I take a deep breath … and another in quick succession. I step into the room where my Physiology lecturer is sitting down, waiting to question me. As she asked me questions related to hormones, the gastrointestinal tract and patient care, my heart (must have audibly) thrummed.
One minute done
Two minutes done
Six minutes. “Okay. You can go now,” said the lecturer as she took out her pen, sipped her juice and wrote down my marks. Well, that was a new experience. My first oral examination. Viva Voce.
A Whole New World…
When I stepped into the College of Health Sciences in Chiromo campus for my pre-clinical studies, I was elated like the thousands of students who had been accepted. Moreover, I would be studying what I loved most, Nursing Sciences. Everything was organized with bookmarks already subdividing my notebooks. My whole body hummed with the excitement of seeing cadavers. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but my Fight or Flight mechanism had been set to Fight from the word go.
Six weeks. Things began to get real. Learning by now was on full throttle. Social life…? Dressing up for class…? I believe I forgot the meaning of that in my quest to be the best first year nursing student I could possibly be.
Growing up, I had never really heard anyone describe what it took to be a nurse. Not just any nurse, a GREAT nurse (trained at the University of Nairobi). Everyone seemed to emphasize on the importance of being a great doctor, pharmacist and surgeon. I soon discovered that it takes so much dedication, discipline, optimism, focus, compassion, empathy, hard-work and some amount of coffee when you wake up at wee hours of the night to study.
We would be studying Physiology and Biochemistry, two very interesting but bulky subjects, in one school year. When we began Neuroanatomy, the thought of studying the intricate details of our refined nervous system had me enthusiastic. However, with time, the only thing that kept me focused was the ever present thought that God had given me the passion for nursing for His honour and glory and the drive to make my family proud.
Effortlessly, I can choose to focus on what didn’t seem to be going right, and forget to be appreciative of what was amazing…
Kind, dedicated lecturers did their best to not only deliver the lesson in the best way but to also mentor the students. Once, in a lecturer’s office, I was scared that I wouldn’t make the 50% cut in Anatomy. She calmly walked me through strategising what I needed to change in my study habits. Her advice was not just for first year, but for life. On another occasion, my friends and I bumped into one of our favourite lecturers on his way from lunch. He took the opportunity to encourage and advise us on studying for our finals.
Wonderful new friends. Beautiful memories. The thrill of learning how to give injections. The first-hand experience of taking care of patients during our weekly ward rotations. The new unbeatable food combinations of university students. God protected and provided for us.
I am now one year closer to getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Sciences. I would not trade this for anything else in the world. The experience this far is one that I can’t exchange for anything else. The irreplaceable joy in the face of a discharged patient. The relief that pours out from the patient who just needed someone to talk to so you listened. The peace and happiness that bubbles in your heart when a patient blesses you.
I take a deep breath and decide to end here. I know at the end of this year, there will be a lecturer in a room waiting to question me.