I joined the university later as Senior Lecturer and headed to Rwanda, where on arrival, I was appointed Academic Head of MKU Rwanda Department of Nursing.
BEFORE JOINING Mount Kenya University, Rwanda, I worked at the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Kenya as Senior Lecturer and Academic Head of the School of Nursing. That was from 2001 to 2012. For a while, I had been wanting to work in Rwanda as part of my ambition to share knowledge beyond Kenya. Earlier, I had worked at AKU Uganda Campus for two years (from 2008 to 2011), before returning to AKU School of Nursing Kenya Campus as Academic Head. I held the position until August 2012 when I left to join MKU Rwanda.
Joining MKU and relocating to Rwanda was an interesting journey. A colleague and I had visited the university to find out the possibility of starting a Master of Science in Nursing there. We had a discussion with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Stanley Waudo, who in turn referred us to the Board Chairman for further talks.
Prof Simon Gicharu liked the idea and asked us to write a concept paper, which we did and delivered to the Principal of the School of Health Sciences.
But, for some unknown reason, we received no formal feedback. However, my colleague was later recruited to the position of the Dean of Nursing.
I joined the university later as Senior Lecturer and headed to Rwanda, where on arrival, I was appointed Academic Head of MKU Rwanda Department of Nursing – a position I have held up to now.
I was happy to finally relocate to Kigali to offer my services to the MKU Rwanda campus and Rwanda, where I sincerely thought I would make a difference to the nursing profession and fraternity as a whole. My only worry was: How do I fit in socially within the university community and Rwandans?
You see, I am a social person and back in Kenya, I had many friends. I was also a member of Parklands Sports Club in Nairobi, where I socialised with friends on weekends. Also, I had the habit of going to the gym every day.
In Rwanda, I knew no ‘Parklands Club’, no women groups and would not meet my grandchildren on weekly basis as I did back home. All the same, because my thoughts had been bent on coming here, I figured I would have to do my best in whatever I was supposed to do at the university and create some time to socialise and keep myself busy and fit at the gym.
The gym part did not happen. I hardly got the time to exercise apart from a bit of walking.
I worked day and night and ultimately managed to get the nursing training at MKU Rwanda recognised by the National Council of Nurses and Midwives in Rwanda (NCNM).
NCNM challenged the university to improve on the facilities and we duly complied. This led to recognition by NCNM.
Once that was achieved, I forfeited my leave and started marketing the programme.
At the time I joined the campus, there were 22 students in nursing upgrading programme. They had been admitted in May 2012 and September 2012.
We advertised for the Direct Entry option and the first cohort joined the university in January 2013.
We visited health facilities and high schools to recruit students and managed to get a good number for both Upgrading and Direct Entry programmes.
We are well-equipped with other skills lab equipment that meet nursing practice in all fields of learning before students go to the clinical area to practice on real patients. This helps us to produce nurses who are well armed with knowledge and skills for the job.
Having a state-of-the-art nursing skills lab and a conducive learning environment after relocating to the new campus owned entirely by MKU Rwanda in Kagarama Location, has added to the reputation of the university. The campus is well furnished with modern classrooms, teaching aids such as Smart TVs, and a rich, well-manned library to cater for the students and faculty.
The university also has well-resourced computer laboratories that cater to students and meet their learning requirements. We also benefit from a very supportive and forward-looking management personnel who often take a helicopter view to scan what is happening on the ground and act, not only to improve the situation, but also to enhance the university’s ideals. This, coupled with a Quality Management System, the university is moving to greater heights.”