Rukayat Olatayo, 25, is a nurse at Ultracare Hospital and Clinics. She tells TOLUWALOPE KAREEM about her career as a young professional in the medical line
Why did you decide on a career as a nurse?
I really wasn’t interested in nursing at the time I was considering a life ambition but my father advised me to study Nursing because he said I am a very compassionate person and he believed I would make a good nurse. When I commenced my studies at the school of nursing, I fell in love with the profession and realised that I could find expression of my innate qualities by caring for others.
What do you find most rewarding about this job?
That would be the sincere appreciation I get from my patients and joy I derive from seeing them nurtured to recovery. This is indeed priceless as no amount of money or gifts can quantify what I do as a nurse.
What do you regard as your greatest skill as a nurse?
My greatest skill would be my compassionate spirit. I have empathy for people in pain and work to ensure they are properly cared for. Also, I consider my attention to detail and ability to efficiently multitask while working with doctors, patients and their family members as an important skill.
How do you handle the stress of the job?
I prefer to use the word ‘manage’ stress. I do this by ensuring I prioritise my work. I take out time to take a walk when time permits me and do some deep breathing exercises from time to time. During my break, I try to take a few minutes to listen to soothing music to ease my nerves. Above all, I try to stay positive in the face of stressful situations that may arise (and trust me, they do).
What do you consider to be the hardest part of being a nurse?
Seeing my patients die after I have expended a lot in caring for them and hoping for a recovery.
Describe a time you had to deal with a difficult patient and how you handled it.
I had an adult patient who was about 65 years old. He was diagnosed with hypertension but was not compliant with taking his medication.
He woke up at home one morning feeling unwell and did a self-check on his blood pressure level. The result was a high figure. He got agitated and rushed to the emergency department of the hospital. On arrival, he refused to disclose the reading he got while at home.
When I conducted my initial check, his blood pressure was 194/110mmHg. Upon seeing the figure, he was frightened and he transferred his aggressions to me, insisting that I should continue to check his blood pressure until the numbers stabilised. I tried explaining to him to rest for some time before rechecking and to confirm with a manual sphygmomanometre but he was impatient and continued to raise his voice at me.
I remained calm and repeated the blood pressure check consecutively for five times and penned down the figures of each reading. At the end of each reading, I would smile and announce the figures to him .I continued like that till he asked me to stop at the fifth reading.
Later, while in the consulting room he apologised for the manner in which he had spoken to me earlier. He explained that he was agitated due to the high reading he got at home and that made him to panic. He said he realised he was wrong and commended me for remaining calm and wearing a smile while the whole episode lasted.
How do you think nurses could be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic?
In the face of all that is going on around the world with the coronavirus pandemic, the impact on nurses can be both positive and negative. In situations like this, the major concern is on preparedness. Nurses are expected to help individuals and communities prevent and control the spread of diseases. During this global pandemic, nurses are having to deal with increased workload with minimal staffing. Most organisations have been mandated to stay at home, thus leaving the health workers in the forefront of combating the disease.
It is positive in the sense that during and after the crisis, nurses will be acknowledged to have played a major role in providing optimum support to the healthcare systems in different climes in the fight to save lives and help to find a way to eradicate and stop the spread of this deadly virus. Nurses also play a huge role in properly educating others about the outbreak of this virus. They have been recognised as a very valuable resource in fighting this pandemic.
The negative impact it could have on nurses is as it relates to knowledge. Without a good knowledge of the virus and its spread, nurses become more vulnerable to be infected whilst working tirelessly to save lives.
What special measures are you taking to ensure your safety?
I make sure I observe all safety protocols as outlined by the National Centre for Disease Control by washing my hands with soap under running water for a period of 20 seconds. I also use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser as often as needed, wear a face mask when needed, wear examination gloves when attending to patients, stay hydrated by taking enough water daily and eat a balanced diet and fruits rich in vitamin c to keep my immune level high.
Some people believe that nurses are not very relevant. What is your job description?
I had that impression before I studied Nursing. The job of a nurse goes beyond carrying trays and administering medication. A nurse does not only treat patients who are sick and injured, but also offers advice and emotional support to patients and their families. They also must record and handle confidential medical information, such as records of a patient’s progress and treatment, as well as other administrative duties. Nurses collaborate with physicians and multidisciplinary team members to diagnose patients and give advice and much needed follow-up care. Forget that we are being underrated by the system, nurses play a very vital role within the healthcare system.
What does success mean to you?
The profession is increasingly demanding and rapidly changing, succeeding through it all is very important to me. Success to me is being a great leader in my profession. Knowing when to lead and when to follow. It means not giving up and being willing to be persistent and hang in there till all my goals are achieved.
What are the steps you are taking to achieve success in your career?
I believe a good nurse must regularly update her skills and knowledge. I make sure to keep abreast of new developments by acquiring up-to-date clinical teachings and experience through seminars and workshops. I aspire to obtain my PhD in Nursing and work to attain giant strides in this very noble profession.
How do you relax?
I relax by listening to music, watching movies, spending quality time with my loved ones and engaging in self-care activities that help to rejuvenate me and keep me refreshed.
Does your job affect your social life?
Not really. I try as much as I can to maintain a healthy balance between my work and personal life.
What is your educational background?
I had my nursery and primary education at His Grace Academy, Ogun State. For my secondary education, I attended Mayflower School, Ikenne, Ogun State. From there, I proceeded to Moshood Abiola Polytechnic where I obtained an Ordinary National Diploma in Science Laboratory Technology. I went on to the School of Nursing, Lagos University Teaching Hospital. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing Science at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State.