"I feel something different, something special, here” - Meet Neema

You’d be hard pressed to find someone more committed to their job than Neema. As the In-Charge of CCBRT’s Eye Outpatient Department (OPD), Neema has the tremendous responsibility of ensuring that all eye patients are provided high quality care and support while at CCBRT. As the organisation’s most sought-after service provider, the Eye OPD provides consultations, surgeries, and low-vision devices to thousands of patients each year. Most of these patients - as well as their relatives and the clinicians who care for them - interact with Neema during their time at CCBRT. Neema’s passion shines through every conversation, especially when she describes her job.  “I feel comfortable helping people,” she says with a smile. “There is something special about CCBRT compared to the other hospitals. I feel something different, something special, here.”

Neema first joined CCBRT and the Eye Ward in 2000. A few months later, she began a 3-year role in the operating theatres and soon after that was promoted to the Eye OPD as the In-Charge nurse. In this role, Neema’s responsibilities include assisting the doctors; budgeting for the department; arranging meetings with the administration; and most importantly, sitting down with patients to explain CCBRT’s services. Neema is also in charge of connecting staff with patients to ensure that everyone receives the right care. When asked to describe her role, Neema says “I am a link.”Neema’s favorite aspect of her job is counseling patients. “I feel good with counseling the patients; I know in my heart that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing,” she explains.

A few months ago, Neema spoke with the Matron of the Disability Hospital about going back to school to learn more about counseling. “I told her that I needed more education and proper training to increase my counseling skills,” Neema says. “I couldn’t manage to pay for the education myself. Family commitments and the cost of the education can limit you.” The Matron told Neema that CCBRT has a fund to assist staff members who wish to increase their education and add further value to the organization. With CCBRT’s support, Neema enrolled in a holistic therapeutic counseling course at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University. The course provided Neema with the specialized knowledge and skills she needs to counsel patients at the Disability Hospital. “It’s made an impact,” Neema says. “I’m the In-Charge, so I face a lot of people. People need to be counseled. My staff, the patients, you instruct them and inform them. That’s why I wanted to get more skills; so I can feel comfortable and more confident when counseling.”

Looking back on 2015, Neema says she is most appreciative of CCBRT’s donors and management for helping her pursue her passion for counseling. “I would like to thank them so much. If you get more education, you can have a greater impact and you can change lives. It helps people in a great way.”

“When I first started working here, it was difficult - you had to quit work and then go to school,” Neema says. “Now, CCBRT gives its staff permission to go to school and learn new skills. On behalf of my coworkers, we appreciate that.”