Mohammad Hamka, RN, BSN // On the Frontline of Healthcare - 3.0
Hamka is newly the Clinical Nurse Manager of POHA/PACU in Dearborn, MI and already he has taken on quite the role during the COVID-19 crisis. During the peak weeks he helped successfully convert POHA/PACU at his institution into a fully functioning, 24/7 ICU. This transition allowed for Covid positive patients to be designated to the normal ICU, SICU and CCU units while keeping critical patients without the virus in a safe area. He values his fellow co-workers and their flexibility, determination, and innovation during these times. He serves as a great resource for his staff and the love for his profession and new role are apparent in the way he carries himself on a day to day basis.
Mohammad Hamka RN, BSN
Tell us a little about yourself and your background-where did you grow up? Do you have any family members in healthcare?
My name is Mohammad Hamka, I was born in the city of Detroit and raised mostly in Dearborn. I am a first generation US born citizen and the youngest of six children. My parents came from Lebanon in the early 1970s, fleeing both international and domestically fueled political unrest. Much of my family, including extended family, works in the educational realm. I have a sister who works as a medical assistant at a pediatric clinic. I am a clinical manager of a POHA/PACU unit.
We love people who break the boundaries and relentlessly push toward their goals. That said, what drove you to pursue such a demanding career? Was there an event or a personal moment that triggered it all?
We all have an origin story. My oldest sibling was diagnosed with a brain tumor before I was even born. She underwent life saving surgery. However, after her craniotomy, she was left with life altering cognitive and motor difficulties that hindered her independence from both a mobility and communication aspect. One of my earliest memories was dialing 911 as she was seizing, I believe that’s when my story began. Since I was a young child, I learned the care aspect of nursing from my mom as we cared for my sister. All that was missing was the cure aspect, which I picked up from Wayne State University in 2012.
Why do you choose to get out of bed every morning (or afternoon/night) to come in to work? What does it mean to you to be fueled by choice?
I get out of bed and come in to work because I understand that caring for others, no matter to what degree, is a privilege that needs to be re-earned each chance we are given. Being fueled by choice means being in full control of what you can contribute to this world and controlling that destiny to the best of our abilities.
Amidst the current pandemic, you’ve been placed in a lot of challenging situations while caring for patients. Can you discuss a positive experience that you might have had? Or even a takeaway from all of the madness?
In the midst of the pandemic, my team and I were faced with challenges we could never previously imagine. In just 24 hours, we converted a POHA/PACU unit into a fully functioning, around-the-clock ICU. It was the most team oriented project I’ve ever been a part of, the amount of innovation and determination displayed in those 24 hours and the following weeks was unlike anything I’ve witnessed firsthand. From a clinical aspect to a logistical aspect, it was like riding the perfect wave. There were challenges but there was a flurry of solutions shortly after. Almost every discipline in the hospital pitched in to make this a reality, interdepartmental bonds were created, and people who would’ve never met each other otherwise became close friends.
What mantra do you want the world to remember you by?
“Why not me?”
What do you like to do outside of work to keep your mind occupied? Hobbies?
Outside of work, I like to keep an active lifestyle to keep my mind right. My favorite hobby would be running. Marathon training is always a humbling experience. It helps me grow as a human every single year as I push myself to do better, to ask the question, “why not me?” It’s a difficult question to ask yourself, it puts you in check if you’re not truly giving your best at any task you’ve chosen to take on. It’s also very easy to say at mile 20 when you’re about to hit “the wall.”