Aghayedo Paulina Olayinka is the SUG president, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital school of Nursing. In this interview with Fellow Nurses Africa, she describes her journey to nursing, the challenges and what has kept her going, enjoy.

FNA: Can we meet you ma?

S.N Paulina: I’m Aghayedo Paulina Olayinka by Name. Final year student in SON LUTH, and the current SUG president. I’m the 5th child among 8 children.

FNA: What inspired you into nursing?

S.N Paulina: I would say my mum. My decision and with the support of my Dad was to be a medical doctor. She always insisted nursing was better and I would always be like I don’t want to be a second option in the medical field. The whole thing wasn’t so successful and I just decided to take the form for SON because I wasn’t interested. I thought after 3 years, I would go back to medicine. I didn’t even consider it for jamb and I wasn’t ready to waste 5 years of my life on a second choice field.

Currently, I would say everything has changed and I now have an inspiration to continue in nursing because being a nurse I believe I can be fulfilled.

FNA: You mentioned that you don’t want to have take a second option in the medical field?
Why did you think nursing is a lesser career in the health industry?

S.N Paulina: Well, I said that because at present, Nursing is still battling for autonomy. Before coming into this profession, I see nurses as people who can’t make decisions on their own without a doctor and they can’t even perform surgeries. To me it was irritating and annoying. There are still struggles on keeping up with the standard of the profession.

FNA: What are the challenges you have encountered on this nursing journey?

S.N Paulina: I can’t list all of them here because they are so many of them but with God, they are surmountable.

FNA: Okay. You can summarise

S.N Paulina: First, is the issue of the female domination in the profession. I don’t have an issue with females being at the top but in the decisions they make. Unnecessary rivalry, unnecessary ethics, unnecessary decisions, malice, jealousy.

Then, the eradication of this lazy attitude of the older nurses which the younger ones are even emulating. Where I am, filling of ordinary nursing process is an issue. They would abandon it for the students when they come. These nurses are supposed to be at the top not just occupying unnecessary positions and ranks but to impact knowledge. Do rounds like the consultants.

Evaluate your care, give more nursing diagnosis. Nurse that patient the way it is supposed to be. Read! Read!! Read!!! Nurses need to read. Its so bad. Little knowledge and they would be bragging.

Let’s calm down and evaluate ourselves. Documentation is a problem and we are complaining of our salaries. we’ve got to really quantify the care we render.

FNA: You sound like an activist. Are you one?

S.N Paulina: I’m not an activist. Its just the issues that are so glaring and we choose to close our eyes to them and fight what is not the problem. You see matrons fight student Nurses for colored hairs, wearing of uniforms, greetings and irrelevant things. Abeg, the challenges here are much, but I have decided not to complain but to attain to the highest height in this profession and be the change from within.

FNA: I like your spirit. You sound like a resilient individual, and a goal getter. I am not surprised about your position as the president though.
How did you attain such post?

S.N Paulina: I would say its by God’s grace. He did it.

FNA: I have seen more male SUG presidents than females.
Would you say male are doing well than female, or how would you describe this?

S.N Paulina: I don’t see anything that is more different because I’ve seen very great female presidents. Understanding is what matters.

FNA: On the issue of stereotype in nursing, a lot of people tag nurses as promiscuous individuals, claiming they date doctors and do all sort of nonsense with colleagues.
What would you say to this, and how can student nurses curb this?

S.N Paulina: Like I said previously, understanding matters a lot. The individual who chooses to be promiscuous is a personal choice because even among medical doctors, you still have this. Just like there are myths and superstitions with people believing them, this is not exceptional.

Overtime their views would change not because of anything else but as a result of no truth in their belief.

FNA: How can you rate your school, LUTH. What do you think they do differently from other nursing schools?

S.N Paulina: Where ever I find myself, I put it as the best and the number one. Actually my school is the number one and it is very different from other schools. Academically, socially and every other aspect you can think of.

FNA: Have you heard about the myth that products of SoN are inferior to Universities products?
What will you say about this?

S.N Paulina: No, because I have not given ears to it and also all the products from my school never behaved or acted inferior.

FNA: How do you see nursing in Nigeria in 5years time?

S.N Paulina: In 5 years time, if the people at the top running the decisions don’t change then it would remain the same even in the next 10years. Otherwise it would be one of the most notable profession, highly sought after and greatly recognized.

FNA: Do you have any interest in political positions?

S.N Paulina: Of course, I do.

FNA: Is there anything special about you that you would like us to know?

S.N Paulina: Everything about me is highly important.

FNA: Who is your role model?

S.N Paulina: I have one special role model which is myself and the other is my elder brother.

FNA: What advise would you give to the next SUG president of LUTH?

S.N Paulina: He should continuously enquire from the Lord Almighty in every decision that is to be made.

FNA: What advise would you give to political leaders in SON and Universities?

S.N Paulina: In SON, its a total different parole from the university so they should not try to compare but develop a very good interpersonal relationship. Let them know that they are two different ends to avoid unnecessary conflicts. In SON, they should greatly involve the school authorities before making decisions so that they can get the support. Also in the university, let them work in collaboration with other people from the government body and carry the students along.

FNA: Where do you see yourself in 5years?

S.N Paulina: I see myself where God leads me.

FNA: Tell us 3 ways in which student nurses can curb violence, and strive during clinicals.

S.N Paulina: I don’t know what you mean by violence and strife because its not so obvious here.

FNA: Recently, a lot of nursing organization have stated leveraging on social media, and digital tools.
Schools are beginning to have pages on Instagram and Facebook, and even website. Some individuals also health educate people via social media.

What would you say to this?
Is that a good way for nursing to curb the stereotypes tagging? How exactly do you see this?

S.N Paulina: This stereotype issue is common with SON. That is why they don’t want to feature in a movie first of all and then they would say they are spoiling nurses image.
Now to the issue of the social media age, any one still contemplating on this issue is having serous issues with inferiority complex.

FNA: Your final words

S.N Paulina: School of nursing is one best place to be and there is really no need to feel inferior. Nursing should seek to keep record of the alumni in country and out in the states and this should be handed over continuously.

Also we should be ready to take risks as nurses, get into politics and there should be continuity of education up to the PhD, this should be the limit for every nurse. Let’s not be afraid of the amount of years that would be spent, lets just move on.

They should provide more spaces for male admission. At least in an admission of 50 students, 25 or 30 should be males.
Unnecessary ethics should be removed.

FNA: The Fellow Nurses Team really appreciate you
S.N Paulina: Its a pleasure