• Ignite

Nurses Who Inspire: Meshack W. Otewa, BScN, RN


RESOLVE TO MOTIVATE

I am driven with the passion to do well and help people care for their own health.

We interviewed Meshack W. Otewa, a nurse educator and Head of Nursing at Kenya Medical Training College (Lodwar Campus), who currently facilitates baccalaureate education for students holding diplomas in nursing. Meshack is passionate about creating awareness for epilepsy and holds tight to his nursing roots in intensive care. He believes in the power of attitude and doing what you love.

Ignite:

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


Meshack:

I am from Kenya, East Africa. What drives my passion in nursing is to help communities and people to have control of their own health. People should be able to be aware of their health and make an intentional decision to take care of it. I am driven with the passion to do well and help people care for their own health.


Ignite:

Can you guide us through the step-by-step process you traversed to get to where you

are today in your career?


Meshack:

I graduated with a BScN in 2011, went through a 1 year internship, and then in February 2012 became a registered nurse. I started my career in a private hospital at the medical-surgical ward. I worked on the general floor for 4 years, then spent 2 years in the Intensive Care Unit. During the first 4 years, I got an opportunity to work with a foundation that was creating awareness on epilepsy. I was able to write a script for a short educational film [embedded below] to create awareness for epilepsy. I also taught part-time as a clinical instructor for upgrading diploma nursing students to BScN. In late 2018, I left the hospital and joined the national medical training college as a nurse lecturer. I currently work full-time as a nurse educator training diploma-prepared nursing students.


Ignite:

What is your workday like?


Meshack:

There is no clear format because of the many roles I play, however we have a somewhat general pattern. Normal day will start with waking up at around 6 am, prepare for the day, and get to the office at around 7:30 am. I always prepare for class and attend them as per schedule. Being the head of the Department of Nursing in my college, means that I may attend meetings with management or my staff. I block 1 hour a day to allow students to see me for whatever reasons; though, in extreme cases, I do walk-ins. In the afternoon I get to do my reports and follow-up on my emails. I also block an hour to read journals or blogs. I leave the office at around 6 pm, then get home to unwind. Because I write a blog, I start preparing for the week’s blog every evening and catch up with other blogs that I follow, like Ignite. There are some weeks that I’m either attending a conference or seminar where it is different. So my typical day would be class, office, and meetings.


Ignite:

Looking back, what moment or piece of advice had the greatest impact on your professional development?


Meshack:

I can quickly think of two, funnily enough! One in 2015 when I was still working at the hospital, I got a chance to work as a clinical instructor and that introduced me to the teaching profession. That moment gave me the opportunity to transition to teaching and has played a great impact on my professional life. The second one was advice given by a Head of Nursing in my department to join the Intensive Care Unit. The two years gave me the greatest experience and taught me to work hard and think on your feet, as decisions in the ICU are about life and death.


Ignite:

How have you grown from an important mistake?


Meshack:

Those would be many, but one was when I failed to apply for a teaching position. I wanted to join the teaching profession; my current employer announced for vacancies in 2016. Interestingly, I was the first to see it among my friends and shared it with them. They all applied, but I procrastinated, and eventually the deadline passed. They all got the position! I have never understood why I never applied then. In late 2017 when they advertised again, I applied first, then shared, and finally got the position. I learnt never to procrastinate again.


Ignite:

When did you realize you were where you wanted to be and how did you feel?


Meshack:

That must have been when I started teaching; I enjoy the work and always look up to doing it. As much as I miss the running in the Intensive Care Unit, I enjoy this better. When I teach a new concept and a student understands and even does a return demonstration, that gives me great joy. Passing knowledge and skills to student nurses has great fulfillment.


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?


Meshack:

I would ask them if they enjoy what they do. If they do, then that’s great; if they do not, then I will have a task to change their attitude. Best tip: Work hard in school, reduce unnecessary disruptions, and always take care of a patient as if they were your family.


Ignite:

Is there anything else you would like to share?


Meshack:

I have learnt over time and experience that the nurse's attitude towards nursing is the greatest tool in the profession. To my new students, I always put that as the first thing when I teach them Foundations in Nursing. With the right attitude, knowledge and skills always fall into place. Lastly, never give up. If you have decided to do something, do it, and give it your best, that is how my blog, MeshRN blog, was started. MeshRN is a blog that covers issues related to nurses. This was something that I had thought about for the last three years, and then in May of this year decided to put it up. I have new blog posts every Monday, with a new feature of guest blogger posts every two weeks. In the coming months, I’ll be starting a podcast to complement the posts. I am excited about this journey; read, engage and share!

Epilepsy, Creating Awareness

Connect with Meshack

Meshack can be reached via Twitter @MeshWendo and via MeshRN Blog.