Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | March 7, 2023

The Sure and Steady Rise of Vida Gyamfi

There’s a single detail in the story of Vida Gyamfi that reveals just how resourceful she is. Gyamfi arrived in North Carolina in 2013 from her native Ghana. She’d worked as a nurse back home and had her sights set on doing the same thing in the U.S. The only problem? The long, complicated licensure process for nurses trained outside of the United States. So for starters, she secured a housekeeping job at Duke Raleigh Hospital. “My husband told me about Duke,” she recalls. “He said it was a really good school so I said ‘I am going to go to Duke.’”

Here’s where that detail comes in: Gyamfi got herself assigned to the emergency department at the hospital and got right to work, not only cleaning but chatting up nearby nursing assistants like Terry Muturi and Obed Vanboven about how they got where they were. “Housekeeping is a vital job,” Gyamfi says. “In the hospital setting, we cannot do without cleanliness. I knew how important it was, so I was very dedicated.”

Gyamfi wasn’t about to give up on her nursing dreams, which began under the saddest circumstances imaginable. “As a young girl in Ghana, I witnessed my two brothers suffer from the effects of Sickle Cell Disease and saw the pain my parents had to endure.” Both brothers died at the age of six from their first sickle cell crisis due to poor management, Gyamfi says. “Two days before the death of one of my brothers, the doctor discharged him prematurely. My best friend’s mom was an experienced nurse and advocated for his readmission. Her actions and the above life situations sparked my desire to pursue a career in health to serve the people and create awareness of such preventable diseases.”

Early in Gyamfi’s tenure with the Duke Raleigh housekeeping team, charge nurse Melissa Wilson took note of her work ethic and smarts. So did educator Erin Harris and operations administrator Molly Frazier. “Melissa saw that I was astute,” Gyamfi says. “I told her that soon I would be working with her!” Less than a year later, the prediction came true. In August 2014, Gyamfi made the switch from housekeeping to nursing, starting work on the 4th floor at Duke Raleigh Hospital after earning her NA1 certification from CareOne Health Institute. She added her NA2 certification in 2016, became a U.S. Registered Nurse in 2017 and a Progressive Care Certified Nurse in 2020. 

Duke benefit programs like Employee Tuition Assistance and the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account–not to mention certification bonuses–have helped her along her path, Gyamfi says. She also raves about the scheduling flexibility afforded to her by various managers, a key as she and her husband welcomed three children. “Duke is a great environment in which to work. It’s very family oriented.”

Like Gyamfi’s family, her career continues to blossom. She earned her Family Nurse Practitioner certification last November and will finish an endocrinology specialty program at the Duke University School of Nursing this coming December. What then? Immediately apply for a full-time Family Nurse Practitioner job, of course. Just like she always planned. Some day, she says, she hopes to build a specialty clinic in Ghana. Don’t bet against it.

“I have a friend who says, ‘No matter how big a tree is, it can never make a forest.’ Every hospital job is important, from housekeeping to nursing. We need everybody. Whatever you are doing, keep on shining.”

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  1. I’ve followed your journey…Congratulations on all of your achievements!

  2. Congratulations Vida, from one African to another I am so proud of you. That’s the story of the USA, if you work hard and prepare yourself, you will accomplish your dreams.

  3. Congrats Vida! Outstanding story!

  4. Congratulations Sis Vida . You indeed inspire me alot . I’m happy for you. Congratulations

  5. I’m not surprise at all at reading this. I’ve known Vida since 2001 from nursing school in Ghana, and her sense of direction and discipline will take her to whatever goal she sets her mind to achieve.
    I’m so proud of you my beautiful and brainy sis🥰

  6. Congratulations sis. You’ve worked hard and God has been gracious. We’re soo proud of you

  7. It comes as no surprise to me. This is the Vida I know since 1992 in the early days of my primary school education. Well done Vida. Can’t wait to see your hospital operational in Ghana

  8. Congratulations, Sister Vida. God is not done with you yet.

  9. Congratulations 🎊 dear,we’re proud of you.

  10. Congratulations Vida. This is not surprising because you are a go hetter. God continue to guide you in your pursuit

  11. I’m not surprised one bit. I’ve always admired her since Junior High School days. Very smart, super intelligent and highly dedicated, with every goal she sets her mind to achieve. Her very calm, gentle, but affable nature made her so easy to like. I mean, you couldnt miss noticing her anywhere because she stands out due to her personality. Keep soaring, Vida. You deserve the BEST!!!

  12. Congratulations Vida, I know you are capable. You have made us proud. You really deserve it. Way to go!

  13. This is such an uplifting story of resilience and commitment. Thank you for sharing your story

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