'My name is Julie Tiakoru and I come from Arua. I am Lubara by tribe. I went to primary school in Masinde district until my father died and our family moved to Arua town. It was hard after my father died, my mother worked as a housemaid and we helped earn income by digging gardens.
I was determined, from when I was small to be a nurse. I had seen nurses with their lovely uniforms and I loved the way that they were so kind to me. I was determined. I started training to be an enrolled nurse in 1980 so I have been in the medical professions for more than 30 years.
Soon after I started training, we were forced to flee to the Congo by the local conflict. We stayed there a year and my training was interrupted. When we came back, I moved to Entebbe to complete my training. Soon afterwards I was married and moved back to Arua to work as a nurse.
Over the years, I have worked in different places and gained many different qualifications. I am a registered degree nurse and a registered midwife, an intensive care nurse, a paediatric counsellor and a clinical instructor.
I was the first girl from our region to be educated. I persisted although it was not easy. But I started a trend in my family as my two brothers are a nurse and a clinical officer and my two children are working as a doctor and a clinical officer.
Now, I work as a senior training and disciplinary officer at the new Hoima Nursing School. We started the school two years ago, myself and the principal. We have done very well so far with our students coming top in the country.
I like hands on, practical work and sharing information with students. I am very tough on discipline, making sure we start roll call at 7.30am, that the students are smart and the teachers are teaching the right thing. The nursing curriculum is consistent across the country but it varies with the type of course: midwifery, comprehensive or specialist.
I took the ETAT+ training and learned the techniques to triage sick patients, how to identify who should be seen first and how to assess them quickly. When there are emergency patients, we take them out the queue and attend to them before we attend to others. It is really beneficial because it has changed the culture of following the queue of waiting patients to recognising and prioritising the sick. We include triage in the nursing curriculum and examination too. My favourite thing from ETAT+ was the resuscitation technique.
One challenge is that while we send emergency patients to the right places, there are still difficulties when patients meet the doctors in actually dealing with the patients promptly and accurately.
In the future, I’d like to do a nursing master degree at Mokono University but sponsorship is a problem!'