Kenyan Nurse in Emotional Retirement After 43 Years at US Hospital

  • Bancy Gatimu retired after 43 years as a pediatric acute care nurse at Doernbecher Children's Hospital
    Bancy Gatimu retired after 43 years as a pediatric acute care nurse at Doernbecher Children's Hospital
    Oregonlive.com
  • Bancy Gatimu, a Kenyan medic based in the US, was accorded an emotional retirement party at the Doernbecher Children's Hospital after serving as a pediatric nurse for 43 years. 

    Gatimu won the hearts of hospital staff and the patients whom she took care of since they were toddlers.

    She recounted some of the children calling her 'mom' at the hospital located inside Oregon Health & Science University, where she was the longest-serving nurse. 

    “I said goodbye to the nurses and doctors,” Gatimu stated as reported by Oregon Live. “There are young doctors I worked with long ago when they were medical students and then residents.”

    Several cupcakes with Gatimu's face together with her photo set on a table on her final day at work
    Several cupcakes with Gatimu's face together with her photo set on a table on her final day at work
    Oregonlive.com

    Gatimu's story began as a little girl aged 6 in Kenya. She, unfortunately, contracted malaria and was flown to Portland, Oregon for medical attention. 

    At such a tender age, the nurses made a life-changing impression on her life. The care she received far away from home inspired her to pursue nursing back in Kenya.

    As fate would have it, Gatimu met her husband while doing what she loves. The mother of four highlighted the events that led up to her meeting her future husband Simon Gatimu who lived in Portland and worked as a teacher.

    While working at a hospital in Nairobi, Gatimu, then unmarried, was sent to work on the outskirts of Nairobi where she met another medic. 

    In a surprising turn of events, the medic who was visiting from Portland introduced her to Simon. The two, later on, got married in 1978 and moved to Portland where she landed the nursing job.

    "I take care of children whose parents I once took care of. They see me and call me grandma from the hospital. When you love your job, it is not a job," she said.

    "I have been caring for this man who is nearly 20 since he was little. Back then he would run up to call me 'mom'. He still calls me that when he sees me. This puzzles many since I am black and he is white," she added. 

    The staff at Doernbecher Children's Hospital described her as an inspiration and a very loving person to work with.

    "When she walks into the room, she lights it up. Our floor is going to be a little bit dimmer. She is one of those people you remember in life," said Dizon-Rosales one of the nurses Gatimu mentored 15 years ago.

    Bancy Gatimu on her last day at work hugging nurse Jessica Dizon-Rosales whom she mentored
    Bancy Gatimu on her last day at work hugging nurse Jessica Dizon-Rosales whom she mentored
    Oregonlive.com