‘I know I’m called to do this’: Naba Mambureh on chasing her dream

For Naba Mambureh, helping others is not just something she does for work. Helping others is the defining principle with which she lives her life. 

Growing up in The Gambia in West Africa, Naba saw empathy and care exemplified by medical workers in her community. Their selflessness instilled a passion for walking with others in difficult times and a love for healthcare.

“Helping others has been a part of who I am for a long time,” Naba said. “Growing up and seeing those in the medical field around me, I saw how important medical workers were in peoples’ most vulnerable moments. By the time I got to high school, I knew I wanted to become a nurse.”

In high school, Naba gravitated towards science classes, further fanning the flames of future medical pursuits. After high school, Naba and her sister, Fatou, immigrated to the U.S., settling in Memphis because of established familial ties.  

After adjusting to her new home, Naba enrolled in CNA courses in August 2020. While attending, she received an email from her program with information about HireLocal’s soft skills program. Itching to make connections and kickstart her career, Naba applied and was accepted.

“I learned important skills that went beyond healthcare,” Naba said. “They taught work ethics, digital citizenship, and common workplace practices. But most importantly, they helped me make connections with Methodist hospitals.”

Once Naba completed HireLocal’s soft skills program, we remained connected. While working at a Methodist Hospital as a CNA, Naba turned her sights to a nursing degree. She enrolled at The Tennessee College of Applied Technology

“When I applied for The Tennessee College of Applied Technology, HireLocal was there for me,” Naba said. “They reached out before my interview and helped me prep. Once you go through their courses, they don’t leave you. They are always there to help you tackle certain questions and situations.”

Energized from her experience with HireLocal, Naba encouraged her sister, Fatou, to enroll. Now, Fatou is also making strides in her medical career, working at the same hospital as Naba. 

This past month, Naba graduated from TCAT as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Although her coursework was laborious, she describes her shifts at Methodist on weekends as the fuel that kept her fire for the field burning. 

“Every time I hit that nursing floor, I get fired up. It’s like something is injected into me,” Naba said. “Having days away from school and living out what I’m called to do always reminded me during my classwork that I can succeed and must succeed because I love to do this.”

That thrill hasn’t left her. Even after graduation, each subsequent shift is just as exhilarating as the last. 

“Patient care is the most exciting and motivating thing for me,” Naba said. “We have patients where it’s no longer easy for them just to be human. When things like drinking water, eating, and other things they’re used to doing for themselves suddenly become hard, it has a profound effect.”

“Being the person in their life to have that empathy and compassion to dig in and care about their situation and help them through it is meaningful to me,” Nada continued. “When you’re genuine in your care, you can see the light on patients’ faces return when you help them.”

Now a licensed nurse, Naba is working towards securing a role as an LPN. She’s taking life step by step but enjoys every minute of her journey regardless of obstacles thrown her way. 

“Be patient with your patients, and take it moment by moment because they need that,” Nada said. “Even when I’m exhausted from a long shift, I still love it because I know this is my path. I am called to do this.”

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