By Thato Phalole 04 May 2022

Ms Nobuhle Buhle Nhlapo: 2nd-year Medical Lab Science student

As we warmly welcome the 2022 academic year, we also welcome new scrubs for the Medical Lab Science students designed by Ms Nobuhle Buhle Nhlapo, a 2nd-year Medical Lab Science student.

Confident and well-spoken, Buhle, from the East Rand, in Tsakane; developed the special scrubs that are aligned to the new VUT brand.

Buhle is a self-taught graphic designer, who allows her to supplement her income and help meet her student expenses. Raised by a single mother in less-than-ideal living circumstances, she was encouraged to work hard for all she sought and to remain humble throughout her life. She recalls being shy as a child, but as she grew older, she gained confidence and began to take on leadership roles geared to challenge herself.

As geeky as it may sound, Buhle does disease research in her spare time, and finds it both entertaining and educational. She began researching illnesses like Progeria in high school, and that led to her choice of Medical Lab Sciences as her preferred study choice. She finds it fascinating how physical changes in one’s appearance can be caused by abnormalities in the body. Although tough, the programme is also exciting in that she gets to play medical detective by tracking the status of the affected people, whether positive or negative.

After learning that VUT did not have scrubs, Buhle shared her idea of wearing scrubs to fellow Medical Lab Science students. As the class representative, it was easy to grab their attention because the students had already built trust in her ability to resolve certain difficult situations.

The students loved the idea, and during the first semester of 2021, Buhle set out on a mission to persuade the Head of Department, Prof. Christa Grobler, and the Medical Laboratory Science staff in the Department of Health Sciences under the Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences.

“I have always imagined myself working as a medical doctor in general surgery. In my perfect world and fantasy, that involved being in scrubs and walking tall because of the amount of work that goes into becoming a surgeon. I designed the scrubs to bring me closer to my destiny in a clothing sense. It also gives one a very respectable look.”

Her classmates then set out on their own quest to acquire the scrubs and spent their own money in order to make this endeavor a reality.

“The scrubs have provided immense motivation for continuous excellence in education”, said Tshegofatso Mashabela and Boreadi Malepe; 2nd-year Medical Lab Science students.

As the university sets off on a journey to recovery, Buhle’s aspiration is to see young minds being given a chance, a chance to be heard and a platform to express their unique dreams and thoughts. This positive attitude and initiative are exactly what our new brand tagline represents: Inspiring thought. Shaping talent.

Commenting on Buhle’s innovative idea, Prof Christa Grobler said: “we welcomed the proposed initiative and decided to standardise the scrubs as the departmental uniform for both the BHSC: MLS and B Nursing students as. Students wearing these scrubs in the clinical learning facilities will act as VUT Brand Ambassadors”.