship and community service period is over”, said Chandre.

Visit our Crossing store to meet our brilliant new interns, pick up your medications, supplements, cosmetics, fragrances and more. Contact us for info: | | Tel: 0137555500 | WhatsApp: 0661921703

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