On May 12, the world celebrated International Nurses Day under the theme, ‘Our Nurses. Our Future’.
Today, we focused on Nurse Cleopatra Barkoye, a nurse for 33 years, and her career in the nursing profession.
“I started caring for the elderly in the church, changing their diapers and much more,” Barkoye explained of her introduction to nursing responsibilities. “Seeing the smiles on their faces brought me great joy. If I could not be a nurse, I would be a teacher.”
Barkoye described her passion for nursing as being accentuated by love. “I love to see the smiles on the faces of patients, relatives of those patients. I really love what I do, and if I had it to do over again, I would do it again,” she said proudly.
Barkoye reflected on the first day she was on the job. As she described it, she could not eat after seeing patients all day. Even though she was tired, she ate after she was finished working.
Nurse Barkoye also shared some of her bitter-sweet moments during her career as a nurse with the Pepperpot Magazine.
“I remember going to Mabaruma in Region One and the vessel that we were travelling in broke down, and we never got to our destination at the time we were expected to reach there. We reached there some days after,” she recalled. “But the joyous moment came when the residents travelled out on the water to meet us and I was happy that we were able to deal with them and we attend to them. I remember that I had to perform emergency eye surgery, but I was happy to do it.”
Nurse Barkoye also shared sentiments about the things she would miss when she is not around and had to work.
“I would miss my church family, particularly if I have to work on weekends or if there is a concert at the church or so, since at that time, I worked from Monday to Friday at the medical clinic. But whenever I would go on medical outreach to any region of the country, I would receive great support from my family,” Nurse Barkoye told Pepperpot.
Barkoye could not help but reiterate the importance of family. According to her, if you are going to remain in this profession, you need lots of family support if you are a family person.
She recalled an experience with her daughter receiving her nursery education in Mabaruma while her husband took care of her son. She also told us that she helped her children in dealing with their assignments, homework, etc.
Since English was her strong area her husband dealt with the Mathematical side of things.
Nurse Barkoye explained that in the profession of nursing, communication with family is key.
“In this profession, you learn as you grow. When I realised that I did not have the right medical care, I looked at where I came from. Those were frustrating moments for me as a nurse working on the medical ward,” she shared.
Nursing certainly is Barkoye’s passion and to young nurses, she shared simple but sage advice for young nurses. “If you do not have a kind heart, come out,” she said, as the profession is one that calls for patience and care.