It takes a special person to be a nurse but it takes an extra special person to be a pediatric nurse who is passionate about her calling. One such nurse is Winnie Kubai, pediatric Nurse who works at The Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s largest public referral hospital situated in Nairobi. You would be amazed to hear the reviews I got about her from the larger nursing community who share a learning platform on social media! I contacted her and we had a conversation and this is the story behind what drives her.
This is what she had to say: I am a registered Nurse with a specialty in pediatrics and my heart belongs to children. I grew up loving children and on my first posting, I was fortunate to be deployed to the Maternity wards. My passion for children grew even stronger after I took one year of specialization course in pediatrics and began to associate their every action with what’s in their mind, according to their developmental stage. This enables me to handle each child differently including adolescents who are not ‘’small adults’’.
I seize every opportunity to promote health to the community and preventive measures on common illnesses that affect children. Opportunities such as: social gatherings, meetings, church, at work and one time in the bus on my way to work. My deepest desire is for children to seldom get sick and those who do to get well with minimum or no sequel at all. Its always a heart wrenching experience to see them suffer when sick and the pain it brings their families.
I want every caregiver to understand the simple, cost effective measures that will be used to protect the children from complications of current illness. Some practices like thorough history and clinical examination, even in the well child clinic, environmental hygiene, personal hygiene and infection prevention and control go a long way to ensure better outcomes for the little ones. Since it would be impossible to achieve this goal on my own, I decided to pass on my skills to others through intentional mentorship that way we would have a well-equipped team. I focus on nursing students on clinical rotations, healthcare providers during short courses pediatrics courses including ETAT+, Pediatric BLS, PALS, Newborn Resuscitation and Neonatal Standards of Care.
I look forward to the day healthcare providers will finally get the attention they seek from the ministry of health in Kenya to address recurrent issues that pose a challenge to offering the optimum care.
To my colleagues, I have this special request: Listen to the caregivers of the sick children. In the public hospital where I work, the mothers from low socioeconomic backgrounds have a lot to tell us that can affect the patient’s outcome and ultimately reduce hospitalization days. But due to huge workload, many a times we’re forced to postpone the session, as we have to attend to all the demands of the other patients and their caregivers. Some days we are assigned to over 30 children per nurse in a shift and it makes the delivery of service a huge challenge.
So, what keeps you going? Seeing a once unconscious child now play in the hallway, brightens my day especially when one is overwhelmed. Children don’t not how to pretend so when they feel better, they will be up and about. It makes my day!
At Nurses in Africa, we believe every nurse has a story and Winnie’s story is one to be celebrated. Through her, standards of care are communicated daily creating consistency which is a cornerstone of quality improvement. The nurturing environment she has created in her work environment to provide meaningful mentorship is an added advantage too after all quality improvement is not a microwave solution but a crock-pot solution.
In this already complex health system, sometimes all the staff need as motivation is recognition of their efforts by their leaders. A pat on the back from you makes a huge difference.
What keeps you going when the going gets tough?