Rose Nyawira receives her award
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Kenya in March 2020, Rose Nyawira was assigned to work at a designated isolation facility in Murang'a County, central Kenya. Patient numbers were rising and there were few oxygen cylinders.
“One patient would use one oxygen cylinder at a time, yet the COVID cases continued to rise exponentially. It was a difficult time for nurses globally. Many patients needed help amid severe resource constraints," recalls Rose, a first-year nursing student at AKU.
However, this did not deter Rose from looking for a solution. After lots of research online, she advised her supervisor to purchase a multi-functional flow meter - a device that would ensure at least four patients could use one oxygen cylinder at a time.
“I believe this saved many lives," she says.
It is this innovative idea that saw Rose feted as Murang'a County's Nurse Practitioner of the Year under the Beyond Zero Health Awards.
“I am overwhelmed, delighted and grateful to everyone who made this possible. Nursing is challenging and full of experiences where we learn every day. At AKU, I will continue to improve my skills and gain the necessary knowledge that will help me become a better nurse. Resilience is important and at the end of the day, this kind of recognition is part of what makes nursing a rewarding profession."
Rose was also recognised for her contribution to implementing a cervical cancer vaccine initiative among young girls in Kenya. During her nine-year tenure as a nurse in Murang'a County, she has worked in several dispensaries and holds the record for having the highest uptake of newly introduced vaccines across health facilities in the county.
“I realized very early on in life that I have a gift of caring for other people. After interacting with nurses, I knew that this was the profession that would help me exercise my gift. Now, any time I attend to patients and make sure that their needs are met, I am happy and satisfied."
The Beyond Zero Health Awards celebrates nurses working at public health facilities in each of the 47 counties in Kenya. The Nurse Practitioner Award particularly recognizes a nurse's personal and professional attributes.
Gladys Mbuthia, the BSc Nursing coordinator at AKU's School of Nursing and Midwifery says, “We are very proud of Rose for winning this award. The award validates the need for continued education among nurses. In AKU, we believe that nurses can deliver quality care when provided with the right knowledge and skills. This is what the BSc Nursing programme seeks to achieve. We continue to transform nurses from learners to leaders as we prepare them for a global future."