07 Apr My Nursing Career II
The responsibilities were many, I didn’t mind them, what kept me down was my salary. When people say they are paid peanuts, it literally applied to me. I was here doing too much for so little, my salary couldn’t sustain for a whole month. By 20th of every month I was always broke, borrowing and with debts, it depressed me, sometimes I cried myself to sleep. It didn’t affect my work, I tried my best in all duties allocated to me and cared for my patients.
At this time, the talk of the town was the new big hospital, the one owned by a wealthy Somali family, the one built seven floors up in a blink, the one that was like a five star hotel, the one along the beach front, the one every nurse wanted to join and had dropped their CV, I had also dropped mine. The first time I got a call from the hospital, the nursing manager; he was calling me for locums. I was at home on my leave then, I remember telling my mom I have to go back to Mombasa, I have a better opportunity.
Premier hospital was beyond my imagination, welcoming staff, beautiful building, with incredible designs, high profile clients, the best colleagues, more friendlier consultants, and some who I had met at Mewa were happy to meet me at premier.
I did locums like a week while still working my shifts at Mewa and got good money, I was really hoping and praying to be employed permanently there. I remember one day I was taking my patients vitals and I was walking from a patient’s room, I met with the CEO, the nurse manager, and the customer experience manager at the corridor as they were doing their rounds checking on the patients. These rounds are done to check on customer satisfaction with the services. My vitals monitor got stuck, and suddenly I had their attention, the customer experience manager chuckled, I should say it is at this point that I crushed on him big time, he is very handsome.
“You are Florence Githua right?” The CEO asked me, and I said yes. She said she never forgets someone she has met, and she remembered me from the interview I did some few months back, I was impressed. She asked me if I was happy working there, if I would like to be a permanent nurse and not on locum basis, I agreed very passionately, I mean it was my goal at that time! So she said that she will have a talk with the nurse manager to make that happen. Up to today if someone said a bad thing about that woman, I would think they are crazy.
I had also applied at Pandya hospital, done an interview and it had gone well, I had their letter on my hands, but then premier hospital HR told me to get the employment letter. It was a big decision, I gave up on Pandya, the lady who had fought for me to be considered there was so angry, to date she has never spoken to me again, she did all she could to connect me with the HR and to get an interview, I called her and explained to her why I chose premier, that it was my dream hospital, she said she couldn’t understand why I would chose an upcoming hospital over a hospital that already had a legacy. Premier was hot though, with resources that were good and accessible, good salaries as I had thought, documentation was digital, such a prestigious place to work, so I accepted their offer.
I started my shifts officially in the private ward, here we nursed VIPs, wealthy clients, clients who were familiar with the family, those with huge insurance covers, so their care had to be top notch. Call lights were always buzzing, the whole shift you have to have walked a thousand miles going from one room to the other. It was not bad, I got to meet ministers, presidential escorts, member of parliaments, top level police officers, and some others that I can’t even mention. I enjoyed working there my colleagues were the best, and the in charge vero had become a friend and a mentor. Mewa had really helped me get good nursing skills so I had no trouble working.
I worked for almost an year at the private ward and there had to be a changeover. Veronica came and told me that she was going to the maternity wing to head the department and she had recommended me to take over the private wards!, The CEO and the manager were waiting for my response. I felt overwhelmingly intrigued, and really proud, I must have been doing well for them to think of giving me this promotion. I talked it over with my close friends and I was assured I was best for the position. I went to the Nurse manager and the HR who presented me with the letter of the promotion, it was very appealing, the money was good, I could live well with what they offered, so I signed it and took up the in charge responsibilities for private wards.
Being an incharge was not a walk on the beach, there were desicions to be made, patients to manage, staff to manage, meetings, stocks, trainings, policies, what kept me strong was my team. They were fabulous, they worked well and collaborated with me well, if you know me, you know am very soft and am not one to confront anyone, so when my nurses didn’t give me reasons to be otherwise, I was thankful. The nurse manager then was also one of the good ones, he supported me through it all. So when time came for him to leave, I didn’t like it one bit, but there are always greener pastures to move to.
New management came changes, pressure, workloads, and work was not fun anymore. Corona happened! I had just come back from my annual leave only to find that my wards had been turned into isolation units! It was at the time Corona was at its peak, people were getting sick in volumes, there was shortage of resources, no protection gears for the staff working in the units, no oxygen, no ventilators for the patients who couldn’t breathe on their own and not many nurses wanted to work in isolation, medications required for the disease were super expensive, this meant extra care on how you administer and handle them, patients needed too many tests including scans, and so you had to ensure they don’t come into contact with other patients , special arrangements. Everyday I would go to work, make arrangements for the nurses who would work in the shift, I would make a thousand calls looking for them. I would receive the reports of all the patients in the two units, their status all tests done and how they were, the medications they were on, if they were on oxygen or on ventilators, and the severity score of the Corona, so that I can know the plan of care for each of them. The worst moments was watching patients die one after the other, when a Corona patient healed and discharged , we celebrated. I would make trips to the stores to ensure that PPEs were available and are of good quality, make orders of stocks used in the units, I even had a buffer store where I kept extra stocks incase the units ran out. Masks, gowns, shields, gloves were stocking out in a blink of an eye. I still had meetings left and right, more pressure, more workload, moving from one unit to the other to make sure everything was going well. As soon as I entered my house in the evening, I would just fall on my coach feeling weak and burnt out. I thought I would go crazy especially when I would get calls from the hospital about something that was going wrong in the units.
One afternoon, I was making the duty rota for the oncoming month, that’s when I heard the news, that I was being demoted! I stopped doing the rota and went to the Nurse manager who informed me of their desicion. I thought I deserved a warning even, but I had to hand over to the next incharge immediately. I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t even sad, I felt relief, like a huge weight had just been lifted off my shoulders. Being a nurse is fulfilling, but having that much responsibility felt like agony.
I asked to be allocated in the male general ward, everyday I report to work, attend to my patients, watch most of my patients get discharged happily, it was fun dealing with them if they were improving, just know they are going to be making you laugh or smile through the shift, and for those who frustrated you, it was manageable. I would go home happy even have the energy to Netflix and chill before I went to sleep. I worked in the unit for a few months, the nurse manager requested me to hold the medical assessor position for a while because the person holding the position had gone for maternity leave.
I loved working in the office, I got to look fabulous with all my outfits, I had my own desk, my computer, the chair that goes round, I even had my own mug. My colleagues were the best, so friendly and always with the jokes. One thing you can appreciate about office work is that you are sitted still and you get to have conversations with your colleagues. I definitely became more outspoken in the time I spent in that office. Up to date I made strong friendships in that office because in the short time I worked there, we went through deep moments together, we even had a wedding. My work included verifying all patients files before they were discharged and ensure the treatment they were given correlates to the diagnosis, had to go through all the bills to ensure no one was overcharged or undercharged. I communicated with the insurance reps concerning their patients care and get approvals for major tests and procedures. Then I made weekly reports of the insurance payments. We got busy when we had many discharges or when a long stay patient was discharged, verifying the huge files. Mostly I enjoyed lunch hour period, we got to leave the office, go out of the hospital to a kibanda some distance away to eat some delicacies; cheap but overwhelmingly delicious. We ate ugali matumbo, chapo beans, rice beef, pojo, and others, good times.
After four months, the lady came back and I had to go back to the wards. I felt that I was over the bedside nursing. I requested to be allocated in theatre!
That’s another story of love, watch out for the next part