Growing up on a farm in Zimbabwe, Chenesai was used to looking after members of her family but it was the time she spent looking after her grandmother that she remembers the most.
“Looking back now it’s clear that she had dementia,” remembers Chenesai “But we didn’t know what that was then. I found it very satisfying caring for my grandmother and it was a special time that we spent together before she passed away. I thought then, could I do this as a profession?”
Chenesai’s interest in nursing was sparked and when the British government was recruiting healthcare workers from Zimbabwe she applied and soon found herself in England, training to be a nurse. She qualified in 2004 and has worked in various medical areas such as stroke, A&E, oncology and cardiac wards.
“I love making a change to someone’s everyday life. It may be something simple like someone needing help to wash themselves or tie their shoelaces because they are in too much pain. That little bit of assistance can make a big difference to them.
“I was ill myself recently and was in hospital recovering from an operation so I got a real insight into what it’s like to be a patient. I learnt a lot from that experience!”
Chenesai’s hospital visit was the result of a blocked bile duct, causing her gall bladder to become infected and swollen. She had drains fitted to ease the swelling so that her infected gall bladder could be removed but it meant she had to stop doing her agency shifts.
“Because of the risk of spreading infection to patients, I wasn’t allowed to do any shifts. I also had to wait two months before the surgery to remove my gall bladder could happen, so my financial situation was getting worse.”
Chenesai quickly went into rent arrears and was served with a notice of eviction from her home.
““It really terrified me. I have a 13 year old daughter to support so what were we going to do?”
“I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep will all of the worry. I felt so helpless. If we got evicted, would my daughter have to move from her school? What sort of mother was I if I couldn’t take care of my child? I felt myself getting depressed and my daughter could see that.”
Feeling desperate, Chenesai was determined to find help. She discovered Cavell Nurses’ Trust’s website and read stories about the people who had been helped, so she got in touch.
“For the first time in weeks, I felt that we had hope! I was so happy when Cavell Nurses’ Trust confirmed they could help us. I was crying with happiness when I contacted them to say thank you. It was a big, big relief for my daughter and I to know we were staying in our home.”
Cavell Nurses’ Trust’s help ensured that Chenesai’s rent arrears were paid and the eviction notice was cancelled.
“My daughter and I were both very quiet and stressed when we thought we were going to be evicted. But now we are laughing and chatting again!”
Chenesai has recently started a new permanent nursing job and is excited about the future. She is grateful that there is somewhere like Cavell Nurses’ Trust for nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants to turn if they are facing a crisis.
“I feel very emotional when I think about other nursing professionals getting involved and supporting their colleagues who are struggling, whether it’s through donating or fundraising.
“I know how life-changing a bit of help can be at the right time, it was truly amazing for me and my daughter!”