Meet Ruth Kulume-o, our first TGF graduate.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in the Eastern part of the country in a family of four being the only girl and the last born.
What are some of your most enduring memories of your childhood?
Taking up key gender roles at an early age because of my mother’s poor health which was coupled with the environment of growing with boys. It was challenging. It taught me to be hard working and assertive as opposed to our feminine culture of being submissive at all times.
What did you dream of as a child? What role did hope play in your childhood?
I dreamt of being a nurse. It inspired me to read and excel in a village school and it instilled in me a determination to pursue what I feel will positively contribute to my life. Not only did the dream came to pass when I became a nurse but it created the person in me who easily identifies with the needy.
What inspired you to want to become a nurse?
[Nursing] was an environmentally influenced inspiration having grown besides a sickly mother, always in pain, whose condition (Diverticulitis) had never been diagnosed till her death bed in 2002. This inspired me to nursing with the hope of being able to understand the cause of my mother’s ill health and also have the opportunity to care for her better.
Why do you think nursing is so important?
Nursing deals with the role of meeting people’s needs. This is a profession that is a calling to serve others, therefore one has an inner drive to care. . [Nursing] is a profession of no retirement till death. Nursing will always be required at anytime and makes a difference in the life of someone even where medical care has become irrelevant.
What characteristics do you believe an individual should have to be a good nurse?
A good nurse must be caring, observant, a good communicator, quick in decision making and prompt in action. Above all passionate about nursing as a profession.
How did you first hear about The Gretta Foundation (TGF)?
[I heard about TGF] through a friend, a nurse whom I met in an international conference.
If not for the TGF scholarship would you have been able to fund your nursing education?
Yes but unlikely through a loan with a lot of challenges and constituents.
Do you feel a bond with other Gretta Scholars?
Yes so much that I had to go to the net and surf more about the foundation and that is where I learnt TGF had visited Uganda and also learnt that other people are being funded by Gretta in Uganda. I look forward to meeting with other Gretta funded colleagues!
Now that you have graduated how would you describe your feelings?
I feel very proud of this achievement and my self esteem rose even to higher levels. I can take a stand and debate with colleagues, the doctors especially, on what I know is right.
What do you see for yourself in the future?
I definitely see a bright future and see myself in nursing leadership nationally and internationally.
What do you think your degree has done for your career in nursing?
The degree has built my career further and enhanced my career to international levels. For example, I competed for and won Global Excellence HIV Nursing Award 2011 that was offered by Association of Nurses in AIDS Care.
What does your family think of your accomplishment?
My family feels great about this achievement and my elder daughter encouraged me to do a masters course because she trusts I can make it.
What advice would you give to young people who want to enter into the nursing profession?
They must know that nursing is a calling. Therefore they should have a passion to offer care but not take it as a duty to earn a living. They should have interest in the profession and let that passion drive them to serve irrespective of numerations attached to nursing in our country.
What do you think your skills mean to your patients and their care/cure?
My skills mean quality care for patients I serve. Not only do I utilize the clinical knowledge but also put into practice considerations of cultural nursing aspect in meeting individual needs of patients under my care having appreciated the various nursing theories learnt.
I applaud the Gretta supporters and assure them that their contribution to improving health and care cannot be underestimated. As such I do highly appreciate their contributions and where possible, encourage the Gretta scholars to initiate small health projects where they have an opportunity to practically translate the knowledge and skills to measurable activities that can impact their communities.