Janoy: Proudly a Nurse

Janoy: Proudly a Nurse
Fecha de publicación: 
17 November 2022
Imagen principal: 

She is a typical Cuban, although in conversation the accent she brought from Zulia can be noticed and that reminded me all the time of my maracucho students at the School of Social Workers.

Janoy La Rosa Bernia says that she was assigned as a reward on the Doctor’s Office 25 of 26 de Julio polyclinic, in the municipality of Playa, in Havana, dedicated to the attention of workers of the Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) but I’m convinced that the winners are us.


Let me explain: you just get overwhelmed because you’ve gained about ten kilos in a few months and she welcomes you with that optimistic charisma and yes, you are obese, she makes it clear to you and you even get a scolding, but also the certainty that everything in life has remedy and a detailed explanation about the diastolic and systolic pressure, the risks of being overweight and the path to follow.

-Are you always like this?

—I like to communicate my knowledge to the patient, so that he knows, because that never hurts; as I tell my children, knowledge occupies little space. I read a lot. I have a degree in Nursing, I always say that I have been a nurse since I was 20 years old and I’m going to turn 56, but I was a technician, I had to undergo training and it was hard, it was hard for me, but today I can say that I am happy. I have graduated from six courses; I went to Venezuela with the profile of an emergency nurse. I finished my Bachelor's degree and then the Medical Emergencies course. I have a diploma in surgery, which I really like; electro and thrombolysis, another course of comprehensive care for the elderly.


—And why didn't you study Medicine?


Everyone asks me that. Well, because it couldn't be. I took the exam at the polyclinic to study Medicine, but when I arrived at the university, in Girón, they explained to me that due to age I couldn't, so I enrolled in Nursing, and today I tell you that for me the number one doctor, is my colleague, and in the office we are the pair that always has to walk together, but I, proudly a nurse; I always say it, every single day: proudly, a nurse.


I got to infirmary by mere chance of life. When I finished high school I obtained a majoring in Pharmacy, but she spent a vacation in Santiago de Cuba with her father and returned to Havana when the course was already advanced, so she couldn’t join in. So she opted for nursing technician.


From Chance to Love...


At first she didn't like it very much, apart from a sort of challenge that had accompanied her since the days when she was a sick child and her tonsillitis cost her many injections, the little girl target of nurses, syringe in hand, and thought: "somehow day it will be me holding the syringe". But the young Janoy "liked partying a lot" and nursing "has no regular schedule, this is like the military, you know when you come in, but you don’t know when you leave work."


However, little by little she fell in love in such a way that of the five friends who started together, only she graduated, aged 20 and pregnant with her eldest son: "If I were born again, I would be a nurse. I am a nurse in this life and in the other. Proudly a nurse, I'm dying a nurse," she says with a moving feeling.

She was the head of the ICU with two children, the older one supported her and took care of the younger one, she tells me. She has spent years in primary care, in the doctor's office. And you never lose that joy? I wanted to know:


"Even though I laugh a lot, when I get angry, I really get angry. I help the doctors one hundred percent, but when they're mean I get angry and if I don't like something I speak my mind right there. I know that we all have difficulties, I know, but we are going to work well and give the patient that love they deserve, because I can feel under the weather, but I have no right to mistreat that old man who just wants a prescription, the mother holding her child in her lap...


"When I worked at the family doctor's office, I needed a firm hand, because I believed children were mine and it bothered me when mothers did not take them, I went to their houses, the same with pregnant women, I had a severe hand".


From Love to Delivery...


During the epidemiological emergency of the corona virus, Janoy left the office for a year and ten months to go to the red zone in the hospital popularly known as La Covadonga:


"I have been in primary care for many years and getting to work directly with the sick, hospitalized patient, it was something that shocked me, it's not that I couldn't, but COVID patients, imagine, a disease we had never encounter before, they were anxious. The virus infected one, and the family just followed suit, although fortunately here the method of isolating the patients worked and sometimes the family was not positive, but there was always that concern, that anxiety".


"I was in an open room, but it was a red zone, when a patient became seriously ill and was transferred to therapy, I’d go to see him and give my number to the family, I would give them news, I would make video calls when he was improving so they could talk, so when we lost a patient, that really hurt me."

On the red zone arrived shortly after another unforgettable experience of her career: the mission in Venezuela:


"There I saw diseases, I’ve only seen in books, you see a lot what they call special children, Down syndrome, mental retardation, there were many disorders that I saw in Venezuela, because the PAMI (Maternal and Child Care Program), that is so beautiful that here it’s carried out fully, not there. So pregnancies are at risk, pregnant women were without care, especially if they did not have money, if the family or the husband were insured, the fetus may have evolved and a better delivery, but the poor population, nothing at all".


She talks about Chávez and her eyes light up as she saw the huge work that he undertook for the most disadvantaged. She speaks affectionately of Mrs. María, the neighbor of the CDI who called her with a Maracucho accent: "Come black," but this woman is a bunch of expressiveness and angrily mentions the case to the ungrateful people who came to be treated and spoke ill of the Revolution Bolivarian or Cuban:

"I couldn’t allow them to speak ill of Cuba to me, because we had to provide the same service to the opposition as to the Chavista and I was always on the defensive, I could not allow it. I was there when the Commander passed away, that was a huge blow for me... because I am a Fidelista. That day was very difficult, I cried and I did not allow anyone to speak ill of him."


While she attends a population of approximately one thousand ETECSA workers and remains in her office, located in the Miramar Business Center, ready to offer first aid to anyone who needs it, Janoy is ready to go "anywhere to represent Cuba and return, return to my relatives". This woman has the name of a city and the soul of a country.

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