Sr. Cathy Nakiboneka

Gretta-Foundation Scholar at IHSU from 2011-2014

School: International Health Science University, Bachelors in Nursing Science

Age: 51 Years

Born: Butambala District, I grew up with my Aunt up to the age of 12 years


Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I decided to become a nurse because of significant experiences that happened in my life [for which I will share one].

My dear late Mum was a known hypertensive who routinely went for check-ups at the hospital. One day she was retained in the hospital to monitor her blood pressure for at least two days. Unfortunately she was admitted on a bed next to a severely ill and unconscious patient! On the first night the neighbor died and her relatives cried terribly which scared and worsen the condition of my Mum. By morning, her blood pressure was extremely very high and she collapsed in the bathroom, became unconscious, paralyzed, and lost her speech until her death. She stayed in that state over two years, eight months and eighteen days until her death. Throughout that period as a family we had to carry all the activities of daily living as we were being instructed by the nurses ranging from bathing, feeding and turning her to avoid bedsores, etc. The family did not have any health personnel [for assistance] so most of the time we could seek assistance from health centre/hospital which was also very expensive, besides, the nurses were in most cases too busy to attend to her. In her last year she developed periodic seizures which I learnt later that was a complication of her lifelong hemiplegia and associated neurological problem. The seizures were another terrible experience, as a family we did not know how to protect her from further injuries except to cry thinking she was dying whenever she would experience an episode. While struggling to help my Mum without prior nursing skills and the fact that her condition worsened due to poor or inadequate nursing care i.e. mixing patients with different types of conditions and nurse workload motivated me to become a nurse to contribute to healing Ministry in Uganda. Am happy that I have fully acquired the knowledge and skills to provide and contribute to quality nursing care.

What were you doing before you became a nurse?

I was a student who had just completed advanced certificate level of education…while working as a nursing assistant at Butende Health Centre, Masaka district. My first nursing training was from 1989 to 1991 then I upgraded from 1993 to 1995, and later did a management program. I have been a nurse since 1992 and have worked as direct nurse provider and manager. Currently I am coordinating nursing and midwifery schools.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my little spare time I watch television news, visit the sick in the nearby hospital and in their homes, and once in a while do personal physical exercise.

In your opinion, why are nurses so important?

Nurses are extremely important because a nurse cadre is a sole health professional who stays with a patient for 24 hours in health facilities to homecare; a nurse links all other collaborative care of other health professional/health worker.

What is your favorite part about being a nurse?

My favorite part about being a nurse is using nursing knowledge and skills with compassion and [to have an] impact on patient’s positive outcome.

Tell us about a memorable patient you have seen recently that you were able to help.

I recently helped a Winy A., a 26 year old woman, an orphan I nursed during my clinical placement as a requirement for IHSU BNS students. Winy was admitted at Naggulu Hospital with a diagnosis of open Tuberculosis (TB) due to compromised immunity. Her immediate next of kin and nephew, John, initially seemed disgusted and scared of caring for woman and a patient suffering from a contagious disease. During my shift, I had to provide all activity of daily living as well counsel and reassured both Winy and her nephew that TB is curable. Winy would at times refuse drugs, bathing and eating and opted to die like her parents!. I would listen to Winy attentively which gradually enabled her to reduce her pre-occupation with negative thoughts about the disease and her wish to die. I applied barrier nursing and educated her nephew on the precaution against infectious disease. By the end of my clinical placement Winy had gained her appetite, some weight and would take her medicine promptly. On discharge, Winy had started to appreciate and participate in activity of daily living.


What impact has The Gretta Foundation had on your life?

I never dreamt of becoming a baccalaureate Nurse until The Gretta Foundation financed me to undertake Bachelor of Nursing Science program. I used to hear Bachelor Nurses in different forum saying; “Nursing Process”. Now I am able to provide client centered nursing care based on nursing process. Likewise confidently able to teach and advocate for the implementation of nursing process in health care delivery.

What kind of nurse do you strive to be, and why?

I strive to be a compassionate nurse who can inspire confidence in patients and their families as well to mentor nurses/midwives and trainees in therapeutic nurse-client relationship. The reason is the current public outcry of declining nursing care and associated negative attitude among health care givers.

What are your goals for the future?

As a Coordinator of Health Training Institution and Training (HTI/T) my goal is to ensure that HTI (s) access a full range of technical assistance that enable managers of nursing/midwifery schools to train nurses/ midwives of high quality and moral standards.

How many hours a week do you work?

Forty hours per week but due to workload I exceed 40 hours per week.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a nurse?

The nursing professional is a unique profession; a vocation that requires compassion, empathy, patience, good communication skills, emotional stability, flexibility. [Nursing] is not simply a profession to earn a living.

What is your biggest challenge as a nurse?

To hear or see a nurse neglecting a patient.

What advice would you give the world in terms of healthcare?

Invest in training health workers especially the nursing cadre to get well-skilled, competent nurses and midwives as well as pay them fairly as they are 24 hours with the patient and are the backbone of collaborative health care delivery. This will reduce the gap of patient: nurse ratio.

Is there anything more you would like to share?

I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to The Gretta Foundation. I appreciate all the efforts, contribution and sponsorships for nurses/midwives. Such initiative reduces the shortage of nursing cadre in Uganda’s health care system. Last, but not least, I am indebted to the Executive Secretary and the staff of UCMB at large for allowing me to study and for creating an enabling environment for me to work while studying. Finally I promise to continue supporting initiatives that aim at training nurses/midwives of high quality and professional standard that can contribute to health care delivery in Uganda.

Bravo to The Gretta Foundation and long live The Gretta Foundation!!