‘We only treat… it’s God who heals’

Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2024/04/we-only-treat-its-god-who-heals/


Victoria Nantambi
Victoria Nantambi

By Irene Best Nyapendi
The first time Victoria Nantambi had a ward round, she was with a team of three other nurses. Together, they were entrusted with the task of treating an elderly woman who was suffering from a lung infection.

The woman also had an open ulcer. Although this was Nantambi’s first time working in a hospital, she did her best to help the woman. By evening, the patient’s condition had improved. 

At 4 p.m. Nantambi, a final-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Nursing Science at Uganda Christian University (UCU), happily went home. When she returned the following day, she eagerly inquired about the status of her patient. The bed was empty. The patient had died. 

“The death of my patient struck me, but also taught me that we only treat, and it’s God who heals,” she said. “We do our best to save lives, but the outcomes are not ours to determine.”

For such experiences, Nantambi says: “Nursing keeps me on my toes and that’s what I love about it.”

She says in order for students to garner as much experience as possible, they are always on the move, visiting different hospitals to get a feel of the operations there. 

When it comes time for clinical rotations, they go to the hospital with objectives to achieve while applying the theory they learned in class. While there, they are supervised and have responsibilities dictated by their course unit and objectives.

Nantambi’s recent clinical practice at Mukono General Hospital was on safe motherhood and maternal health. She was tasked with assisting mothers in the labor suite, antenatal and postnatal wards.

However, she feared helping HIV-positive mothers to deliver because of the risk of infection.

On one of her days at Mukono General Hospital, they received an emergency. She quickly prepared the necessary equipment to assist the mother in delivering. During the process, the mother gushed out a lot of amniotic fluid, but Nantambi continued with the delivery process, albeit cautiously. It was after the delivery, that she checked the mother’s antenatal card and discovered that she was HIV-positive. 

“I was worried about contracting HIV due to her excessive discharge,” Nantambi said. “However, I tested negative and the experience helped me know more about HIV.” 

HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is passed on through blood, semen, vaginal fluid, anal mucus and breast milk and only outside the body if the uninfected person has broken skin.  At that, such person-to-person transmission is rare. 

For the days she works in the labor suite, Nantambi starts by cleaning the area, then assesses the condition of the women in labor, as well as assisting during delivery.

“Working in the labor suite has taught me that patients’ lives depend on the nurses. We have to be fully alert and attentive,” Nantambi said.

After spending the day attending to patients’ needs, scrutinizing and administering medications, conferring with senior nurses, she finally gets to report to the nurse in charge before she retires for the day. 

One of the most rewarding experiences for her is witnessing the recovery of her patients, and subsequently receiving expressions of gratitude from them. Nursing involves touching lives. It gives Nantambi immense joy when her patients call to thank her for treating them. 


Erick Rwamurenzi
Erick Rwamurenzi

Erick Rwamurenzi
When Rwamurenzi, a UCU student of Bachelor of Nursing Science, was 17, he got an injury while playing football. He said at the hospital, the nurse seemed too afraid to work on him that he wondered if she treated all patients the same way. This experience ignited a passion in him to care for patients.

“I prayed to God to help me become the person that will help people,” he says. 

Rwamurenzi and his colleague nursing students reach the hospital by 8 a.m. and start their day with ward rounds and drug administration, and, later, post-conference discussions to share experiences and discuss what they saw in the wards. 

During one of his days in the hospital, he attended to a 35-year-old woman who had been pregnant nine times, but had only given birth to five babies at full term. The rest were miscarriages. The day before, she had undergone a cesarean section, but due to strong uterine contractions, she experienced a severe uterine rupture that resulted in the loss of her uterus. Unfortunately, she was also HIV-positive, epileptic, and had lost her husband only a month before. 

Despite her condition, Rwamurenzi did his best to save both the mother and the baby. He administered fluids, antibiotics, and offered psychological support. He monitored them and was happy to see them improve and be discharged from the hospital.

The most satisfying part of being a nursing student, according to the 27-year-old, is when he helps patients heal and they call to say thank you. The other part is the amount of assistance they get from the nursing administration that helps them find their footing in the hospital operations.

Rwamurenzi narrates that one of the challenges he has faced as a nursing student is when some senior health professionals on the wards do not want to engage with them in the name of being busy. However, he notes that clinical practices are vital as they provide nursing skills and enable them to familiarize with the hospital environment. 


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The post ‘We only treat… it’s God who heals’ appeared first on Uganda Christian University Partners.

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