I am not a solid writer per say but will say my story in my own simple words the best way I can. My Journey as a bedside nurse in Nigeria to becoming an extraordinary nurse in America is a dream come true to me.
Today, I am very proud of myself as a professional nurse, provider and a mother of three beautiful children. I believe that dreams come true only to those that believe in their dreams. My daily Journal has on its front cover ” A winner is a dreamer who never gives up” (Nelson Mandela).
My story is to practically inspire, uplift and support nurses all over the world on overcoming fears and obstacles in our career path. I was born and raised in Nigeria. I graduated from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) Nursing Programme in 1995. I got married and migrated to the United States in 2002. My biggest fear was how to obtain my Nursing License in America. I knew I had to take the board exam, which is called NCLEX in order for me to practice as a Nurse in the States. Finding myself in a different place, different culture with little or no knowledge of my surroundings posed a mighty obstacle in my heart. The fear of failure gripped my heart after hearing stories from my new-found friends and rediscovered family in America that most nurses from Nigeria are not well trained enough to meet the American standard of nursing practice. I was told that quiet a number of nurses from overseas or rather Nigerian Trained Nurses have to take the board exam several times before they can even begin to comprehend what is happening talk-less of passing the test.
So, with all the fear in my heart, what did I do? I decided to reason with my head. I thought to myself “It is not a hundred percent true what these people are saying. No, no no, these statements cannot be completely true. I know fully well that where I had my Nursing training was academically focused yielding sound and intelligent nurses who despite the peculiar challenges, still save lives in Nigeria” I had to start my own counter counselling of my own self. I decided I was not going to let the negative stories settle in my head. I resolved to discard them. I told myself “ Come on Blessing, you know you can do this. With the knowledge and training that you have received, you may not be perfect for BUT, YOU ARE GOING TO THRIVE.”
So, I set to work. I worked hard. I multi-tasked like and octopus would. I am a strong believer of passing an exam at first attempt. I know that this does not apply to all situations but to a great extent believing that you can only succeed without letting fear or failure to be the landmark of a new life or new beginning is all we need to win the battle. I will also acknowledge that fact that finding ones self in a new place overseas where things are done differently was really challenging. Settling in is not as easy as we think due to so many factors but nonetheless I believe in self-actualization, the obstacles not withstanding. Keeping faith without losing focus (not giving up on ones dreams).
I have seen lots of people quit in life due to lack of resources, support or no motivators around them. I am truly blessed to have had the right support, resources, motivators and inspiring people in my life that helped to make my transition and settling into the United States a smooth one. It got to a stage, I actively selected my motivators. I reduced my fraternity with those who often had the words “cannot” or “it is hard” in their vocabulary. I sought out the positive persons in my environs. I found those who had done it before me and sought the companionship of positive persons with vocabulary base and mind set filled with action words and motivational phrases.
I had the opportunity to study very hard and with all the resources that I had, I took my board exam and passed first attempt in 2003. I felt very good about myself. My self-confidence, took a double leap. I developed the mind set that I can do anything without any hesitation. I received my License and started working as a Telemetry Nurse in a Cardiac Unit. I saw myself excelling and with great potentials, I had to go back to school to get my Bachelors in Nursing degree. My hopes and dream is to have a Masters Degree in Nursing and to become a Nurse Practitioner here in the States. I graduated from the University of Phoenix in 2005 with BSc in Nursing. I am currently working as a Registered Nurse in a reputable organization here in California as a Resource Nurse Floating to various nursing units (ICU, Cardiac telemetry Unit, step down unit, urology Clinic, Orthopedic Clinic and Gastrointestinal Clinic).
I believe in thriving for excellence and being the best in what we do. Another highlight in my nursing career was when I received an award called ” Daisy Nurse” in 2010. This for me, felt like receiving a “Golden Globe award ” in Hollywood. I was the first nurse to receive this award in the history of the hospital. In the midst of old timers, fresh timers, newbies, and other excellent minds. I received this award as the most compassionate and caring nurse in the entire hospital. As published by the Elk Grove Citizen Magazine, “Ugbo received a certificate proclaiming her as an extraordinary nurse, a DAISY Award pin and a serpentine stone sculpture, handcrafted by the Shona tribe in Zimbabwe, titled “A Healer’s Touch.”
Looking back 15 years ago, when I graduated from nursing school, an ordinary nurse, a bedside nurse working in private hospitals in Benin City with little or nothing, improvising to provide for patients care and no resources to support or help the needy, it amazes me to see where I am now. I will ring the bell and yell it out for all the world to hear- hard work pays and the fulfillment there after is worth all the struggles.
I am glad I can inspire nurses around me not to settle for less, to believe in their dream of being the best at all times. I am glad that I am able to uplift others with my wealth of knowledge and also being a source of Blessing to my family and friends back home in Nigeria and in diaspora.
My esteemed readers, “….. and this is how Blessing has become a Blessing to this generation”. Mrs. Blessing Ugbo has been very modest about her achievements. Her story made me cry, the first time I heard it from someone else, another continent away. I sought her out. Yes, I sought out this determined amazon of our time. I wanted each and every one of us, to meet one of the ordinary persons like us, who are doing extraordinary things. I just had to let us peek into the life of persons like her who take on the wars of life with only one option- the determination to win. They know the war will be rough, they acknowledge there will be near surrenders, but they go on! Determined to win. And guess what, they do Win.
We can all win. Maybe not at the same rate or in the same spheres but hey my dear people, there sure is enough room in the sky for us all to keep wining. Thank you Blessing, for being a Blessing to our world.
Further information from the official website on the story behind DAISY.
DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The Foundation was formed in November 1999, by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of complications of the autoimmune disease Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). Pat’s death after 8 weeks in the hospital was a terrible shock to his family. However, the nursing care they experienced during Pat’s hospitalization compelled them to express their gratitude to nurses everywhere for the clinical skill and compassionate care nurses provide every day. This is why the Barnes family created The DAISY Foundation and The DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses.
The DAISY Award provides healthcare leaders the means to highlight all the “right” going on in their organizations. Each nomination tells the story of extraordinary compassion and care provided to a patient. The result is a program that helps drive organizational culture, inspire and motivate extraordinary nursing, nourish teamwork and promote the professional image of nursing. For more, click on http://daisyfoundation.org