Former Nursing Aide Returns to Profession
Mary Sui and her husband, John, fled their native Burma for Malaysia to escape another arbitrary jailing by the military junta. Not long before, John had been swept up and put in jail while waiting for a bus to work one morning when a protest was going on. After he was let out, says Mary, "The military kept coming by the house; they didn't like that we were Christians."
Before fleeing, Mary worked as a nursing assistant, having graduated from the Falam Nursing Training School in Chin State of Burma.
When the couple was resettled by IRC Atlanta in November 2009, Mary enthusiastically joined all of the adult education classes that IRC Atlanta offers. Her goal was to get back into nursing world. She took two levels of English, as well as computer literacy classes. When she entered IRC's Job Readiness class, she knew she was getting closer to her goal. Recalls Mary, "I said, Teacher Debi, can you help me to volunteer as a nursing assistant?"
Deborah Cash Bargabus called Divine Hospice, a home care nursing facility interested in hosting refugee volunteers, and they agreed to let Mary apply. Recalls Debi, "Once the Divine Hospice staff met her, recognized her speaking, reading and writing English ability, along with her contagious positive attitude," they decided to sponsor Mary to complete a nursing aide course here in the US, so that she would have the right certifications to work professionally at the hospice.
Mary was thrilled, and attended classes from 5 to 9:30 on weekday evenings to complete the 100 hour course. Unable to afford the required textbook, she borrowed a copy from the public library in order to succeed. This month, Mary took her exam. While tackling the practical and written portions with ease, Mary concedes that the oral exam was challenging because it is still hard for her to express herself confidently in English.
Skilled, resourceful and studious, however, Mary passed the exam, and now possesses a certification that qualifies her to work in Georgia as a Nursing Aide.
Asked what she likes about her chosen profession, Mary's bursts into a smile. "I like to take care of patients. Many are elderly, paralyzed; they can't walk. But I am healthy and can help them...When I give patients a sponge bath, they are clean again, or when they can't feed themselves and I feed them, they are full. Then they are light and happy, and they thank me."