Mrs Juliana Soyebi retired as a senior matron at General Hospital, Osogbo and said she wants to use the rest of her life to serve God and humanity. She speaks with SEGUN ADEBAYO about her career and why government must save the health sector.
You retired as a senior matron, could you tell us how your nursing career started and what you enjoyed most about it?
I started my nursing career in 1964 in Tunga Magaji General Hospital, because in those days you will be working as you are studying. Later, I wrote an exam to study psychotics nursing in 1971 at Adeoyo hospital in Agbadagbudu Ibadan, Oyo State. I started working in the Adeoyo Psychotic Hospital while I was studying and I spent three years there. I later proceeded to study midwifery where I had the opportunity to work at the same time. I actually worked with Adeoyo psychotic hospital till the creation of Osun State out of Oyo State and I was transferred to Osun State. I retired as senior a matron at Osogbo General Hospital.
Why did you choose nursing as a profession?
I chose nursing as a profession because I like to care for people and the profession provided me an opportunity to travel to the UK to work there as a nurse in 2006 but I let go of the opportunity because of my husband’s illness. My travel agent informed me that the process is complete and I should set for travel abroad but on the day I was to travel, my husband suffered stroke. My husband advised me to go to the UK and come back to take him later but I insisted that I would stay back. My husband died on June 26, 2006 two months after the incident. I tried all I could to save him but God loves him more.
What were memorable moments you had on your job?
I didn’t have many challenges in nursing because I found joy and happiness doing it.
The challenging experience I can remember vividly in the midwifery hospital is that of a lady who would have died of superstition. This lady put on a black ring with a belief that the ring would prevent her from having miscarriages that she usually had before. However, she didn’t tell us about the ring as she had been in labour for a long time but the ring was preventing her from delivering the child despite my efforts. But as an experienced nurse, I started querying her after we had prayed for some hours before she confessed about the magic ring on her finger and its usefulness. I needed to call her mother to the labour room to come and remove the ring from her and I took the delivery successfully immediately. Imagine what could have happened if we did not discover the magic ring. She could have died with the baby after so much effort to have her deliver safely, if I was not an experienced nurse the story would have been different.
What’s the happiest day of your life?
The happiest day of my life is being able to see myself live up to 80 years because I didn’t know I could live to see today. God is the one who saved me because I would have died in August. My blood sugar level dropped to 31 per cent which is abnormal and I was unconscious as a result of that, it could have taken my life but God brought me back to life, I am happy.
As a health official, what’s the solution to health officials leaving the country?
Governments need to increase the salary and emoluments of health officials to retain them just like the way foreign countries are doing. If the government cares for its health workers, it would provide good health facilities. The doctors wouldn’t need to go abroad and Nigerians also wouldn’t need to go abroad to receive treatment because Nigerian health workers are well trained to give excellent health care. But the government has failed to provide good health facilities. The Nigerian government doesn’t value our experienced health workers because of their selfish interest and we keep losing experienced health workers to foreign countries every day, yet they seem not concerned about the damage it might cause the next generation.
How did you meet your husband?
I met my husband when I moved to Offa after I completed my general nursing course in the Northern part of Nigeria. My husband and I started our courtship in 1970. We got married in Ilorin registry after my three years program in psychiatric hospital and I had my first child (late Mr Oluwatoyin) before I proceeded to midwifery nursing school in Ibadan.
How was life with your husband back in those days?
My husband was a staff of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) working in Offa but he influenced his transfer to Ibadan (NRC) station because of me so that we could live together. However, he was later transferred to NRC station in Àgbàdo while I was working in psychiatric hospital in Ibadan but that didn’t cause any issue between us because he usually comes to check on me and I do go to Agbado to check on him when I am off duty too.
What can you say about poor parenting in the society?
Poor parenting usually affects children because if parents are not able to take adequate care of their children, the children become wayward and take to a life of drugs and other anti-social vices that could cut down their lives life.
Tell us about your spiritual life?
I love Jesus because if not for his love to me, I would have died. I moved closer to God when my first born died. I have only God as my helper and he is helping me. I usually fast and pray whenever I face any challenges but that was when I had strength. I don’t have strength to fast anymore but I can pray and God will answer me. Through prayers you will gain a lot of things, because when God sees that you are loyal and have no helper, he would be merciful to you
Tell us about your childhood?
I started my childhood in Offa where I started school. I went to Ijagbo Baptist Grammar School, Offa. After my common entrance, I got admission into Methodist Girls High School, Ifaki-Ekiti where I spent four years and did a nursing examination which I passed. I went straight to school of nursing and I finished my general nursing in 1969 at Tunga Magaji General Hospital, now in Niger State.
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