A Lynnwood man recognized for his work as a registered nurse and as an outstanding alumnus of his college said the honors have inspired him to give back to both his local community as well as his home country of The Gambia.
Malick Krubally grew up wanting to become a doctor, but The Gambia – located in West Africa – didn’t have medical schools at the time and foreign education was too expensive for his family to afford. As a young boy, Krubally said, his dreams seemed out of reach.
Despite this, Krubally’s parents continually emphasized the power of education to their children and made sure they received as much schooling as possible.
“My parents did all they could to make sure me and my siblings attended school,” Krubally said. “This included my father’s home-school sessions where the language of instruction was Arabic. My dad made sure we were able to read and write in Arabic text, and he especially encouraged us to pursue western education.”
After he graduated high school, Krubally attended The Gambia College of Nursing and Midwifery, where his uncle had earlier received his nursing degree.
“I was inspired by [my uncle’s] work and the role he played in our community, including taking care of my own sick father before he passed,” Krubally said. “After enrolling into the nursing program, I fell in love with the profession and knew that it was my calling to serve.”
After graduating and becoming a registered nurse, Krubally decided to move to the U.S. Eventually, he made his way to Lynnwood, where he put down roots and enrolled in the Western Governors University’s online nursing program to further his schooling.
Krubally said while doing an online nursing program has a number of challenges, the “enriching and engaging program” was well suited for his needs and helped him quickly achieve his goals.
“Since I had a good background in nursing, I was able to prove my competencies in areas that I [already] knew and focus on those I needed to improve,” he said. “Since I was able to transfer my credits from previous colleges, such as Rust College in Mississippi, which I attended for a couple of years, it took me about a little over a year to complete my BSN with WGU.”
Krubally graduated in 2014, becoming a traveling charge nurse who currently works in California. Charge nurses are seen as captains of their respective nursing teams.
“The charge nurse is responsible for running the day-to-day or shift-to-shift workflow of a nursing unit,” he explained. “They assign nursing roles and duties to the rest of the team and … troubleshoot everyday health care challenges, making sure patients receive the optimal care.”
Krubally’s exceptional work quickly caught people’s attention. Since graduating, he has been nominated for the prestigious DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses three times. The award was created to recognize the “super-human work nurses do for patients and families every day.”
Krubally’s first nomination came from a fellow staff member who noticed his above-and-beyond work ethic. His second nomination was from one of his patients who appreciated Krubally’s level of care.
“The third nomination was from my direct supervisor, and it gives me a sense of self-fulfillment and courage,” he said. “As the saying goes: ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’ To that I say: Aluta Continua [the struggle continues].”
Krubally was also nominated by WGU as one of 25 Distinguished Graduates for his professional work in the Lynnwood community.
“This award means a lot to me and serves as an affirmation of the great work there is to do and further energizes me to keep doing greater things for humanity,” he said.
However, Krubally’s hard work doesn’t end with his local service to the community.
In 2014, he decided to start a nonprofit to help the people of West Africa who don’t have easy access to health care.
Growing up, Krubally’s family was always helping others in the community. Whether offering food, supplies or long-term lodging in their own home, his parents taught their son the importance of looking out for others, and Krubally still carries those ideals with him everywhere he goes.
“My father had taught us … to have an open-door policy to help others when possible,” he said. “This family spirit of looking out for others has been embedded in [my] culture and values. After traveling to the U.S. and becoming a nurse, I realized the need to give back to the very institution that laid the foundation for me.”
Together with some colleagues who shared similar dreams, Krubally created the U.S.-Gambia Nurses’ Association and started helping The Gambia College School of Nursing and Midwifery. At the time, the college was facing many struggles and had reached out to organizations in the U.S. for assistance.
“West Africa, like most developing nations, is faced with limited resources and the lack of expertise to address the many problems the world is facing,” he said.
Krubally’s association was able to help the college update its library and supplied the institution with broadband internet access. The college was also outfitted with a computer lab and audiovisual aids for easier learning.
In addition, Krubally created a WhatsApp group chat with members of Koba Kunda, his hometown, to figure out how he could give back to the place where he grew up.
“This group was very successful with impressive and active members,” he said. “We were able to raise over $10,000 to address the water shortage of Koba Kunda … and installed a borehole water supply in the village, fenced the village cemetery and in collaboration, constructed a community worship center. I am proud of this initiative and the board members of [Koba Kunda Diaspora] who worked tirelessly to give back to our hometown.”
The U.S.-Gambia Nurses’ Association is working to provide advanced health care for the people of The Gambia, including a regional referral medical center for the West African sub-region. Krubally hopes this medical center will help address the health care crisis the region is facing, including high maternal and infant mortality rates among other pressing issues.
“The concept is to mitigate such challenges by putting together resources to create an advanced health care system,” he said. “We believe this will go a long way in mitigating some of those challenges. The increased number of premature deaths, maternal and infant mortality rates could be linked to … a lack of an advanced health care system. Many health conditions are not well treated due to the lack of proper diagnoses and treatment options.”
While Krubally is incredibly proud of his nonprofit’s work, he says there are always challenges.
“Like every initiative, there is always a struggle to mobilize people and resources,” he said. “It is challenging to be engaged in such initiatives while working full time and attending school and family engagements.”
The association’s goal is to establish a good health care system in The Gambia, but Krubally said he would like to provide services to as many people as he is able to reach.
“If provided with the necessary resources, I would like to expand and extend my help to whoever I may be able to help wherever possible,” he said. “Together, we can make a difference on the global platform.”
Despite his multiple award nominations and recognitions for his hard work both in the U.S. and abroad, Krubally remains extremely humble.
“My story is not any different from the many Gambians abroad who are doing tremendous work in giving back to our homeland,” he said. “I salute them all.”
–By Lauren Reichenbach