People of AMPATH: Anne Jebet, Oncology Nurse
Anne Jebet was one of the first graduates of AMPATH's Nursing Oncology program, a specialized 12 month training for approximately 10 nurses each year. The program is part of AMPATH Oncology's growing training initiatives throughout western Kenya.
Q: Tell us about your role as an oncology nurse with AMPATH?
My main roles are to identify patients/clients who need cancer treatment and administer care at the Chandaria Center at MTRH. I also do general cancer screening exercises in AMPATH outreach clinics like breast/cervical cancer, and participate in patient education forums. And I participate in mentorship and assessment of new staff and students.
Q: How did you decide to become a nurse?
While growing up, I heard many news reports of patients who were treated poorly while undergoing treatment at various hospitals. I was touched by their stories and wanted to make a difference in the lives of any patient that I would meet as a nurse. I liked visiting the sick and give out my best. I also liked helping people at home who got hurt, like cut wounds, while doing their work.
Q: Why did you specialize in oncology?
What first inspired me was the joy of giving to those whose life is "coming to an end," being that cancer had the identity as a "death sentence". But on the other hand, as AMPATH oncology services and capacity grew, patients with cancer showed remarkable improvement with the right treatment. This really motivated me to give more service and care to cancer patients. With the help and training offered through AMPATH Oncology and Dr. Chite Asirwa, it has made cancer care ever more inspiring.
Q: What training have you received?
I started my training as a certified nurse in 2000, and then a registered nurse in 2010. I actually joined oncology team in 2008. My official AMPATH oncology nurse training was completed in 2017. Also, I have attended many conferences by ASCO, KESHO, and short course trainings on chemotherapy safety and handling with full sponsorship from AMPATH.
I have had the opportunity to participate in research on the effectiveness of HydroxyUrea treatment on children with sickle cell disease and neonatal screening for early detection of neonates with sickle cell disease.
Q: What does your typical day look like?
My typical work day is 8am-5pm (or until I am done with the last patient!) Monday to Friday. Sometimes weekend coverage too in case there are patients who need chemotherapy administration. I have worked mainly in triage and chemo administration area, sometimes at the breast screening room. It depends on the patients flow, because many are walk-ins. We expect a minimum of 80-140 patients in triage area and 30-50 in the chemo admin room.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your work? What frustrates you?
What I enjoy most is serving patients with my whole of my heart, patients who come to our hospital clinic and others whom I meet while on outreach clinics. What frustrates me is when patient relatives dictate how I should handle treatment. Also, sometimes the work is a lot and we have few capable hands who are trained to help in this work.
Q: What are you hopes for the oncology program? What gives you strength?
My hope for Ampath Oncology is great. I see a great hospital facility at Chandaria/MTRH that serves patients from all over the world. God will bless us with great minds and great hearts to serve our patients.
Patient stories are many and often they give me strength while others break my heart.
A positive one. We had a patient who came in with Kaposi Sarcoma who was very sick and in a lot of pain. Morphine syrup was a rare drug to come by, but through Ampath/Oncology we had some to administer to our patient. I administered morphine and the patient went into a deep sleep. When he woke up and this were his words, "I can’t let you go. I have never slept for many months due to my pain, but today I finally slept very deeply!" With pain under control, he was treated and after 2 chemotherapy cycles he had improved a lot. Now he wanted to marry a nurse! He completed his treatment is doing well in life.