When HIV/AIDS hit Zimbabwe almost 40 years ago, the pandemic caused a health crisis.
By the time Taz Banda was 15 years old, around 25% of the population were living with HIV and the country had become a nation of palliative carers.
Talking about death and dying became second nature and Taz remembers relatives and friends coming to live with them so her mother, a full-time secretary at the local mine, could provide them with palliative and end-of-life care.
“We always had a house full of people. Some were dying and some just came to live with us because they got jobs in my town and my parents were known to take people in and care for them,” the much -loved nurse said.
Growing up with compassion at the centre of her family’s values prepared Taz well for her role in palliative care. After training as a nurse in Melbourne and cutting her teeth on the oncology ward of a major hospital, Taz joined PCSE and was recently promoted to the role of Team Leader.
“I lead an amazing group of dedicated nurses who provide quality holistic care to our clients and their carers with so much compassion,” Taz said.
“Being a team leader is about empowering others, making sure that you communicate effectively and set clear expectations to ensure that everyone is valued and contributes their best.”
“Palliative care requires empathy and compassion. It can’t be taught but is essential in order to not only support the clients but colleagues as well.”
“The most rewarding part of working here is being able to provide compassionate support to clients and their loved ones. It makes a huge impact in their lives at such challenging times and knowing I’m part of a team that does that gives me a great sense of reward and fulfillment,” she said.
Since becoming the mother of twin boys, Taz has expanded her sphere of care and is grateful for the workplace flexibility that enables her to work part-time.