• Ignite

Nurses Who Inspire: Ayinla Daniel, RN

RESOLVE TO LEAD THROUGH INNOVATION

What nursing needs, in a delicate and important time like the one we are currently living in, is accurate and bold leadership.

We interviewed Ayinla Daniel, a nurse, blogger, writer, and digital health enthusiast. He is the founder of Care City, an online community that encourages nurses to further explore the adventurous world of healthcare innovation and leadership, and an editor with the Institute of Nursing Research Nigeria.

 

Ignite:

Where are you from and what drives your passion to be in nursing?


Ayinla:

I am from Kwara State, in the middle belt, North Central, of Nigeria. I am bi-cultural. My father is Yoruba and my mother is from Edo State. I spent most of my teenage and young adult years in the Northern parts of Nigeria: Kano, Niger State, Nassarawa, and Abuja. From inception, I wanted to study something related to computer science or engineering. I had always loved computers from time immemorial. I started studying biochemistry at university, college, before I switched to nursing, inspired by my mother, an orthopaedic nurse and midwife. I owe my entry into nursing and healthcare to my dear mum. She was my initial motivation. When I started understanding and enjoying nursing and healthcare, I began to discover that I enjoyed helping people who were sick or needed some form of help with their health. And seeing those I care about recover from whatever illness or disease keeping them down is what ignites my passion and what motivates me. And now, I am working, through my start-up Carecode Digital Health Hub, to discover ways that technology can help improve healthcare delivery. So, my love for computers and technology is beginning to find some expression—at last.


Ignite:

Can you guide us through the process you traversed to get to where you are today in your career?


Ayinla:

As I mentioned earlier, I started my science studies with biochemistry. After spending about two years, I discovered I wasn't enjoying it and I started contemplating doing something else. My decision to move into nursing and healthcare was highly influenced by my mother, who is a nurse-midwife and an orthopaedic nurse. After my general nursing studies, I decided to stay in the clinical world of nursing, so I went ahead to do a post-basic course in cardiothoracic nursing, which ushered me into the world of critical care nursing and further cemented my desire to remain in the profession. Along the line, my "old passion" for computers and technology began to find expression, and I quickly began to think of ways of fusing my love for technology with my nursing career. This led me to discover the field of digital health. And right now, my team and I are building a digital health startup, Carecode, which is dedicated to exposing healthcare professionals to the realities of digital technologies. This is where I pitch my tent. I am going to remain here for a very long time because I find the entrepreneurial, leadership, and innovation avenues in nursing to be exciting and challenging.


Ignite:

What do you find most important to include when preparing for your work?


Ayinla:

A clear mind to think critically. I work in the critical care unit, and one needs to have a very clear mind to be able to detect when something is going wrong with a patient. We are the "first eyes" down there. We are the patient's everything! We detect the problem first and swing into action as soon as possible with the input of other team members. The overall goal in critical care nursing and medicine is to save that life, no matter what it takes!


Ignite:

In moments of self-doubt, how do your build yourself back up?


Ayinla:

I remind myself of all the wonderful things I have planned to do, of all the plans I have put in place, all the ideas that are still in the laboratory, and of all the people who will benefit from my ideas and work as a nurse, leader, innovator, and entrepreneur. That's how I keep myself going. It's the purpose that I have discovered in this career path I have chosen.


Ignite:

What does success mean to you?


Ayinla:

Well, my journey in life has been greatly influenced by my Christian beliefs. And success, first and foremost, means loving Jesus Christ and doing His will. I know it may sound strange to some, but that's just it. After my love for Jesus, the next thing is how I can help people become better; how can I influence them, lead them, and inspire them to become the best versions of themselves. I love to help people. It has been a part of me since I was a kid. Leadership and helping people come naturally to me, and I believe that my coming into the nursing profession is greatly amplifying the effects of these inbuilt qualities. I am now in a position to really help all sorts of people, from patients to colleagues and to people who I may never see but who will interact with my work in one way or the other.


Ignite:

Can you recommend a book or resource for building a particular strength or skill set that you find valuable?


Ayinla:

I have been an advocate for the building of leadership, innovation, and creative capabilities of nurses and healthcare professionals in general, and I have enjoyed a lot of books and resources that have helped me in the aspects of leadership, innovation, and creativity. One book that keeps challenging me is The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma. It's a book full of plenty of wisdom. Teachings on leadership, discipline, creativity, purpose, you just name it, are creatively packed in that book. I also feed on a lot of blogs, websites, and newsletters. You know, as a writer, I believe so much in what is written and, to me, the only way to feed your creativity is to consume creativity.


Ignite:

What characteristic do you admire most in other nurses?


Ayinla:

In simple words, excellent leadership abilities. When I come across nurses who are excellent leaders, it gladdens my heart. What nursing needs, in a delicate and important time like the one we are currently living in, is accurate and bold leadership. We need nurses who are true leaders: nurses who are ready to represent the profession anywhere on earth and speak for us. We are tired of nurse leaders who are scared and afraid to speak up. Another characteristic I admire is the ability to be innovative and creative. I love curious nurses: nurses who are truly full of knowledge and wisdom and are eager to learn. You know, it gives me joy. That's it.


Ignite:

If a nursing student approached you and asked for your advice, and you had just a few moments to engage with them, what would be your best tip?


Ayinla:

Strive to be a better you. There's so much potential hidden in people. There's a lot of allowance in your soul. We can never get to a point in our lives here on earth where we have achieved all and there's nothing more to do. There's always something to do. There's someone to inspire. There are discoveries to be made, improvements, and policies to be enacted. You just name it, it's an endless list, an almost eternal one. It's sad that we have to grow old and die someday. And this is why you have got to keep working, keep getting better, and aiming for the best because when you become the best, it's easier to change people's lives.


Ignite:

Is there anything else you would like to share?


Ayinla:

I would like to encourage all nurses out there to take leadership and innovation seriously. This is the only way the global healthcare ecosystem and the world will appreciate us even more than they do now. Over the years, I have discovered that people see nursing as a silent, soft, and emotional profession, and this public perception has caused us a lot more harm than good as a professional body. Nursing is emotional, it should be emotional, that's true, because we deal directly with human beings who need help, but we shouldn't just rest on our ability to show empathy and care. We must move further and show the world that we are also great leaders; that we can innovate, be creative. We can solve healthcare problems, we are scientists, we can proffer solutions to problems, conduct research, and do a lot more! Herein lies the soul of all I do as a nurse, leader, innovator, writer, and entrepreneur. I want people to respect nursing and nurses. You know, there was a time in my career when I contemplated the idea of switching to studying medicine. I really thought about it, but on second thought, after thinking deeply about the decision, I discovered that medicine is really big and the profession has gained a lot of respect from the public over time. Nursing is still growing. There's a lot of work to be done here—so much. Sadly, history may have not been very kind to the nursing profession, because if the profession was given the same opportunities and endowed with the same investments as medicine, by now the story we would be hearing and telling would be very different from what we tell now. Nevertheless, I believe it's all for a reason. The nursing profession is gradually developing into what it should be, and I am super excited to be right in the middle of it, doing what I can do, especially in developing parts of the world where people don't even know what nurses do. Many see the profession as a subservient one to medicine, not knowing that it's distinct and independent, with clearly defined professional roles and responsibilities. And to top it all off, I love what the Ignite team is doing. Sincerely, this is the kind of social and media initiative we need today in the nursing profession, especially here in Nigeria and Africa. Many don't know what nurses do, honestly. Initiatives like this will expose the public to who we are and what we do and will motivate young people to choose a career in nursing.


 

Connect with Ayinla

Ayinla can be reached via Twitter @Ayinla0 and via Care City.


Explore his guest contributions to The Ignite Blog:

Nursing Education in the Developing World: Looking Ahead and Preparing