– How Kim Angus-Denis fulfilled her dream of becoming a nurse
By Svetlana Marshall
Kim Angus-Dennis was just six years old when her mother had fallen into a state of depression.
“She would just sit there in a corner and not say anything. You would expect that a mother would speak to her children, relate to them, laugh with them or something, but she did nothing.”
It was a condition that Kim did not understand but one which had changed her life and the lives of her brothers and sisters in so many ways.
The second of six children, Kim was forced to leave school while in fourth form. At the time, she was a promising 15-year-old student at the Wismar Christianburg Multilateral School in Linden where she had lived after migrating from Alexander Village as a child.
Approximately two years after leaving school, Kim became pregnant and gave birth to her first child at the age of 18 in 1983.
“My daughter’s father had made many promises, and you know when you are young and in love you believe everything? I was like that. I believed him when he said he would come back, but two years after he left for the States, we never heard back from him.”
By then, Kim’s older sister had left home, and her father soon followed.
“I think it became very challenging for my father to look after us. Maybe he felt pressured, or maybe he could not deal with it all together, so he went to Kwakwani in 1985 and left us behind.”
After two long years of hardship, Kim in 1987, wrote her father inquiring about a possible job opening at Bauxite Company where he was working in Region 10. At the time, the company was hiring employees’ children, and so in May 1987 she was a successful candidate after writing the Guyana Mining Enterprise Limited (GUYMINE) entrance exam.
At a result, on July 9, 1987 Kim began working in the company’s Electrical Department in Kwakwani as an electrical helper – a position she held for five years.
Though thankful for the opening, Kim felt the need to fulfill her calling.
“When my mother got sick, I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand what depression was, I didn’t know what mental illness was, and so from an early age I said to myself I must become a nurse, so I can understand these illnesses and be in a better position to help my mother. So after five years I opted to be a nurse.”
Determined to fulfill her calling, Kim in 1991 wrote the Nurses Recruitment Examination and was successful. With a scholarship from the then bauxite company, which at the time had been renamed Berbice Mining Enterprise (BERMINE), the single mother of one commenced studies at the Charles Rosa School of Nursing in Linden in 1992 in her pursuit to become a Professional Nurse commonly known as a Registered Nurse (RN).
But her pursuit was not without challenges. By 1994, she became pregnant with her second child and in January 1995 – nine months before her final examination, Kim was removed from the school.
“They said I broke the principles of the school.” Upon returning to home, she worked as a Nurse Aid at the Kwakwani Hospital.
In 1998, she resumed her studies but this time at the Georgetown School of Nursing. She graduated in 2002. She later graduated from the Charles Rosa School of Nursing in 2007 after completing the one-year Midwifery Programme.
Her not having any Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects did not prevent her from moving onto the next level.
In November 2011, she graduated from the University of Guyana with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
“I passed with Credit. Had it not been for the grace of God, it would not have been possible,” Kim posited.
Kim has since returned to Kwakwani Public Hospital where she continues to do her job selflessly.
It was her positive outlook on life, and love for her profession for which she diligently executes, that led her being presented with the prestigious Gloria Noel Award by the Guyana Nurses Association (GNA) last August.