Q&A with Eva Josephidou, NIPD Genetics Nurse

In celebration of February 11, International Day of Women and Girls in Science

‘There are no maybes in this job. You have to be sure for what you are doing, and if you are not, there is no shame in seeking help from someone experienced.’

Eva Josephidou was among the first people who responded to NIPD Genetics’ call for nurses, in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost a year on, she is still part of a dynamic team of nurses who put themselves on the front lines everyday, working tirelessly to ensure we are one step closer to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.

How did you decide to go into nursing?

Since I was a child, I remember talking about helping other people. It was my desire to come close with people in need and provide them my assistance.

What aspects of your field do you find the most interesting and what the most challenging?

The most interesting thing is that I can get close to many people and explain to them what they don’t know about their health. I’m also helping them to understand anything that is related to nursing, such as the test result from a blood test, or any other test. The most difficult aspect is when we have some bad news and we have to deliver it. It is the most unpleasant and sad thing we come across through this occupation. The expression we get from the patients through their eyes is so difficult and we have to stay strong and support them as we can.

What qualities do you find indispensable for a good nurse?

To be a good nurse, you must be patient and never cross the limits. You have to smile even when patients insult you for not being a “good” nurse to them. You must communicate with them and explain that you did what you could, and if the result was not what they expected there is no problem to complain. Also, you have to be sure of what you are doing. There are no maybes in this job. You have to be sure about what you are doing, and if you are not, there is no shame in seeking help from someone experienced. Moreover, the most important thing to be a good nurse is to have passion for what you are doing, otherwise you will never be successful in your field.

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way that changed the way you used to think and care for your patients?

In my 4 years of university studies, I have learned to communicate better with people and understand their concerns. I have learned to be more focused on the patients’ needs and be more empathetic about their problems, create a bond with them to show them that I care about them and that I am doing what’s best for them. At the same time, I have to be able to draw a line between my personal and professional life and not let my patients’ problems and health issues affect me on a personal level.

What has the COVID-19 pandemic changed for you and how has this impacted you?

It’s obvious that COVID-19 has affected everyone’s lives and continues to do so. It has become very difficult to try and ease patients into trusting you when they can’t see your face and can barely recognize you. It has become more difficult to show emotions and create a connection with the patients. Everything feels more impersonal at this time, which makes difficult situations even more hard to handle.

Has COVID-19 changed how you feel about your profession?

Fortunately, COVID-19 hasn’t changed the love and passion I have for my profession. I am still trying my best to not let this situation affect the way I work. I am always trying to communicate the best that I can with my patients, always having a smile on my face, which hopefully shows in my eyes so the patients can see and appreciate it. On the other hand, this whole situation makes me sad because due to the masks being worn constantly, everything becomes so impersonal, patients can become irritated much more easily, which in turn impacts my work.

Do you think that other people are more appreciative of your profession now?

I believe that most people appreciate our help and admire what we do, especially at times like these. But at the same time, there is a minority of people that believe we don’t work hard enough and can escalate things to a point where they are insulting us because they had to wait longer for something, not understanding the difficulty of the current situation and the impact it has on everything. What I am taking away from this past year, is how to be strong to cope with impatient and disrespectful people who don’t realize we are here to try and help them.

If a young girl interested in nursing walked up to you for advice, what would you tell her?

I would advice her that as long as she is passionate about nursing, she would be successful. That includes helping other people without caring that sometimes these same people might not appreciate her efforts.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for women in nursing or healthcare professions?

In my experience, there are no challenges that women need to overcome in the nursing or healthcare professions. I have been given the same opportunities as my male colleagues and was tested based on the same criteria.

What has changed the most since you became a nurse and how different do you think nursing will be in the next few years?

Since I became a nurse, I’ve learned to be strong to cope with many types of people. I’m very sensitive sometimes, which is okay because we are not heartless, we have feelings too. The other thing that changed is that I put myself in the position of the patients and try to understand how they feel. For the next few years, I think nursing will be difficult because of COVID-19. Everything has changed since this virus came, and it’s difficult to cope with it because it has affected so many people, and especially careless people who act without caring about the consequences.

Which scientific discovery has impressed you and why?

I was really impressed by how fast the science community came together and created a vaccine to try and fight the COVID-19 virus. This is really important, as it brings us closer to returning back to our normal lives, which have been affected for so long and affected everyone.

Eva Josephidou has a BSc in Nursing and a Masters in Midwifery from the Cyprus University of Technology. She underwent her training at the Nicosia and Limassol General Hospitals, and has attended seminars in oncology nursing, nursing and midwifery and emergency care. Eva Josephidou is a part of the NIPD Genetics company since March 2020.

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