Working Lives: The Specialist Nurses of Nigeria
In this series, we bring to you the Working Lives of some of Nigeria’s most educated nurses. Let’s be frank, most us would not expect a nurse to discuss specialist areas of medicine we have never heard about. These nurses have qualifications in them! But as usual, it is their life stories that are compelling rather than the details of what they do at work. Delve in and discover.
Working Lives: Wannabe Architect Inspired to Stay in Nursing by a Grateful Patient
Even as at the time when I was in School of Nursing, I still had not decided that I was going to stick to nursing. I decided to study nursing out of frustration of not gaining admission to study architecture. I had always loved to become an architect. There was this senior who was always punishing us while I was at Federal Government College Ikirun by asking us to sweep his class. Whenever we went to this senior class to sweep, I was always fascinated by the sketches on the blackboard from the technical drawing class. That really inspired me to want to become an architect.
Where are you from?
I am from Ile-Ife in Osun State. And it is generally believed that Ile-Ife is the traditional home for all the Yoruba. And that was where I grew up.
Which school did you attend and when did you graduate?
I attended many schools. I started from Faith Standard Nursery and Primary School in early 1997. But because of the Ife-Modakeke crisis, I left Ife to join my father in Lagos. I then enrolled in Tunde Nursery and Primary school in Ogba, Ikeja, also in 1997. After finishing, I proceeded to Federal Government College Ikirun in 2002. I had my junior secondary schooling there, but when my parents started noticing changes in my behaviour, I had to be withdrawn and sent to the School of Science in Ile-Ife. My mom was working as a teacher in Ile-Ife and she believed she would be able to see and monitor me properly. After I graduated from the School of Science, I proceeded to the School of Nursing, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife where I spent 3 years. And because I was hungry for more education, I went to the Obafemi Awolowo University, Department of Nursing Science where I spent another 5 years to get a BSc Degree in Nursing. While I was doing my BSc Nursing, I was also going to the School of Perioperative Nursing, Obafemi Awolowo University, Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC) to do a specialty course in preoperative nursing, that is, theatre management. So that gave me my third certificate in the nursing profession. And apart from that I have taken some basic courses online and I am certified in some other disciplines. For example, I am now also an endoscopic urologist which is basically assisting with using cameras to investigate problems in the kidney, bladder etc.
When did you decide to study nursing?
It took time for me to decide that it was going to be nursing for me. Even as at the time when I was in School of Nursing, I still hadnot decided that I was going to stick to nursing. I decided to study nursing out of frustration of not gaining admission to study architecture. I had always loved to become an architect. There was this senior that was always punishing us while I was at Federal Government College Ikirun by asking us to sweep his class. Whenever we went to this senior class to sweep, I was always fascinated by the sketches on the blackboard from the technical drawing class. Then, I also had a teacher who was always giving us the pep talk about how he had used the knowledge of architectural drawing to sponsor himself through school. That really inspired me to want to become an architect. But I didn’t have the JAMB scores to get admission to study architecture at the great Obafemi Awolowo University. My cousin got me the form to study nursing. I was very reluctant and due to this I didn’t do very well in the examination. But I was able to get into the School of Nursing because my cousin knew some people. On this incredibly good day while I was in school of nursing, I was assigned to this young lady at the orthopaedic ward. She had an accident and had both hands crushed. I started cleaning her up and she was praying for me as I was cleaning her. That was the moment that I decided I really wanted to become a nurse and take care of people. I henceforth focused squarely on becoming a nurse.
When did you get to Lagos?
I can practically say I was born in Lagos because my birth certificate reads Lagos. I have told you about my movement earlier from Osun state to Lagos. The year I was born was when my dad got a job at Guinness Nigeria Plc. And my mom was a career woman; she was not really ready to leave her job at Ile Ife to come down to Lagos. But she tried and got a job in a school in Agege. But they were owing her salaries for months. She had to go back to Osun State with her last two children, my younger brother and me. My dad used to visit the family almost every weekend. So, I lived both in Ife and Lagos. I came back to Lagos after finishing at the School of Nursing in 2010. I settled in Lagos fully and finally in 2015.
Tell me about your family.
I have a family of my own now, I have a beautiful wife. Although we do not have a kid yet, we are looking forward to that. My wife is a computer scientist, but she has chosen a career in fashion designing. And for the extended family, I come from a family of 7, I am the fourth child. My dad worked in Guinness like I said earlier, and my mom is a teacher. All of us (my siblings) are happily married now, and we are all doing fine.
Where do you live/ how much is the rent?
I live in Meiran around Abule-Egba area. I like the place because it is a serene environment. I live in a fenced compound that is mostly quiet and there’s water. These are the things I cherish about my accommodation. I do not have to stay on the Island to get all these. I pay N200,000:00 as rent. It is a 2-bedroom flat.
Where do you work?
I presently work at the Federal Medical Centre, Ebutte Metta, Lagos State.
How many hours do you work for?
We have been trying to schedule this interview for an exceedingly long time, that is to tell you how busy I always am. I do not have so much time for myself. I work for like 10 hours if I am not on call but when I am on call, I have to be available 24 hours. As a nurse, you are often called to assist in surgeries in other places. I am often called. This makes me a very busy person. I work almost every day.
What is your best day like on the job?
I have so many best days at work and I also have so many bad days at work. That is the nature of this job, your best day maybe also be your saddest. You may be really happy that a really difficult surgery went very well this minute but the next minute something goes the way you don’t expect and there’s sad news. Yet, I had a really good day 5 years ago. We brought back to life a baby that I thought would never survive. The baby was brought in almost dead. Already white. I could not believe the baby could survive. It was in the midnight when the parents were running up and down looking for blood. I performed CPR, gave oxygen, and did other medical procedures and the baby came back to life. I couldn’t believe it. Even the parents thought the boy was going to die. I was so happy on that day. The father said he was going to name the child after me. The boy should be about 4 years now.
For how long have you been practicing as a nurse?
I have been practicing as a qualified nurse for more than 10 years now.
Have you had any shocking encounter with a patient before?
Yes, I have. But I do not think it is something I would like to discuss.
How much are you paid?
There is a difference between how much am I being paid and how much I am making as a nurse. Well, for my primary institution I earn N150,000:00 monthly.
How much do you spend in a day?
I do not live a routine life so I cannot really say the amount of money I spend in a day. Like today for example, I have not spent a dime. And yesterday I think I spent close to N15,000:00. I spend as much as I need to spend every day. If you went through my bank statement, you would find that I spend about N300,000 in a month. So that’s about N10,000 daily.
What other things do you spend money on?
I spend on basic things and I am the type that likes recreation a lot. So, after work whenever I am not on call I always like to chill out and take a couple of drinks. And apart from that I also spend money on giving to the needy.
Do you have savings and how much do you save in a month?
Well, I will tell you categorically that I do not believe in savings and I do not have savings. But what I do is I invest in the future. Why do I say I do not have savings? I cannot have a million naira somewhere doing nothing and I will be suffering for something I need to spend N10,000:00 on. I do not believe in such discipline of keeping some money somewhere and suffering. It just does not sit right with me. So, investment is my own way of saving. And by the way, I do not even earn so much that allows me to save. I cannot even satisfy my basic needs with my salary not to talk of now saving from the money. I do different businesses. I invest in different things. Whatsoever money comes I invest or I spend. I do not keep my money in bank for no use. I invest in real estate and I also recently just invested in a multilevel marketing company
Do you have plans to venture into something else apart from your nursing career?
You know I told you earlier that I invest my money so that is what I basically do. I am presently engaged with a multilevel marketing company; I am a distributor of Super Life Stem Cell Drug which is a tested a trusted medication. So, this is one of my investments.