Nurses have a reputation for “eating their young.”
It is no different for nurses in Kenya especially to nurses new to a floor.
My nurse career started as a passion and an inspiration to help people in the community at large. When I talk of passion I mean this is what I desired my life to be and I loved being in the field of giving back to the society.
As an inspiration, I one day was in company of a friend who had delivered twins and up to date it lingers my mind why it had to happen. I watched one of her twins die out of negligence something that if I had the knowledge I would have helped.
To date I question the norms in our Nursing culture. Truth be told they are just rotten and absurd.
When I joined Nursing school I really had a purpose and I really worked towards it. Thank you to The Cicely Mc Donnell School of Nursing where they nurture nurses to be the best all round.
My journey as a qualified nurse at The Nairobi Hospital has really undone my passion and my
inspiration. I now work on a ground of adventure.
Adventure begins on the first day at work and to be precise in Operating Theatre Department. A department with ingrained attitudes and bad culture habits which per say are associated with on boarding of a new staff. A notion that to date I have never understood”Baptism by Fire.”
This notion to be precise means Learn on the job by harassment, unkind words,desperation and many bad things just to mention a few. Mind you this is either by your in charge, senior nurses and the likes.
Taking a toll, as a young nurse I always had Nursing as the best career but on my adventure journey I now term it as ‘Slavery’
Senior nurses have defined and demonstrated it as a platform for bullying, frustrating, abusing, harassing name them all junior nurses.
On to my sad and depressing story.
I was employed at The Nairobi Hospital at a tender age of 21 years as a trained and qualified nurse. It all started on well since we were all on orientation and learning on the job per say.
Orientation was where baptism by fire was real. Senior nurses shouting at you as if you ain’t human. Mind you the one shouting is also a nurse. Surgeons not left behind going to an extent of chasing you out of theatre since you are a novice. Questions lingered in my mind whether these humans were never novice at any point of their lives.
Truth be told life wasn’t easy and I had to get coping mechanisms which I took a step to be a two way traffic. Be good to me and I will give back with good and vice versa. Days went by in this adventure which really turned out to be a nightmare; Burnout, Stress, Frustration became the order of the day.
Being a young nurse tossing you around all theatres was normal. When one theatre wasn’t busy you are allocated to a busy theatre. As if its not enough breaks became a vocabulary, no tea, no lunch, no water was the order of the day. Yet the seniors had all the time for all these breaks.
To make the matters worse junior nurses had no one to relieve them so by the time the 12 hour shift was over aches all over your system were the order of the day.
MY WORST NIGHTMARE.
It all began when I conceived my baby. Being an expectant mother I had all the reason to go to work. Moreover, I was carrying life. Having watched my junior colleagues I had an idea it would not be a smooth sail.
Previously, the junior nurses who had their pregnancy journey in theatre went through hell and risked losing their pregnancies.
Reason being the bullying from the senior nurses mind you the senior women as if they never were pregnant.
My journey continued as a pregnant nurse where all was not well. You are expected to lift patients, to run around, to struggle, no break, no one cares. Then Hell broke lose at 14 weeks gestation I almost lost my baby due to the pressure at work and had a Mc stitch inserted.
I continued with my pregnancy journey at 24 weeks a senior nurse orders me to scrub for a craniotomy a long case to be frank and I scrub two hours down the line I feel a warm fluid run down my legs and I unscrub its blood.
I walked out of theatre alerted no one and sees my gynaecologist who gives me a Two weeks total bedrest.
I am away at home and all is well no pressure no frustration no insults I am fine. I go back to work and at 28 weeks I am left alone to wheel a patient to the recovery room I get hit by the bed on my protruded belly and I rush for an emergency scan and I get another two weeks off.
I am back at 30 weeks gestation and all seems well. All this long no one cares whatever your fate.
We are two in theatre and 6 cases booked. My colleague and I have to scrub for all the cases and when we are done I get a big gush of liquor and I go for monitoring and all is not well but the gynaecologist advises for a bed-rest and off I go; 4 weeks later I go back to work the same routine of pressure continues I go into labor at 35 weeks I get my premature baby but thank God all is well she survives.
All along I update my in charge and to make matters worse he uses me as an example and goes ahead to mock me by telling me I am not the first one being pregnant in the institution
Thank you that is the way seniors are taught to address junior nurses. I leave for my maternity leave and I thank God I am out of hell.
Who works in hell for heavens sake? this is a young nurse under stress almost going into depression and this is all harassment from one nurse who I will name her as time goes by.
Why push people to the end? All along only my fellow juniors colleagues check on me. Not even the in charge cares all he /she is after is counting days to end my maternity leave as if not enough makes absurd comments with his fellow seniors.
Maternity leave is over, I am back to work, energized and full of life and zeal to be a nurse.
Few days later this is crumbled into pieces and my nurse career shattered.
The same bullying all over again? Now all eyes on you, ready to eat up the young nurse. The so-called senior nurse on a new platform to destroy and give no meaning to Nursing.
I pity myself and my fellow junior colleagues if these are the people to emulate. Slavery at action. I am now a
lactating mother at work. Allocated in a very busy theatre no break, no relief, no one cares.
It’s 3pm I am engorged fever hitting 39.2 degrees. Dizziness sets in I excuse myself to express and the same senior nurse walks in and scolds me,” what are you expressing instead of receiving the patient, you are delaying theatre.”and goes ahead and makes a rude comment “you will know this is not your mother’s job” walks away making very harsh comments.
Remember I am trying to express next to a toilet in the changing room. I walk out and receive the patient and I settle him in theatre. The same senior nurse comes and shouts at me, ‘Go to Theatre B and set for craniotomy’, a long case there I have had no tea nor water mind you fever is it engulfing me no one cares.
My baby at home has no milk to feed on. Bullying and Harassment at the Core. No one cares people are happy I am frustrated. Not forgetting the Nurse in Charge, A very Arrogant man there I approach him and he makes a bizzare comment if you want to leave just go I will replace you
Hands on I will not let these people shutter my dreams and my career I give replies to all their comments and the in charge says I am disobedient.
Well said we junior nurses are voiceless, maybe items to just squander. The last time I checked I was a human being and I leave the hospital to a point of no return. I keep wondering and defining Nursing at The Nairobi Hospital ” A SLAVERY TO JUNIOR NURSES.” A fact that no junior nurse will voice in fear of intimidation and being sacked.
As I write this article I voice the harassment we junior nurses are subjected to at The Nairobi Hospital without fear or favor and no one cares or listens.
Our leaders are out to frustrate us so as to leave the noble career as if they were never junior at some point. Coming to think about it very few people give much thought to the oppression that goes on at work. Especially such a noble job of taking care of the high and mighty in this land.
Tell anyone you work in the Nairobi Hospital and they think “wow wow.” Cummon this is the 21st Century where nursing ought to be valued and embraced.
Catch up with me on my next article as I continue with my story on the plight of nurses. Thank you.
I am a voice to the junior Nurses
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