Chosen at the last minute, the nursing profession turned into a vocation
Baiba Kasakovska, a graduate of both the bachelor’s and master’s Nursing Studies programmes at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) calls herself a modern nurse because she welcomes patients with a smile, is understanding, responsive and knowledgeable. She believes that the nursing profession is a special calling for capable personalities with inexhaustible energy and a benevolence towards others.
‘Despite the challenges and the arduous daily routine, I am happy to work in medicine and to be able to do well, because it is definitely a job that gives me fulfilment,’ says the young nurse with confidence.
'The nursing profession is beautiful and feminine, so I like to look good every day,' says Baiba Kasakovska with a smile. Photo from personal archive.
Baiba Kasakovska provides wound care and dressing in the Latvian Centre of Plastic, Reconstructive and Microsurgery, prepares patients for surgery, assists doctors during medical manipulations, and also takes care of patient documentation, among other duties.
‘A good nurse must be a doctor’s eyes and ears, because patients often tell nurses more than doctors,’ Baiba adds.
While studying at RSU, she tried to take advantage of all the opportunities the university provided: she went on student exchange trips, was elected the leader of her group, was a member of the Faculty Council and participated in the Student Union representing her peers. ‘I received a scholarship for good academic performance, and it was an important financial support for my family during my studies,’ says the RSU graduate.
Why did you become a nurse?
I was not one of those people who knew what I wanted to be from a young age – I didn’t dream of working in medicine, although I remember playing with my sister treating our grandmother as a patient. As the years passed, it became necessary to choose a field of study. I believe that nursing chose me, because I made the decision very spontaneously. A quick decision turned into a vocation, and something I am now very passionate about.
Why did you choose to work in the private sector after having worked in public medical institutions?
The private medical sector enticed me with better working conditions, a higher salary and better working hours.
I am currently working at the Latvian Centre of Plastic, Reconstructive and Microsurgery that provides assistance in aesthetic, reconstructive and hand surgery. It is the only clinic like this in Latvia and the largest one in the Baltic States. The doctors at the clinic carry out word-class, unique surgeries. I am proud of working in such a strong team.
Baiba Kasakovska and Kalvis Pastars, Head of the Latvian Centre of Plastic, Reconstructive and Microsurgery. Photo from private archive.
Can you earn a decent salary by working in the private sector so that you do not have to work at several workplaces?
Yes, as long as you are determined!
I have never had two or more jobs at the same time. I have always had one job and I have never been tormented by the headache of combining several jobs. I tried to find a job that had everything I wanted and with a good salary.
I believe that the remuneration must be good enough that you can cover all your expenses and so that you have money for food and daily necessities and even be able to put some away towards savings.
In addition, I advise everyone to remember that the first months at work will never reflect the maximum salary you could get – there is no need to fear that your initial salary will be the same as in the previous workplace. An employer in the private sector will test their employees in exactly the same way as in the public sector. If you can prove yourself and are ready to work, you can get a good salary.
Baiba (first from right) together with nurses Linda Puikāne and Kristina Rosovska in a phlebology master class at Dr. Mauriņš’ clinic. Photo from private archive.
It’s summer and new students are currently being admitted to RSU. Who in your opinion should choose to study nursing?
The nursing profession in Latvia needs forward-thinking, eager, precise and responsible employees. You should keep up with the times and it is important to know foreign languages. You should be active, have good communication skills and you should regularly attend courses and events to improve your professional skills.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of RSU. What do you wish for the future of your university?
RSU has always been proud of its high standards. These values must definitely be preserved and developed, as only they can help to educate resilient, intelligent and empathetic medical professionals.
Additional facts about Baiba Kasakovska
- Age: 31
- 2011: Graduated from the RSU Nursing Studies bachelor’s programme
- 2013: Graduated from the RSU Nursing Studies master’s programme
- 9 years’ work experience as a nurse
- Currently working at the Latvian Centre for Plastic, Reconstructive and Microsurgery
- Originally from Rēzekne: ‘I love my native Latgalian dialect. We speak Latgalian at home and I am not ashamed to greet and address patients in Latgalian in Riga as well,’ Baiba says proudly
- Hobbies: sports, reading books and playing the piano
- Has been a doping control officer in sport since 2017