20 April 2017

Namibia: Nurse Acquires Diploma At 50 Years of Age

Windhoek — A 50-year-old woman last week proved that with patience and determination anything is possible when she earned a diploma in general nursing and midwifery from the University of Namibia (Unam).

After 20 years of hard work and challenges, Naemi Shipoke finally celebrated the victory she so much longed for when she was conferred a nursing diploma. She is now a registered nurse and stationed at Katutura hospital where she has worked for 28 years.

Last week, Shipoke celebrated receiving her qualification, which she earned with upper degree.

Upper degree means she received 'B' grades and scored between 70-79 percent during her studies.

The mother of three's career started in 1988 when she applied for the position of assistant nurse in Oshakati. She said the ministry then wanted to do away with the position of assistant nurse and sent her for a training course at the National Health Training Centre to become an enrolled nurse.

"I passed with distinctions and my matron wanted me to go study further, maybe because they saw how committed I was," she said. However, Shipoke had to wait a little longer as the opportunity to study was not availed right away as the health ministry chose who went for studies.

"Since the 1990s I wanted to study already. But I have a house and children and I was the sole breadwinner. If you were going to study on your own you had to resign. I couldn't resign, what about my house and children and they were at school at the time? I am a single mother and paid for their transport and took care of our needs. I just couldn't resign," said Shipoke.

Shipoke said the ministry of health over the years established a committee listing nurses and their ages and considered those with advanced age to go study. When Shipoke went to study her eldest daughter had already completed her studies at the former Polytechnic. And at the same time her last-born was a student at Unam but she wasn't discouraged.

"Finally it was my luck and I was chosen to go study at Unam. I have ten years left before I retire," said Shipoke. But with only ten years left to work, Shipoke is not discouraged as she still has a desire to do a certificate that will put her at level 7 and plans to do another programme in nursing education.

She said once she retires she wants to teach as she has always had "a passion to impart knowledge to others".

Shipoke said that during her three-year programme she formed a study group where she assisted fellow classmates.

"My sitting room was a classroom. My fellow classmates who mostly were former nurses came to my house so that I assist them. Some are former nurses who came from the north and English was a barrier - in some instances I explained the work in Oshiwambo. And all of us passed."

Shipoke encourages people to study further as it will not help sitting at home doing nothing.

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