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My first practice as a future nurse in DRC

Eunice Mpinguyabo

My name is Eunice Mpinguyabo and I’m in my first year of nursing school at ISSI, DRC. 

The truth is that I never imagined that studying to be a nurse would be so complicated. The idea I had of a nurse and what I’m going through at ISSI are very different. I thought that I was going to learn how to inject and how to apply treatments, for example, but I never thought I was going to learn how to think! Since it is difficult to explain, I’d like to share what we do at ISSI: during our lessons, we work with different clinical situations that help us to not just go through the technique, but to see the person as a whole and to be there for them in health or illness. It is through the clinical situation that we study everything: anatomy, physiology… but we do not separate it from the person. 

Then we have our practices at the Health Center or the hospital and then, what you have learned in school becomes a reality! Although you have to adapt what you have learned to the person you have in front of you.

Eunice's colleagues weigh a baby in their practical training. 

One of the exercises that helps the most is the description of a clinical situation, which is about describing and analyzing one of the situations that you have gone through during your practices. I have realized that when you stop to think, it’s easier to see what has gone well and what you can improve and that helps a lot. 

For instance, during my first practices at pre-natal consultations the senior nurse asked me to help a mum. I assisted the mum, checked her blood pressure, temperature and wrote everything on her follow-up card… after the medical check-up, we decided on an anti-tetanus vaccine. It wasn’t the first time that I had given a vaccine but this time, the mum started to suffer pain in her arm. At the very beginning I was afraid and started to ask myself what went wrong and why she was in such pain. The senior nurse that was with me the whole time asked me to try to calm the mum. I didn’t know what to do or if her reaction was normal. I tried to comfort her and after a while, the pain went away. 

Although this seems unimportant, thanks to this situation I have asked myself so many questions about how and why I do what I do. I have checked my notes and spoken with my partner nurse to see how to improve… Finally, I’d say that making mistakes has its advantages, as long as there’s someone who can guide you and you can learn from it. It means that better assistance can be given to the patient - something that in my opinion is totally worth it. 

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