acio2What life is like as a Gretta Scholar

As a Gretta Scholar, I attend classes twice a week, on Fridays and Saturdays. Studies start from 8:00am and end at 8:00pm.We are about 65 students in total. 5 men and 60 women. I enjoy lectures, because it gives me the opportunity to learn new things, as well as ask the lecturer about the things I do not understand. We have a one hour break between 12pm and 1 pm. During this time I go for lunch at the hospital dinning, the cost of which has been taken care of by you. Thank you.

After the lectures, I return to the Gretta house. During my first year we shared one room for three of us. This second year, I have been privileged to share the room with only one other course mate called Aber Janet because we have become few now.. I feel privileged to be a Gretta Scholar, because I have friends I study with who have to pay for their own tuition, and it is very hard for them. I see how they suffer especially during exam time, since they are not allowed to do exams before paying fees.  I imagine if I had to pay my own school fees, I would not be able to afford and would therefore drop off the university.

On Sundays, I travel upcountry by bus to start work for the three days, that is; Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I then travel back to Kampala on Thursday to prepare for the lectures on Fridays and Saturdays. I try to make use of the time during my journeys to study the lecture notes.  The journey takes about 6 hours so most of the day would be wasted if I did nothing during this time.

What patients have affected you?

This is one of the instances that happen regularly when am at work. There came an illiterate mother, who lives deep in the village of Abia, Alebtong district in the northern part of Uganda, a war affected area. It’s where I worked for a long time. The area is hard to reach, and such services such as medical, education and financial are scarcely rendered.

It was on this fateful day when I was on duty that I received a mother in the first stage of labour, brought in by some volunteers who had gone to sensitize the community on food security. This mother had been neglected by her family members and relatives because she was very sick with bad odours. She was found on the road side in labour pain. On inspection, I found the lady pale, poorly groomed, and with very bad odour such that no one in the vehicle wanted to sit next to her. As a nurse, I quickly showed her love, accepted her and welcomed her and make her feel comfortable in the examination room. On examination I found that she had genital warts that started growing right from inside out into the perineum. The warts had taken over two years and had tiny maggots feeding on it. I could not do much apart from carry out vaginal douching on that mother until she was clean to be examined. She was in the first stage of labour but she could not deliver from the health centre II where I was working. I had to refer her to the hospital for further investigation and management. She did not have anything apart from the clothes she wore. I felt pity for that mother and wondered how she would make it to the hospital since she had very little money with her. As a nurse, I improvised and equipped her with the mama kit [birth kit], some soap, a basin and a towel to help her in the hospital. I had to refer her to the hospital, because I realised she would not make it from the health centre since she was in a very had situation.
In conclusion, the patient is a patient however sick, or whatever situation or condition he or she is in and it’s the nurses who bridge the gap and make them feel some sense of humanity and ease. Most people would run away from patients with terrible conditions, but a nurse will always bear and be with the patient and try to make them what they would want to be.

What does nursing mean to you?

Nursing has been my dream profession since I was young. My mom was a nurse. During my childhood, we lived in a nurse’s quarters. I would sometimes visit patients together with my mom in the wards. I used to feel very bad for those who were not able to access nursing care because there were not enough nurses to care for them or they did not have relatives/attendants to help the bed ridden patients do activities of daily living. This increased my desire to become a nurse such that I could help those who were in great need.

At first I thought nursing was only about dressing and giving injections, but the art of nursing is much more than that. Right now nursing means more to me, especially now that I have upgraded my career in nursing and understand more. I have learnt that a patient needs to be nursed/cared for comprehensively, holistically, with effective and efficient approach to the needs of the patients. This may include involving their families and community as a whole.

The practice of nursing according to Florence Nightingale, the founder of nursing has been very helpful for me. She defines nursing as a call, a sacrifice and a profession for those who have been chosen to love and serve those who are sick, the depressed, in need and broken hearted. For me nursing is not a last resort or a stepping stone to some expected goal. My goal at the end is to be able to use the knowledge and skills I am gaining at the moment to help the local community.

In conclusion, I hope to be able to use my nursing skills to bring back hope to the hopeless, provide quality nursing care to the sick.

When people fall sick, they put all their hope, faith, confidence and trust in the nurse. Nursing therefore is to saving lives,alleviate suffering,making life better and happier for the community.

How has life has changed since becoming a Gretta Scholar?

Before I became a Gretta Scholar, I was working in a hard to reach area in a health center II Alebtong District, Northern Uganda. Being the first born in the family, I had a lot of responsibilities as in helping my poor parents take care of my siblings. Well, I managed to complete a Diploma in Nursing in 2011, from Mengo School of Nursing and Midwifery, after getting a loan which had to be paid in four years’ time.

After that I went back and continued working in a small health centre II. However, I did not have the hope of moving a step ahead in my nursing career. But also it has always been my wish to go beyond the Bachelors of Science in Nursing. I thought the highest level in my nursing career would stop at the Diploma level.

The Gretta Foundation Scholarship has done a tremendous job by initiating me into the scholarship program. This lifted me and put me into a level that I would only dream about.

My life as a Gretta Scholar has changed so greatly in many aspects. Firstly, am proud to have Meg as my sponsor who has made it possible for what I thought was impossible in my life. Secondly, am gaining the knowledge and experience that I will later on use to help solve the health issues that will be in my reach.
It has not been so easy working and studying at the same time, but I had to do that to make ends meet for my siblings. With the money I get by working, I support their education. I support my brother and my sister, and my own has been settled by the Gretta foundation scholarship programme.

Being a Gretta Scholar has helped me to learn that there is need to sacrifice and give assistance to those in need, not just because we know them, or are related to them, or have benefited in the past from them but because they in need of help. I also learnt that we should give assistance to people irrespective of the nationality, race, colour and language.

I feel so privileged being a Gretta Scholar, because there are many people out there who wish to be one, but they have not got the opportunity. But here is Meg, who has given me the opportunity to become a Gretta Scholar.

I am very sure that without the Gretta Foundation Scholarship, I would not reach where I am today. I would like to send my sincere thanks and appreciation to Meg and all the Gretta Foundation Scholarship Team. Wherever you are, I so much appreciate your efforts. May the Almighty God bless you all. Thank you very much Meg and all the team of the Gretta foundation scholarship programme.