By Vanessa Braithwaite-Moore
As nurses around the world celebrate Nurse’ Week, Linden Nurse Ronke Griffith, believes that the best decision she made, was to join the nursing profession. Fourteen years later, she still feels a sense of satisfaction knowing that she is a part of a noble profession, helping to save lives and to improve the standard of living of persons. Griffith joined the nursing profession in 2008 as a Registered Nursing Student of the Charles Rosa School of Nursing. It was the start of an adventurous exploration of the anatomy of the human body for Griffith and this drove her to pursue specialization courses, which would position her to serve in an area that allowed for adrenalin rush and critical thinking.
In 2011, Griffith was posted to the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) theatre where she worked directly with surgeons as they conducted surgeries. This was an experience of a lifetime according to Griffith. “It was different, it exposes you more to understanding the anatomy and how illnesses actually affect you….you even get to do your own little experience with sutures, learning the instruments, how to use it and which surgeon should have for what purpose and the surgeon would teach you,” she said. Griffith said being posted to the theatre was more of a fulfilling task than a challenging one. “Bed side nursing was never my thing, because I always liked critical thinking, so it was either theater, emergency or the ICU, to get that adrenalin rush.
In 2012, she started scrubbing (working with surgeons) and this inspired her to pursue a course in anesthesiology at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). That course lasted 2 ½ years. Upon her successful completion, Griffith was posted back to the LHC’s theatre, where she practiced the newly learnt skill to the best of her ability.
What brings her most satisfaction, Griffith said, is seeing patients being relieved of pain and discomfort. “When you can actually make a patient comfortable and relieve some amount of pain from them, for example the CS patients that would be in active labour and that would be feeling a lot of pain, when they come there and you apply spinal anesthesia, the pain is eliminated right there for surgery, so for me, is alleviating pain for patients,” she related.
Reminiscing on one of her most memorable and impacting surgical experiences, Griffith said that it was when a 15-year-old student who was stabbed in her back by her classmate in 2019, was able to survive an eight hour emergency surgery, after multiple organ damages and severe blood loss. “I worked double with that patient and it was a battle to remove the knife because you couldn’t just pull, she had multiple organ damage, but after hours and hours, the surgery was successful and I was happy to be there to play a role in her survival, because the worst thing for me would be to lose a patient on the surgery table.” she said.
In May, Griffith said a request was made by her Chief-Nurse, to serve at the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Liliendaal, because there was a demand for nurses. Without hesitation, Griffith said she signed up for duty and served a very fulfilling stint at the ICU before returning to LHC.
Those couple of weeks, Griffith said, really defined her nursing potential and her love for saving people. It has been a tumultuous journey and one that has tested her mental health.
On her third day, it really hit her of how serious COVID is and how quickly it takes lives. “My third day there, we had five deaths in that day. I have never seen so many deaths in one day since I have joined nursing. As these patients die, I keep feeling disassociated, hurt inside and it is like you are running from one resuscitation, another patient crashing over there so you have to split and before you know it, some body else die…….. All I was dreaming about is COVID and ICU,” Griffith related as her mental and emotional struggle as a COVID-19 nurse.
Griffith said serving people is her calling and she will continue to do so selflessly.
(This story was edited from a previously published story in Kaieteur News, written by the same author)