16 August 2021 | Story Dr Cindé Greyling | Photo Supplied
Dr Samantha Potgieter – in the front line of the fight against COVID-19 .

Dr Samantha Potgieter is an infectious disease expert at the Universitas Academic Hospital and affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of the Free State (UFS). She was also the first health-care worker to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the Free State. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, her main focus was on complicated HIV and drug-resistant TB as well as hospital-acquired infections. Since the emergence of COVID-19, she has been managing the COVID-19 clinical response at Universitas.

What is the best thing about your job?
I work in an amazing team with colleagues who, after 14 years, I can say have become friends.

What is the best and worst decision you have ever made?
Marrying the person that I did is by far the best decision I have ever made. And I must be honest, I regret very few of my decisions. Even the bad ones have turned out to be learning opportunities.

What was/is the biggest challenge of your career?
Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic as an infectious disease physician was by far the biggest challenge of my career. It was an equally fascinating learning curve and an immense privilege to be in a position to contribute.

What does the word woman mean to you?
The word woman means a million different things. We are daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and friends. We are strong when we need to be and yet vulnerable with those we love. We can be powerful but kind. I love being a woman.

Which woman inspires you, and why?
My mom. She is hands down the kindest person I know. Her quiet strength and her grace – she is everything I strive to be.

What advice would you give to the 15-year-old you?
I spent a lot of time wondering what life is all about, and I still don’t have the answers. But I think I would tell the 15-year-old me to remember that life doesn’t have to be perfect or easy in order to be good.

What is the one self-care thing that you do? 
Cuddling my little ones – it’s my very favourite thing to do.

What makes you a woman of quality, impact, and care?
I am a woman, and I think all women are these things. We all have the capacity to care for those around us and to change our small corner of the earth for the better.
I cannot live without … my tribe of sisters, they make me laugh, they hold me up.
My secret weapon is … an early start to the day.
I always have … an extremely messy car (it’s really not my fault)
I will never … buy a pressure cooker – a good friend has put the fear of life into me!
I hope … that my daughter will grow up in a world where she will also be able to say that she loves being a woman.

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