Jacqueline Tindi is at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. She leads the critical care unit at the new Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital that is serving the growing population of Nairobi and central Kenya. In response to the ongoing increase in coronavirus cases in Kenya, she is tirelessly working to ensure that her team is fully prepared and ready to handle any cases brought to the hospital.
In 2012, she relocated to Malawi to join her husband, who was relocated for work. She could not stay idle and volunteered at a local hospital. Tindi knew she would call Malawi home for a while, so opted to apply for vacant full-time positions at the hospital. However, she did not qualify as she needed a Bachelor’s degree. After two years, she decided to move back home.
“I felt so bad that I did not qualify for any position despite having done basic nursing and midwifery courses. So in 2014, I moved back home and applied to join the BSc Nursing programme at AKU,” she said. “I chose AKU as I was told they had very good autonomy while working. If you have autonomy, you’re able to make decisions of what you want about yourself, and progress rather than stagnate.”
The Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery (AKU-SONAM), East Africa has been in existence since 2002 and currently runs three academic programmes. Known as one of the region’s most reputable nursing training institutions, it has graduated over 2,500 nurses and midwives in East Africa.
“Despite being one of the oldest in my class, I received lots of support from the University management and faculty. The financial and emotional support also helped me balance between motherhood and my studies.”
After graduation, Tindi immediately applied for a postgraduate degree in critical care from Cardiff University, UK. She credits the blended learning at AKU for helping her smoothly transition to online learning and research while pursuing her Master’s degree.
“The AKU-SONAM programme has leadership and management as a module through theory and clinical practice,” Tindi said. “You also get to interact with managers at community health facilities and larger hospitals. These skills definitely help you handle leadership positions in future, and I believe this is why I was hired to lead the Intensive Care Unit at the new Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital.”
Her advice to younger nurses?
“See yourself as a future role model and mentor. Gain the knowledge and skills to promote quality nursing services. When we promote quality health services, we will reduce mortalities. You may have hands-on expertise as a nurse, but if you don’t have the knowledge, then you will not be able to manage the patient at a critical moment. You need evidence-based care to treat a patient, and you can only gain this by going to school.”
This story was adapted from an article published on the AKU website.