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Change in plans leads to rewarding career in nursing

When Rabia Kitunzi first came to the United States from her home country of Uganda, building a career in nursing wasn’t part of the plan.

“I initially came to the United States to pursue a degree in pharmacy but steered into nursing mainly because I wanted to save my mum money, and it did not hurt that I would gain financial independence in a shorter period,” Rabia said. “And I must say 10 years in, I have no regrets. I have also grown to love what I do.”

In her work at Aberdeen Village since 2014, Rabia has come to value and appreciate the community approach.

“I think more than anything, the sense of community displayed by the staff at Aberdeen makes it a good place to work,” Rabia said. “I have worked in a few other facilities, and by far the staffing ratios at Aberdeen are the best.”

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in a year set aside to celebrate the profession of nursing, Rabia said it’s a good opportunity to highlight the dedication of nurses throughout the world.

“This year has been a trying time globally for the health care field with the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care systems all across the board have been overwhelmed with the aftermath of the virus,” Rabia said. “2020 also happens to be the Year of the Nurse. It is important to acknowledge nurses who are on the frontlines of administering care and treatment while also taking the time to support their mental health.”

Nursing is a unique profession, one that requires compassion and drive, even in the most difficult of circumstances. The passion that drives people to enter nursing also helps drive better patient care and allows individuals to specialize in different fields and increase their ability to learn new skills and practices.

In her work as a nurse in the PATH neighborhood, Rabia helps residents make the transition from the hospital to the rehabilitation services at Aberdeen Village, and eventually back into their own homes.

“There are a lot of moving parts when working with the skilled residents, and communication is key in making sure our residents are taken care of and their needs met,” Rabia said. “The staff on PATH work in conjunction with the therapy team on a daily basis, communicating resident changes and anything else that may make therapy sessions productive.”

Rabia said it’s also important to acknowledge the changes in the nursing field over the years. Once nurses focused almost exclusively on physical health and tending to a patient’s immediate needs. Today’s nurses accept a myriad of responsibilities.

“The role of nurses in resident health care and in caregiving is broad and has evolved over time,” she said. “In addition to managing the physical needs, treating health conditions and ensuring safety of the residents, nurses/caregivers very many times are also the emotional support system for our residents.”

For anyone considering entering the field, Rabia suggests considering launching a career with PMMA and Aberdeen Village.

“For nurses starting out in the health care field, Aberdeen is a good starting place,” Rabie said. “The close-knit community, coupled with good staffing ratios and an A+ team of nurses, CNAs and other department staff, make learning on the job less stressful and more productive.”

When Rabia’s not caring for residents at Aberdeen Village, she’s spending most of her time being a mother. That means she’s had to adjust some of her “adrenaline rush hobbies” to something more family friendly — like biking, soccer, and “whatever my kiddo wants to do.”

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