Finding My Purpose Through Nursing

My Name is Chilufya Kabwe And This Is My Story…

As I was growing up, studying medicine was the furthest thing on my mind. I had always imagined myself as a lawyer. Little did I know that my career path would change in a way I least expected.  One morning, I went to my local clinic because I was feeling unwell. Upon arrival, I was surprised and dismayed to see a long queue of patients waiting to be attended to. The line moved at a snail’s pace fueling my sense of impatience.

Finally, as I edged closer to being served, I realized that there were far too few health care workers in comparison to the number of patients requiring medical attention.  “No wonder the line is moving so slowly I thought”. It was at that moment that I truly appreciated the service being provided and that the health care system needed more staff.


From that day onwards my career path changed. I wanted to be a solution to a problem and so I decided to become a nurse guided by deep compassion to make a difference. I did my general nursing at Mukinge School of Nursing.  Thereafter, I trained in theatre nursing at Lusaka School of Nursing. Currently, I work at the Cancer Diseases Hospital as a theatre nurse.  Part of my job is to promote and provide patient safety and care before, during and after surgery. I regard surgery as a critical treatment option not just for cancer but other medical conditions. I have high regard for surgery and give it the respect it deserves because I have seen many lives transformed through it.

So, what is exactly is surgery? It can be defined as “the branch of medical practice that treats injuries, diseases, and deformities by the physical removal, repair, or readjustment of organs and tissues, often involving cutting into the body.”


Physically, surgery is often painful.  As I try my best to help reduce this pain in patients, I don’t forget the emotional, mental and even spiritual distress our patients go through, especially if it results in losing a part of their body and remaining with a life-long scar.  This trauma is very often inevitable that is why I choose to “spread my wings” beyond the four walls of the theatre room by providing holistic health care to them.


Cancer patients go through many challenges. For women in particular, losing a body part such as a breast can be devastating. I know of a woman who, after breast removal surgery was divorced. There are other similar stories of separation and divorce because a husband does not want a wife with one or no breasts.  This is so heart breaking and amplifies the point that  a lot  still needs to be done in counselling couples and getting men actively involved in cancer care issues.

To everyone who has lost a part of their body through surgery, remember that life goes on. And the most important thing is life!


Despite the challenges in dealing with cancer control, my dream is to see Zambia becoming a Centre of Excellence not only in Southern Africa but in the world.  With collaborative efforts from all stakeholders I believe this is achievable.


To broaden my knowledge in the cancer in order to better serve patients, I am currently specializing in oncology (cancer) nursing. I love what I do, and I reached out to The Zambian Cancer Society to encourage my fellow youth to choose their careers wisely! I also reached out to use this opportunity to get feedback from the readers on how we can collectively improve the quality of life of cancer patients.


It is so gratifying to live your life on purpose.  As the saying goes, ‘success doesn’t just find you. The more you work at something you enjoy the more fulfilled you are.”

Pictured below is Chilufya Kabwe. #zambiancancersociety #breakingthesilenceoncancer #localcontentcreators #iwdzambiancancersociety