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“I came to Canada very passionate about caring for sick people. When you are able to help your patients, you know you are making a real difference in their lives.”

Elizabeth Alabi moved to Winnipeg from Nigeria with one goal – to use her specialized skills and passion for providing care to people on dialysis, in her new home. She knew that the road to fulfilling her dream would be long, and at times, bumpy, but Elizabeth was determined that she would succeed.

Alabi moved to Manitoba in September 2018, bringing with her not only skills but also experience earned from 10 years as a nephrology nurse in Nigeria.

“When I started my career in nursing at the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta Nigeria, I was nominated to go for nephrology nursing training,” said Alabi. “They were about to start the nephrology unit at the centre, so I completed the training and I was one of the people who started the hemodialysis unit.”

Alabi’s passion and strong leadership skills were quickly noticed by her colleagues and supervisors and she rose in responsibility within the unit quickly.

“I was responsible for educating patients, their families, educating students, training new staff and I was also responsible for providing pre, intra and post-dialysis care to patients,” said Alibi. “I really enjoyed working in the unit because it afforded me the opportunity to give holistic nursing care to patients with acute and chronic kidney diseases and the use of the high-tech hemodialysis machine to treat the patients.

As an internationally educated nurse, Alabi was required to complete a number of educational requirements before being able to use her full skillset in Canada. Undeterred by the challenge, she first got a job as a support care worker, then trained as a Health Care Aid and finally completed a bridging nursing program at Assiniboine Community College. By September of 2021, just three years after arriving in the country, Alabi was ready to capture her dream.

“I came to Canada very passionate about caring for sick people,” she said. “I love providing care for anyone in need – physically, emotionally and psychologically. When I came to Canada, I was focused and dreaming of the day that I would start working in the dialysis units. I like nephrology nursing because it’s intellectually stimulating, dynamic and a challenging nursing specialty. You’re always on the move and there is never a dull moment. That’s what motivates me – I enjoy learning new things every day.”

Alabi is passionate about the continuing education opportunities and continuous learning available to nurses working in the specialty.

“We are very happy to have Elizabeth as part of our amazing renal health team,” said Donna Lee Samson, Director of Health Services, Renal Health Program, HSC. “From the beginning, her passion for renal health has been evident. Her commitment, dedication and positive spirit has been vital in her learning and in her work with our patients and other team members.”

Working as a nephrology nurse, means that staff get to know their patients more closely, largely because of the regular appointments and longer-term care, Alabi explained. It’s these connections that are among the many facets of her work that make Alabi love her job as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

“It’s a family circle with both the nurses and the patients and their families. In the nephrology unit, you have a longer period to follow up your patients, advocate and build healthy professional relationships. When you are able to help your patients, you know you are making a real difference in their lives.”

For those considering a career in health care, Alabi suggests giving kidney care a closer look. “The nephrology nursing specialty provides competent holistic nursing care to patients and care for patients with the use of the high-tech hemodialysis life-saving machine. We have close interactions, improve our patients’ quality of life and keep them alive. Being able to provide quality and competent care to prolong their life is very fulfilling and rewarding.”

As part of International Women’s Day 2022, Shared Health is shining a light on just some of the many incredible women in health care who dedicate themselves to the health and wellbeing of Manitobans each and every day.

Aussi disponible on français.

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