Why I Became a Nurse - Oluwafemi Akindele, ITU Staff Nurse, Harefield Hospital

I'm elated to be living the future I predicted for myself back in 2011. I’ve always wanted to have the opportunity to help people, and nursing is all about helping others; just holding someone's hand means so much.

How it Started 

When I was little, probably about seven years of age, I remember my cousin — a physiotherapist working in Canada — visited Nigeria after a long time abroad. He brought a lot of chocolate, and I love chocolate! Initially, I wanted to travel overseas, not for nursing but for chocolate and a pair of Nike Air Jordans! Portrait of Oluwafemi Akindele

So, when I was a bit older, I took classes in sciences and applied to study physiotherapy at one of the prestigious universities. However, my score didn't meet the cut-off.

I discussed it with my mom, and she said to me, "You know you can try nursing". I debunked the idea immediately because nurses were not well paid, and most of all, they were not as respected as other professionals in society. It was a female-dominated profession, and it just felt weird. I didn't know how I would tell my friends if I was studying nursing.

I was offered a place on the Nursing course, intending to switch to physiotherapy or medicine the following year, but during my second year, I fell in love with the art and science of nursing. It wasn't just about broken bones and injections; it was way more: the interpersonal relationships, the different narratives with different people, and most importantly, being on someone's road to recovery. I started to understand that life wasn't all about chocolates and trainers but helping to save lives and return moms and dads to their kids and vice-versa, which gave me a sense of fulfilment.

The Hustle 

In 2017 completed the nursing programme at the prestigious Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). I worked in LUTH for about three years, and my experience enabled me to master clinical skills. I also worked at the First Cardiology Consultants Hospital in Lagos for 18 months. I learned a great deal about caring for critically ill patients, especially after major heart surgeries and interventional and radiological cardiac procedures. I developed not just knowledge but also critical thinking skills, which have enabled me to thrive in high-pressured settings.

Although I sent over 400 applications to hospitals across the UK, I specifically wanted to be a part of Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals, so I declined a few other trusts to be here. I currently work at Harefield Hospital's Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) and what we do is magical. Words cannot capture the essence of the lives we save every day, and I am blessed to be a part of it.

Happy Ever After 

What is most rewarding and fulfilling about my job is the opportunity to help people in their most vulnerable states. It brings me so much joy when I see my patients get back to a significant level of normality. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the smiles on their faces when they walk out of the unit and knowing I was able to contribute my small part to making someone's life better.

I am proud to be a nurse. I cherish this opportunity every day.