This post is the third in a series of interviews from women and girls at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) in Georgetown, Guyana.

I’m here in Georgetown, Guyana to conduct interviews with inspiring women and girls and to listen to their stories. Recently, I met Nurse Romalia Black in the GPHC emergency department. She graciously shared with me her story, her ideas, and her passions.

What made you interested in becoming a nurse?

A: When I was 7 years old, my grandfather suffered a stroke and I helped care for him alongside my family. I discovered I really enjoyed caring for him and making him feel better. A few years later, my friend fell ill with a serious infection. It was at that point that I knew I wanted to be a nurse so I could help care for people my entire life.

What is your favorite part about being a nurse?

A: I love to see people get well and being able to help and care for them.

Who inspires you and why?

A: I’m inspired by Dr. Gwen Frazer Tinnie, my teacher when I was a university student. Dr. Tinnie always went the extra mile not only for her students, but for her patients as well. Approachable and eager to answer our questions, Dr. Tinnie only wanted the best for her students – as well as her patients – staying after hours if necessary.

What is the one thing you’re most proud of in your career or in life?

“Women must stand up and say ‘Hey, I matter!’”

A: I’m extremely proud of my academic achievements and my family. When I went to university, I was pregnant and also worked a part-time job on the side. Now, I have two wonderful children and a successful career. I am proud that I did all that and have achieved where I am today.

What are some challenges you have faced in either your career or your life?

A: It is difficult to be a working mom, particularly at a hospital in a low-income setting. As a nurse, I strive to provide the highest quality patient care. However, when resources are unavailable or limited, I often must improvise and find different ways to provide the best possible patient care. When I think about what’s best for my family and what I want my children to achieve, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Why is women’s health important to you?

A: When women learn to respect and stand up for themselves, cases of domestic violence, abuse, and HIV/AIDS will decrease, improving women’s health and the economy simultaneously. Women must stand up and say ‘Hey, I matter!’

What advice would you give to young women and girls who want to make a difference?

A: If you love it, do it. Don’t begin on a career path just for the money. If you do, obstacles and challenges will pop up and irritate you. Nursing is hard work – it’s not easy. If you’re passionate about being a nurse and caring for others, do it. Do what you think is best for you and not what is best for somebody else.

The Conversation

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