College Years 2

The rest of the time at Lusaka school of nursing was challenging but interesting. It was not all work and no play. We had time to socialise and those who had an interest in doctors made friends with student doctors from the Ridgeway Campus, a branch of the university of Zambia, across the road.
Some of us took seriously the advice given to us by our tutors at the beginning of our course saying, “don’t let the bright lights of Lusaka deceive you so that you fall for these Doctors. You are not the only beautiful girls at this school. These doctors do that with every group that comes here, so don’t fall for their lies.”
And they were right. One Doctor would invite six students to his office at different times without them knowing. One Senior Doctor, the head of a department, who used to teach us gynaecology made a mistake of trying me and some of my friends. We made a laugh of him. He told me that he liked me and that I should go and see him in his office. I asked him why I should not go to see him at his home.
“I’m a very busy man and I spend most of my time at the office,” he said.
Liar! He was a married man. He said the same thing to four of my colleagues. When I found this out, I spoke to the other girls. We decided to go and see him at his office, the five of us at the same time and see what he could do with all of us. I went in first and told the others that they should come in after a few minutes without knocking. He was so excited to see me and wasted no time and he started saying how much he ‘liked’ me. Before he could make any move, the other girls came in, among them, my two naughty friends, Ennie and Cathy, and one of them had a camera. She immediately took a picture of us and told him it will be sent to his wife, who happened to be a nurse at the same hospital. The Doctor looked at us in dumb puzzlement as all the girls told him they were there for him because he invited them and they thought that he really liked them. The man looked stupid and all he could say was, ‘you girls tricked me, please, don’t send that picture to my wife. I’m sorry,’ and that was the last time we saw him. We never saw him during gynaecology lessons. He started sending his juniors to stand in for him because “he had something urgent to attend to.”
We had a good laugh.
We formed a dance club and we became known as the dancing girls. What kind of dance was it? Surely, you don’t want to know! Ok, it was a bit of rumba dance and ballroom dancing and of course, we recruited some men, but just for that purpose, no more no less! If we were not studying, we were dancing. And of course, I can still dance!

The three years saw us in all the departments where each group spent six to eight weeks. We spent the time between classes and clinical placements. We did orthopaedic nursing, medical nursing, surgical nursing, psychiatric nursing, Theatre nursing and intensive care nursing which saw us on a placement in the adult intensive care unit, obstetrics and gynaecology nursing where each of us had an assignment to do at least one delivery under supervision, and I didn’t like it, paediatric nursing and community nursing.
For some reason, while in the obstetric department, the thought about death did haunt me because each time I observed a child coming into this world, I kept thinking of the lives that were exiting this world in the medical department. The question I kept asking myself was, ‘what is the purpose of this new born. Is it just to come and die after some years.’ I wished every new born could be born with an operation manual to tell them exactly how to function and be operated. Then years would not be wasted on trivial things. But instead, the only thing that followed was the after birth, the placenta! Teach us o Lord to number our days so that we may be wise in all our endeavours. Don’t let life simply be your duration of existence, but a purposeful one.
This sent me on a search for the meaning of my life and what my purpose in this world is. Somehow, along the way, I lost focus because I got used to seeing people die.
I enjoyed community nursing most because it involved going out side the hospital to health centres which was less depressing. Each one of us had to do a case study about a baby and their immunisation and growth pattern. It involved following the family to their home to assess the baby’s growing environment. Mothers were to provide information on how they fed their babies and how they generally cared for their baby. I enjoyed the time I spent talking to the mother of my chosen client, giving health education and how to best take care of the baby, as if I knew well. That just gave me so much joy. I decided then that when I finished my training, I would take up community nursing. That also went down the drain.
My case study was quite detailed and no wonder I received the award of ‘Best Community Nurse’ on our graduation day. I was given a floating trophy which I had to keep for a year and return it to the school for the next nominated person to have. It had a small token inside, but the joy and pride was just in having the trophy.

Three months before my final exam, at the end of the third year, I got married to a handsome young man who I had met while in my second year at Lusaka School of Nursing. Why didn’t he wait for me to finish my training? The man could not wait. He thought I was the most beautiful girl he had ever met; long beautiful face with nice white teeth, tall with a lovely curvy body, long arms, gold coloured hair and soft spoken voice. He was not prepared to leave that beauty for another man as he was scheduled to leave for Norway on the 7th of August of 1990, to go and study for his Masters degree in environmental science. We got married on the 4th of August, 1990. What a short lived honeymoon because the groom left me to prepare for my final exam while missing him.
Hey, wait a minute, what happened to Jack? I can hear you ask. Never mind, things always change. I guess the bright lights dazzled me and I started seeing differently. I broke off our engagement because I didn’t feel the same way for him. And I had to go with my heart and not feel obligated to do what I didn’t want. I believe Jack fulfilled his purpose in my life. God bless him.

The exam time came and I felt so ready for it. We revised the theory and practiced all the procedures and I was ready for whatever I would be given. I had done management on my last placement and that summed up my training. At this time, I had stopped fearing dead bodies and was ready to be a qualified nurse, joining the working world. I passed my nursing exam. I was finally a qualified nurse!

Dancing party

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