It’s my first day as an intern. Georgetown Public Hospital has been my focus point for the past month. Every morning I have been telling myself, “Dear…that is the one place to be. At least before I leave this country.”
It is not that there aint no other hospitals around, it is the fact that there seems an enormous base for experience for beginners like me. And in my opinion, vast of human species to learn from. By this I mean from the upper management to the lowest rank like the cleaners. Of course most people do ignore the fact that even laundry cleaners or bathroom cleaners play a vital role.
However that was the case on my first day.
As a BSN student trying my practical skills at a hospital where majority of the nurses hold a diploma, somebody should have warned me about how much the level difference would matter.
“Wait, you are a student?” A female nurse in full white scrub uniform asked me. Obviously she was checking me from head to toe. (Okay hair to shoe) and by that I mean the hair is neatly held, uniform sparkling white and sparkling white shoe. Oh and the white stockings which I didn’t put on.haha. never will I ever.
Seeing she was done with the checking out, I smiled and told her I was indeed a student.
“What about your white cap?”
First of all I hate that word.
Who in this century still wears a cap? More less a white uniform! Okay a few out there. And to be honest, my school wears white merely because the ex-dean was Philipino and he is still rooted to his roots. He insisted that in his country that was how it was. Whoee.
“And why are you in scrub and pants? Students wear dresses, young lady. With stripes on the edges!”
Okay, seriously what was her problem? Did I really have to explain myself again how iam coming from a private university and was here merely for clinical rotations? Obviously the head nurse didn’t have that time either when she allocated us to her ward. Oh by the way she is the nurse superviser.
But nonetheless, patients were waiting for our attention and here she was interrogating me. I had to fake a call. Thank God.
Hours later, as i waited for my friend who was assigned in another ward, a young woman walked in the station. At that time i was talking to a local RN from another town.
“Excuse me, you must be the lady from Linden.”
“Of course me from Linden. But there others too. We plenty.”
She gave a weary look. “Dont be proud. What happen to Linden hospital? It get full? Why they send you here?”
The Linden lady was surprised by her response.
But she was not as surprised as i was as the same woman turned to me.
“Hey…i see you wearing TAU tag. Forgot we have university students now. What’s your name?”
She smiled and said she loved my name. That was not new. I was accustomed to people joking and laughing about the uniqueness of it.
“You sound from Nigeria. You from Nigeria?”
Oh there we go again.
C’mon…I wanted to tell her. And I did. “Not everyone from africa is nigerian! Africa is a continent. Nigeria is a country.” Duh.
“And am Ugandan.”
“Okay so why are you here? Don’t you have schools there?”
Because she was being all naggy, I put my name aside and became Peaceless.
“First of all iam here on private sponsorship. My parents are paying thousands of dollars for my tuition and yes, we have plenty of schools and hospitals. Oh and also handsome men.”
Okay that last part was meant for another person i came across somewhere else. The small girl i met in the market had ignorantly said african men are dark and asked if we had fair looking men. Man oh Man. For real?
Basically I projected all my annoyance towards this nurse even when she didn’t ask about the African men.
She didnt flinch a bit. Instead she went on. “So after graduating you staying here? I hope the government is not considering retaining you guys because our local nurses hardly have jobs here. You should go back to your country and serve there.”
Interesting…, I thought.
She was not in uniform first of all. And I later learnt she was a nurse clerk.
So what? Does that give her the right to authorize who should stay and who shouldn’t! Or be so rude?
I don’t know how I disappeared from her sight but I did.
Thankfully as I strolled out with my friends for lunch break, this washroom cleaner suddenly stops us and says, “I love you african accent.”
We all smile. And he adds, “Incase you need me help…dont shy away me is doctor in charge today. Me everywhere.”
Looking at his appearance, we are amused. Because he is holding the bucket in his gloved hands.
“Okay doctor. We wont hesitate,” I replied laughing.
“Thank you sir,” my friend told him.
So as i mentioned earlier everyone counts in your day. He replaced the bitterness we had with giggles.
And then came the afternoon.
Since we know a little bit about medication, I offered to help the nurse in charge of it. Sincerely the matron told us we could grab any opportunity that presented itself…that’s only if you are free and under direct supervision. I was free so,
“Ever given an injection before?”
“That’s good,”she said. She got to the patient and turned to me, “You can go and prepare the tabs.”
I know how to give an…aaaargh. Why did you even ask me? Tabs? Seriously? At least she could have told me to watch and learn. I would be forced to think she had me in her best of interest. So to say (teach me as she was taught)
But instead of helping us learn along with her, this nurse instead goes on to embarass you in the presence of the nurse aids, patients, mecical students who are doing rounds with the doctors.
“You guys are degree. You should be knowing these things.”
I replied, “And that’s why am here. To know these things.”
But seeing that she just didnt want us around, i opted out. However, because i saw the nurse aids smirking, my temper changed.
Haha. For the better. Not to jump at their throats which I would have loved to do.
My Zimbabwe friend said she would have given them a piece of her mind. However, i decided being Peaceful was best for me. I went back and stuck myself on the nurse. From room to room and trust me my skills got the better. The mockery charged me and motivated me. Even as she complained about time wasting
…be careful and avoid mistakes…
is something I dearly learnt in class. As I wasted more time on the standard five rights before medication (and she had that scorn look on her) deep within me I knew I was saving two lives. Patient life from deadly mistake to would lead to grave and Peace’s life from loosing a licence forever and ending in jail.
In conclusion, dont give up.
‘only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.’ Albert Einstein.