Nursing will never just be a job to me

Blog written by Irene Mokua

Becoming a nurse requires dedication and commitment of not only time but also energy in preparation for a demanding career.

Those who choose this profession do so for a variety of reasons, such as job security, competitive wages, benefits, and the potential for climbing the career ladder.

Many express a desire to help others and make a difference in the lives of patients, families and the community at large.

Nurses are known for their calling to the profession, and you never know when that passion may surface. For me, the love of this profession started 13 years ago after an experience with a nurse. I spent almost a month in the hospital with multiple diagnosis which I cannot even recall. I was in a ward that was next to the mortuary so that in case of any mortality I could be easily transported to the morgue. Most of the people including the doctors had given up on me. The nurses are the only ones who showed me that there was still hope to live. From that day on, I knew I wanted to be like those nurses who did what they could to save my life. I developed the passion for serving others and becoming the best nurse possible through life-long learning and mentoring.

Attending Clive Irvine College (CIC) turned out to be a life changing experience for me. As a student at CIC, you are challenged to work hard and sometimes step out of your comfort zone, especially when you are in clinical setting. I believe that the combination of these two factors is the key to personal development and higher achievement.

During my second year, I came across an advert for the youth peer provider volunteers at Village HopeCore International. I knew that could give me a better chance to fulfill my dream. I did the interview, passed, and was assigned the task of educating youths on matters concerning reproductive health. I really loved my job. As a youth peer provider sometimes I could sacrifice my holidays to offer the health education to the youths. I believed in the slogan “prevention is better than cure” and so I did all I could to prevent any form of a disease or infirmity that could affect the people around me.

After completing my nursing school, I worked in Nairobi West Hospital, though still, I had not achieved my dream of helping those who really needed me and giving hope to those who, like me many years ago when facing death, had lost hope. I realized that HopeCore could be the best place to fulfill this dream. Yes, I came back to HopeCore to fulfill my dream and this time as a nurse!

For the short period that I have worked in Village HopeCore International I have come across several special cases that reminded me of my previous experience and this has kept my passion alive. Some of them strengthen me and make me realize that nursing is not just a job to me, but a calling.

Among those cases that have made me feel moved is that of a 9 year old boy from a local primary school with visual problem. He had been treated several times with no improvement. His parents seemed to have given up on him. Though his eyes had started developing some growth in them, I still had hope that one day they could get better. Dr Maeve Hume-Nixon, a visiting Doctor who worked with HopeCore, and I thought that it was better for him to be reviewed at Chogoria Mission Hospital.

We took him to see a pediatrician at Chogoria Mission Hospital on 23rd March 2016. The paediatrician suspected that the cause of his eye problem was severe vitamin A deficiency. He was very concerned at the boy’s rapid deterioration and lack of response to treatment. He then wrote an urgent referral letter to Kenyatta National Hospital to the ophthalmology department.

Courtesy of Village HopeCore we were able to take Dennis to Kenyatta National Hospital On 7th April 2016, traveling to Nairobi was like a tour for both the boy and his mother since it was their first time there. He was diagnosed with an eye allergy contrary to what most of the doctors suspected. He was put under one month’s medication and given a date for review. During our second visit nothing seemed to have changed. It was so disheartening to learn that the growth seemed to be getting bigger. Since I had promised myself never to give up I tried to hold on to hope in one hand and determination in the other.

The ophthalmologist reviewed him and she was very much convinced that the mother was not instilling the drugs in the eyes properly. She educated her on the effectiveness the medication had on Dennis’s eyes and most importantly how to instill the medicine in the eyes properly. Lack of proper medication and care would lead to damage of the retina and blindness. She then prescribed more medication and gave us a return date after two months.

After instilling the drugs for the first month, the eyes responded very well. The growth was now clearing up. We then went for the third visit on 11th April hoping that it was the final visit. The ophthalmologist was glad that the young boy was getting better and much improvement was visible. That right there was a happy moment for me as much as it was for him and his mother.

The doctor did prescribe more drugs for him. This was one month’s prescription and she wanted to see him once more just to be sure on the 9th of September. All through Village HopeCore was financing us so, I bought the medication and gave clear instructions to his mother on how to administer.

Currently the boy is getting better though still on treatment to clear up the remaining traces on his eyes. Both he and his mother have no words to explain how grateful they are for all what Village HopeCore has done for their lives. I am a happy nurse and I too cannot thank them enough for giving me a chance to be able to touch lives of the most vulnerable, the neediest, and the desperate in our community. This has been my dream and I love the satisfaction I feel when when I fulfill my dream.

The story above is the story of a very bright boy, and he wishes that one day he will grow up to be a doctor so that he can also help sick people in the community. I can relate personally to his dream of helping others, and am so happy to have been able to provide hope to him as the nurse did for me many years ago when I was unwell. Our organisation has really contributed much in building up his dream. Since his eyes are now fine, he is in a position to read and work harder to the accomplishment of his dream. Much regards to Dr Maeve Hume-Nixon for the efforts she made to make this boy, and his family smile again.

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