Pull Quote: “To be a good nurse or midwife, you have to focus and love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, you will get nowhere…you will do an anyhow job, and that simply cannot cut it in this profession. If you love what you do, you will do a perfect job.”
By Sharmain Grainger
Today can easily be classified as an especially auspicious day for two reasons – it is Mother’s Day and International Nurses’ Day across the globe and
here in Guyana, we are certainly taking time to celebrate them both.
Mother’s Day or the second Sunday of May is designated the day to honour women across the world who have either given birth to children or simply taken on the role of a mother and helped to raise children and transform them into productive human beings.
The celebration of International Nurses’ Day on the other hand is intended to pay homage to a woman – Florence Nightingale – who is believed to be the pioneer of nursing, on her birth date – May 12.
International Nurses’ Day this year is being observed under the theme: ”Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit.” To help commemorate this day, we at Kaieteur News have chosen to recognise a woman who recently found herself in the news, and as you may have guessed, she is both an outstanding nurse and a mother too. We rather suspect that her qualities as a mother might have helped to enhance her nursing skills, for she has only gotten better over the years and her colleagues can attest to that.
Deservedly taking the spotlight today is none other than Midwife at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC], Ms. Carol Trotz. From my interaction with her, she is a simple and very modest soul, who, up to the time of her interview, didn’t even think she was worthy of such recognition, which only amplified just how suitable a candidate she is for our ‘Special Person’ tribute today.
A nurse for almost three decades, Carol, was born on September 11, 1964, and raised in the small and relatively quiet village of Ruby, East Bank Essequibo, which she recalled was a Dutch Plantation back in the day. The village of her birth, she explained, is situated about three miles away from Parika – the business hub of the East Bank Essequibo area.
Her parents, Alice and Felix Trotz, who are both deceased, raised nine children – five boys and four girls – of which she is the seventh. The patriarch of the household was the main breadwinner and did so as a supervisor at the Uitvlugt Estate, while the matriarch was a homemaker and indulged in a bit of cash crop farming.
“When I was growing up, I was a little Tom Boy…I used to do lot of climbing and playing cricket, and I used to get a lot of licks for that,” Carol divulged, as she reminisced on her young days. Swimming was also a favourite pastime of hers, since the family’s home was situated close to a very inviting waterway, a smiling Carol recounted.
As she took the time to journey down memory lane, Carol recalled gaining her early education at Greenwich Park Primary School before moving on to Meten-Meer-Zorg Secondary, which, she noted, has since been transformed into a Mosque.
Although she eventually delved into the nursing field, Carol confided that had she had her way, she would have been aiming for a career as a cricketer. This was not to be. In fact, she remembers all too well her mother enc
ouraging her to pursue secretarial studies, a direction that, even as a young lass, she completely rejected. The family was, however, able to come to a compromise with the blossoming Carol, and before long she was travelling to Cowan Street, Kingston, Georgetown, to undergo First Aid training at the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade.
She was comfortable with this choice, as she had gained some knowledge about first aid while at secondary school. By the time her First Aid training was completed, which also included care for the elderly, the next logical move for Carol was to apply for nursing training, which was being offered at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
“I didn’t very much like the idea of becoming a nurse at first, but when I started training as a nurse I found that it was a profession in which you had to be very loving, and I liked that…I love nursing,” Carol quietly intimated, even as she tried to remember the eureka moment when she knew this was her destined forte.
Nevertheless, she did remember that her training batch was the last batch of nurses in training to be attired in yellow dresses. Nurses in training ever since are recognised by their white dresses accentuated with yellow belts.
According to Carol, although her entrance into nursing in 1989 was intense, it certainly instilled in her a passion that has since become an ingrained part of her existence. In essence, she lives to be a nurse and couldn’t imagine her life taking any other course.
“When I was in training, everything had to be done with care and in a timely fashion…checking a patient’s vital signs had to be done four-hourly…it had to be done, you didn’t have an option; changing patients’ positions had to be done. You couldn’t do as you liked when you
were assigned to a ward, because a supervisor was always there checking on you to ensure that you were doing what was expected of you,” Carol shared.
Despite the intense supervision, she recalled that even as a nurse in training, she was able to take pride in the outcome of her handiwork.
“When you are done and you see your ward looking clean and tidy, you felt really good about it,” said Carol, whose first nursing portfolio was as a Nursing Assistant.
She remembered being posted to Lethem to complete a requisite outstation appointment upon completion of her training, before returning to the Georgetown Hospital to continue her practice. It was upon her return from Lethem, about one year, three months later, that she decided that she wanted to further advance her nursing abilities by pursuing training as a midwife.
Midwifery is regarded a crucial aspect of health care which deals with pregnancy, childbirth as well as the postpartum period, in addition to the sexual and reproductive health of women throughout their lives.
Carol revealed that while she didn’t have midwifery in mind at first, she was inspired to take this path after independently delivering the last of her two children at home. Carol is mother to Cleroy and Chevell, who she procreated with her partner of 33 years, Leroy Beckles, with whom she currently enjoys a comfortable and happy life at Parfait Harmonie on the West Bank of Demerara.
“Delivering my daughter myself inspired me to become a midwife…At the time, I didn’t even know that I could’ve done it, but I did it by myself,” said Carol amidst a cheerful burst of laughter. “I just said look, this is something I should venture into, and so I applied for the midwifery programme and I got through…I was batch one of the year 2000, and here I am today.”’
Today Carol is a 19-year-strong midwife and she is still basking in the glory of a profession that has seen her helping to bring into the world in excess of a thousand babies. Most notable is the fact that she has under her midwifery belt the delivery of at least two sets of triplets right at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
The first such delivery for Carol was shortly after becoming a midwife in the early 2000s. As she recounted that experience, she spoke of taking pride in being very early for her shifts, since she always wanted to be ready for any delivery.
On the day in question, a high-risk pregnancy case was referred from Berbice to the Georgetown Public Hospital and based on the accompanying file, twins were expected to be delivered.
“Back then, we didn’t have many doctors on the ward, so the nurse-in-charge told me go ahead with this one…so I set up my saline and everything and I was ready to get going,” Carol recalled. However, although two babies had safely emerged, the young midwife got the distinct impression that yet another baby was lurking in the patient’s womb.
“At first, I started wondering what was going on, because we knew that it was supposed to be twins this patient was having, and two babies were already out. I started to get excited, because I wanted to know what was going on here, because the belly wasn’t going down. When I pushed back my finger in, there was another sac [bag of fluid in which an unborn baby develops] and I called out to inform the doctor that there was another baby,” a smiling Carol recalled.
On that occasion, three beautiful baby girls were safely delivered, she recalled. “All three babies were over 3 kilograms…oh my God, I was so excited,” exclaimed Carol, as she recounted delivering her first triplets.
“Every time the mother comes to town, she does come and look for me,” said a smiling Carol, who has no regret making the decision to embrace midwifery.
The most recent delivery of triplets at the Georgetown Hospital was last month, and again it was Carol in the forefront. Again, she recalled, the patient arrived expecting to deliver twins, but left with triplets.
“After I collected the second baby…I was waiting for the placenta to separate, but then I realised it looked like another baby was there…so I pushed my finger in and I say ‘girl you rich, another baby in here’.” The babies on this occasion were all boys.
As a midwife, Carol said that she has the clear understanding of how important it is to ensure that her patients are calm and comfortable once they enter the labour room. She also seeks to ensure that her patients understand each step of the process by explaining same to them, even if they are in excruciating pain at the time.
What also helps to make Carol an outstanding midwife, is the fact that she hasn’t been keeping her years of knowledge to herself. In fact, she has been sharing the intricacies of midwifery with nursing students who are eager enough to delve into this vital aspect of health care during their practical exposure in the Maternity Department.
Her advice to young nurses and those aspiring to become nurses is: “To be a good nurse or midwife, you have to focus and love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, you will get nowhere…you will do an anyhow job, and that simply cannot cut it in this profession. If you love what you do, you will do a perfect job.”
Although there are some challenges associated with the profession, Carol is adamant that nurses must always strive to conduct their duties with grace and respect for their patients, regardless of who they are.
“We always need to be polite to our patients and think of them as our own family, and show them the same kind of love we would show to our own…we have to be kind and caring, even in the face of some patients being rude,” said Carol, who will retire from the profession in a matter of months with an unblemished track record.
In fact, it might be because of her outstanding record that she is already in receipt of an invitation to return to give a few more years of her service to the premier public health institution she has served at throughout her entire midwifery career. According to Carol, while offers to pursue nursing in greener pastures could be very enticing, the main focus of any true nursing professional should be on the love and compassion, coupled with skills, needed to help improve patients’ health.
“I am satisfied that I stayed in nursing right here in Guyana, it has been a very, very satisfying career,” Carol confided, even as she stressed the importance of working closely with other professionals, particularly doctors, in order to provide the best possible care to patients.
Today our ‘Special Person’ will not only be honoured as a distinguished midwife, but will be pampered by her two loving children for being an especially outstanding mother.
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