A day in the life of a nurse

Winnie Nalule is a nurse at Vision Medical Centre in Bwaise, a Kampala suburb where she is in charge of a wide range of health care situations.

She says she has no typical day for a nurse with every single shift having the potential to be momentous, exhilarating, exhausting, energizing, or all of the above.

“I work for four days in a week and the rest of the days I am off duty. Other days I work the day shift and on others at night,” Nalule says.

“On my day shift, I reach work at around 8am and leave at 7pm when the night shift kicks off.”

She explains that because the days are always busy, the shifts have more than two medical personnel that she works along with.

“The day begins with checking all patients to record their current status and also see if they require any immediate attention. I also have to check whether patients have already taken their medication and if not, I help them out.”

She says the time between morning and lunch is the busiest since many patients are brought in to the facility located in Bwaise which has a large population but also has a part of it which is a slum.

Nalule says lunch time comes as a relief for her as she takes time off her busy schedule to have something to eat but also take a rest.

She is however quick to say, this is not the case every time.

“It is not a guarantee that you will enjoy your lunch. Sometimes lunch will be whatever you are able to bite in between the various tasks. Mealtimes are many times cut short when there are emergencies. For example, you might be having a meal and a critically ill patient or an accident victim is brought in an you have to attend to them. You therefore have to cut short the meal to attend to them.”

Nalule however says such incidents are rare.

She says afternoons after always not busy, save for a few occasions, adding that during this time, she administers medicine to patients but also release others who have recuperated.

This is also time for Nalule to prepare to leave duty but before leaving, she has to make sure what she has done during the day is properly documented, double check patients and information that will be needed by those coming for the night shift.

“By 7pm, everything is set and I brief and hand over to those coming up for the night shift as I retire home.”

The night shift

Nalule says whereas the night shift is not as busy as it is with the day shift, it is also tiresome.

“We are always deployed two nurses on the night shift and we are in charge of the entire facility.”

She adds that working at night entails she checks and monitor patients to see if anything requires their immediate attention and those who need medication.

“Since the night shift is not so busy, I take time off to catch up with patients. I also use this time to answer any questions and concerns from these patients but also educate them and their caretakers about their condition, symptoms and treatment options.”

Nalule says by 7am, she is double checking information and everything that will be crucial for the colleagues working during the day.

“At 8am, I sign out to go home and rest and prepare for the next night.”

“Whereas my work is sometimes hectic, I enjoy it. I have no regrets for the last two years I have been in practice. Everything is according to plan,” Nalule adds.

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