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The life of a trauma nurse

Yvonne Mooka

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Being a trauma nurse is no child’s play, according to Kutlo Dikgole who has been with Bamalete Lutheran Hospital since last year January.

She is however adamant that nursing is her calling. She studied Bachelors in Nursing Science with the University of Botswana.The 31-year-old woman from Kanye states that working for Emergency Department is the most traumatic life experience she has ever encountered.

Also known as an accident and emergency department (A&E) emergency room (ER), emergency ward (EW) or casualty department, is a medical treatment facility specialising in emergency medicine, the acute care of patients who present without prior appointment; either by their own means or by that of an ambulance.

She deals mostly with people involved in car accidents, those involved in fights, rape victims-both young and old, among others. “A lot of it happens during month end around 2am. Sometimes a five-year-old is brought to us raped by a stranger because her parents left her unattended. Couples fight and kill, a lot of times alcohol is involved,” she says.

It is never an easy sight for her. “Sometimes people stab each other and intestines come out, or leak. It is not easy. With road accidents, sometimes we find their broken hands and legs scattered all over the place. Or people still strapped inside cars,” she says.She adds that they work hand-in-hand with the police. She handles dead people almost every day. Sometimes their bodies are brought to them by family members to be certified dead. Sometimes patients die in her hands.

“Losing a patient is the worst experience ever. Though it happens every day, one cannot say she is used to it. Imagine trying to save someone’s life and he or she dies before your eyes,” she says. What is even more painful is having to break the news to the deceased’s family, according to Dikgole.

But how does she deal with emotions involved? She says that it is her faith in God that keeps her going. She reveals that when she was still doing internship, she would see fellow interns faint because of what they saw. “But still, the trauma is real. You look strong in front of people but when you get home, you feel it,” she says.

Advising young people that would like to go into nursing, Dikgole says that they should put passion before money. “Being a nurse is a calling. You serve with passion. People will insult, just smile at them. At the end, they are going to thank you for helping them,” she says. Dikgole is currently studying for Masters in Paediatric Nursing with UB.

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