MANAGING a public hospital is not an easy task, but after five years Frere Hospital chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Rolene Wagner has proved it is achievable by ensuring that she involves the whole community.
Since joining the hospital in 2012, the Cape Town-born doctor has ensured the medical institution continues to reach its highest peak.
After completing her medical studies obtaining her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees in 1996, she went on to practice as a medical officer at community health centres in both the Eastern Cape and Western Cape before joining the Frere Hospital team five years ago.
Wagner said she has been always been passionate about working with people and making a difference in people’s lives.
“I don’t think of the CEO position as running a hospital. I think of myself as a civil servant who has come to serve the community,” the mother of three said.
She spoke to the GO! & Express in the company of her daughters, Emma, a law student who aspires to fight for the voiceless; and Laura, a fashion student who seeks to make a name of herself in the world of fashion.
Wagner said juggling motherhood and her job was not easy but the tolerance of her children and partner made it worthwhile.
“They are very tolerant and accommodating. They understand that what I do is part of our lives. I try to focus on the thing I’m doing right now – when I’m at home I am at home. Being a parent is important to me.” I have to balance my time, as I am a person who throws herself into whatever I am doing.” she said.
Wagner, who just recently got back from KwaZulu-Natal where she walked away with the KwaZulu-Natal Doctors in Healthcare Discovery Emerging Leader Award, also counts the 2017 Jakes Gerwel Award in Public Health, 2017 Black Management Forum Manager of The Year and 2016 Business Women of the Year in the government category among as well as in the border region in 2014 as some of her prestigious awards.
“From the first week, our focus was to build a cohesive team to solve problems at their level. They escalate problems to me that they are unable to solve as I don’t want to micro-manage my team, ” she says.
Wagner said juggling motherhood and her job is not easy but the tolerance of her children and partner makes it more worthwhile.
“They are very tolerant and accommodating, they understand that what I do is part of our lives. I try and focus on the thing I am doing right now, when I am at home I am at home, being present is more important to me. When I am at home I focus on my family, when I am work our patients and my team have my full attention. I have to balance the time, as I am a person who throws herself in whatever I am doing,” she said. .
Thriving in a male dominated industry may not be easy but the chief executive believes to break the barriers women have to create opportunities for one another.
“There’s nothing wrong with being unique, there’s nothing wrong with standing on your own two feet” – a lessons she says she instills in her children as well as in herself.