by Linda Friedel | Reprinted courtesy of KC Nursing News

Komla Badjalimbe never intended to become a nurse.

He left his home country of Togo to study business at Wichita State University, but a part-time job opened his eyes.

“It really changed my life truly,” said Badjalimbe, RN, BSN, critical care float nurse at Overland Park Regional Medical Center (OPRMC).

Badjalimbe left a factory assembly line to work in a nursing care facility during college. One of his patients, a physician, saw something in Badjalimbe he did not see in himself. Badjalimbe said he loved caring for patients in the skilled nursing center. He found it to be more rewarding than a job.

“He spent so much time talking to me about caring about people,” he said. “I thought about it. He was my patient. We just became friends. That’s when I started looking into it.”

Badjalimbe transferred from Wichita State to MidAmerica Nazarene University to pursue a degree in nursing. While earning his BSN, Badjalimbe worked as a patient technician at OPRMC, where he bonded with the staff and patients, he said. Badjalimbe liked the family atmosphere and saw potential for his future.

“I loved the manager I worked with,” he said. “It’s like a family.”

Badjalimbe stayed on at OPRMC after earning his BSN in 2010, where he floats in critical care. Patients face a vulnerable time in critical care, and do not know what to expect, he said. Badjalimbe builds trust with the patients and their families, reassuring them of his ability to care for them, he said.

“No matter what patient walks through the door, I can take care of them,” he said. “The satisfaction comes when they are in improving. That’s a good moment. You make a difference in their lives.”

Badjalimbe said the world is very selfish, but nursing offers him a way to make a positive impact. He says though he is getting paid for what he does, nursing is not about the money.

“You are making them smile,” Badjalimbe said. “Somewhere people still care. I love it. I love every minute of it. I look forward to going to work.”

Badjalimbe recently became a U.S. citizen. He applied to graduate school to study as a nurse anesthetist and will know by the end of the month. Badjalimbe said he is fascinated with the field of anesthesiology.

“You are keeping them alive,” he said. “The whole physiology behind it— the whole challenge, that’s just mind-blowing.”

Badjalimbe said he is so enthusiastic about nursing, he convinced a friend to pursue the field. He highly recommends nursing for men, he said.

“Doctors run in and run out,” he said. “They are always in a hurry to go. They have so many patients to see. I feel like I have more time to really connect with my patients.”

Sue Marchetta, RN, BSN, MA, director of ICU has known Badjalimbe since he was a patient technician at OPRMC.

“We love him,” she said. “He is just an amazing person and nurse. He has the most beautiful smile. He is so calming.”

One family member felt so calmed by Komla that she was able to go home and sleep, Marchetta said.

“He’s just a holistic nurse. He cares about everything,” Marchetta said. “Clinically he has become so proficient.”