Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor
ASPIRING nurses have a hard act to follow with those who came before them setting the bar of professional conduct high.
Former Principal Nursing Officer at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital, Mrs Lucia Godzongere who retired this month after 46 years, is one such individual.
For nearly five decades, Mrs Godzongere toiled within the walls of Sally Mugabe Central Hospital nursing many back to health, a profession that has given her fulfillment for the past 46 years.
“I joined nurse training here at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital now known as Harare Central Hospital on the 6th of January 1976. During our time, it was either you were a teacher, or you were a nurse, so I picked nursing. I had admired one nurse in our area and I thought I should join her, but once I joined I then realised this is where my calling was,” she said.
It has been a worthwhile experience filled with success after acquiring certificates in midwifery, nursing administration, reproductive health, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and a Master’s Degree in Nursing majoring in Maternal and Child Health.
Despite the vast experience and academic prowess, the maternity wing was her favourite ward.
“I enjoyed maternity because you are taking care of a well patient who has just come to deliver and when they go home with their baby; it’s all joy. I even enjoyed nursing the pre-term babies in the neonatal unit, those ones gave me a lot of joy. One thing with a small baby – they never pretend, what you see is what is happening,” she added.
There were sad moments too – with the idea of losing a patient a heart-wrenching ordeal even for the most senior nurses.
“The most depressing moments were to break death messages. I had worked for a long time in maternity where you hardly get death, but when it came to medical wards I was taken by shock. You can deliver sad news to several people in a single day. That was very depressing. At one moment you find yourself crying before the relatives because sometimes the death is so sudden you would think you were winning and suddenly you lose the patient. When you lose your patient, it’s like you have lost a relative, it’s very depressing. I, for one, think several times I even failed to deliver the news and would end up asking colleagues to do it because you would have felt attached to the patient and sometimes you would go for days before recovering,” explained Mrs Godzongere.
For the old school, nursing is regarded as a calling, but that looks like a stretch too far for new recruits.
“The nurses that we have trained now and those we have nurtured, some of them are good you can actually see that nursing is a calling, but others it was just looking for money and nothing else. They are difficult to manage and we tend to call them ‘Ama 2000’ because of the character that you see not just in nursing, but in all fields,” she noted.
As she hangs her blue uniform, the highest rank for any nurse, most likely forever, the 65-year-old retiree has no regrets and as an avid Methodist Church of Zimbabwe follower, it is all thanks to the Almighty.