For as long as she can remember, sister Marilyn Iro always wanted to be a nurse.
In fact, she can pin point it down to an early memory as young girl.
“I remember reading a book when I was at school called ‘A Nurse Like Anna’,” she told SIBC at Kilu’ufi Hospital during its recent tour of Malaita. “Since reading that I’ve always wanted to do it.”
And what a nurse she has become. Sister Iro was this month awarded the prestigious “nurse of the year” award at the National Health Conference in Honiara.
In a reflection of the commitment to her job, she was unable to attend the ceremony as she was touring regional areas of the country promoting reproductive health – her area of specialty.
“But I was very proud to receive the award,” she said. “I work very hard so in many ways I felt I deserved it!.”
She is not wrong. Sister Iro has been working in and around Auki and Malaita since 1990 – meaning this year marks her 28th year of service.
And despite the years of service and a grueling travel schedule which takes her to very remote villages all over the province, she said her love of the job remained for one main reason: “I just want to help people,” she said.
“I really enjoy the job, mixing with the community and providing the services regional villages need.
“When they (my patients) get better, I feel oh so good. But there are down times. If someone dies or get worse, that can be hard.”
Another element Sister Iro felt strongly about was the lack of equipment in Solomon Islands.
“We are always short of equipment,” she said. “And there’s a lot of room for improvement – our infrastructure and supplies for maternal services, we always need more.”
Despite her number of years of service, Sister Iro said she felt an obligation to continue working hard to help her people.
“I was lucky enough to go to Sydney’s Liverpool Hospital recently for training, and it really boosted me up,” she said. “I came back (home) and I really wanted to work hard. It drove me to do better as I’m now an ambassador for my country and want to do better.”