The Nurse Who Invariably Catches Her Patients’ Infections

Mrs. Oluwayemisi Elizabeth Olagunju (nee Ajayi) RN, BNSC, PhD FWACN

It was the tradition at the school Oluwayemisi Ajayi attended, Fakunle Comprehensive High School, Osogbo, that most science students aspired to go on to study medicine.

‘It was the same for me – I wanted to be a medical doctor,’ Oluwayemisi says.

As fate would have it, she studied Nursing at the School of Nursing Osogbo and eventually capped it with a doctorate in Nursing!

‘Many times I became seriously ill before my patient was discharged, sometimes shortly after they had recovered.’

Education

While most parents had to leave crying children at school on their first day, it was Oluwayemisi’s parents who were left anxious.

‘I went with my parents to drop off my 3-year-old elder brother on his first day at school and found myself stuck!’

The 2-year-old simply refused to go back home with her parents. She was enrolled same day and was in the same class as her brother, Bode. They finished primary school together in 1988.

‘Although I missed school quite a lot, I never had cause to repeat any class,’ Oluwayemisi recalls, ‘I always did well at exam time, though I might appear in school few days before the end of term.

On hospital admission or  while at home, reading became a kind of therapy – and a passion – for Oluwayemisi, which transmuted into academic achievement.

There were concerns, when she finished secondary school, about her going away to university to study. Her parents persuaded her to attend a Nursing School closer home than a University campus. Her parents were concerned that she who fell ill suddenly and unexpectedly should not go so far away as Ile-ife or Ibadan to be on her own.

Nursing Education, Nursing Practice

Rest is proverbially said to be sweet after labour – not so for a Nursing student who enters into nursing practice. When the practising nurse happens to have sickle cell anaemia, the situation can be deadly.

Training to be a nurse is rated as one of the most stressful of academic disciplines. Oluwayemisi waded through it all, notwithstanding many episodes of sickle cell anaemia crises and it’s attendant absence from school.

Rest is proverbially said to be sweet after labour – not so for a Nursing student who enters into nursing practice. When the practising nurse happens to have sickle cell anaemia, the situation can be deadly.

Oluwayemisi found herself coming down with her patients’ infectious and illnesses.

‘Many times I became seriously ill before my patient was discharged, sometimes shortly after they had recovered.’

Fed up of bedside nursing, fed up of falling ill alongside her patients, fed up of lifting up patients, some several times her weight, Oluwayemisi went in to study for a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife.

Academic Nursing

Dr. (Mrs.) Yemisi Olagunju (second from left) with her students on a visit to P & G, Ibadan

She eventually bagged a PhD in Nursing at the same university in 2018. Mother of two – a girl and a boy, and a lecturer in the Department of Nursing Science, Obafemi Awolowo University. Dr. Oluwayemisi Elizabeth now teaches future nurses and future teachers of nurses.

‘It is a huge privilege to be involved in training tomorrow’s nurses today …’

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