Prathibani Molligoda, a classic synonym for Nightingale | Sunday Observer

Prathibani Molligoda, a classic synonym for Nightingale

3 September, 2023

Ijust wrapped up a skim read on a certain abstract that carried an exalting and stirring statement which has been one of the most celebrated utterances, made by Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing where the lady with the lamp remarked, “No matter how difficult the days may get, don’t forget the reason you became a nurse”.

Over the last weekend, I had a reason to speak to a nurse who is wittingly and consciously abiding by the 163-year-old advice that Nightingale gave to every nurse.

She is Prathibani SriWijayanthi Molligoda, the protagonist of my modern epic. Following her being one of the recipients of the ‘Integrity Icon Award’, offered by Transparency International, for the year 2022/2023, nursing sister Molligoda comes into the limelight.

‘Integrity Icon’ is an award that is offered by the Transparency International in order to honour and felicitate the service, rendered by the most exemplary public sector workers. Born and bred among the leery and wary company of awe-inspiring and resilient parentage while being surrounded by the plucky and reassuring two older siblings, Molligoda was destined to be a nurse.

Becoming a nurse had been her childhood dream and it didn’t materialise overnight. I was all agog with Molligoda’s account of her quest of having wings unto her staunch and intense intrigue and fascination for the smart and prestigious uniform, worn by the Nightingales.

“I often and predominantly dreamt of being attired in this uniform, even when I was a little kid. As you have a childhood dream which is still alight and jerks right at your heart, as you become an adult, you would be in hock to yourself in order to chase to your dream.” Molligoda said.

Scholarship examination

Molligoda has two older siblings. Her father who is no more was a retired officer at the Sri Lanka Airforce while mother is a retired deputy postmaster.

St. Theresa Primary School, Kurudugahahethemma gave Molligoda her primary education and having got through the grade five scholarship examination, she joined Dharmashoka Vidyalaya, Ambalangoda for her secondary education.

“Getting through the grade five scholarship with flying colours was one of the most notable breakthroughs during my school education. I can still recall the then ten-year-old version of myself; getting early at the crack of dawn to have a revision on my daily lessons while still excitedly waiting to rush into play with the friends in the neighbourhood. I strongly believe that young children should have time to be interactive with their friends and play while simultaneously being concerned with their studies too,” Molligoda notes.

Upon getting admitted to the Nursing Training School, she found herself taking the initial steps of realising her childhood dream of becoming a nurse.

Carrie Latet declares that a nurse has an intrinsic knack of giving you hope for life; they are also affectionately known as angels with a stethoscope.

“While being a pupil nurse, I have recurrently felt that nursing school is also among one of the best things you can make in your life. It is not just a utopia that encourages you to live in your imaginations but an idyll that gives you courage to grow up and eventually bring out your actual self. I may even extend a hearty and vigorous invitation to the job seeking young youth to have a crush for a challenging career like nursing,” Molligoda said.

Having successfully followed a three-year nursing diploma, Molligoda got appointed as a nurse. She begins her journey as a nurse initially at the Government hospital, Batapola where she had her first appointment.

Dream becomes reality

“Being attired in the costume that drove my childhood dream into reality was such an enduring experience on which you can hardly comment without being emotional. Anyhow, it remains within me as fresh as it has often been”, Molligoda says. Molligoda’s next destination was the teaching hospital, Karapitiya where any young nurse can brush up knowledge with a sea of experience and wealth of constantly updated knowledge. Her five long years at Karapitiya encouraged her in crucial and remarkable educational achievements in her career as a nurse. During this time, she was determined to further her academic achievements where she studied for the B.Sc. in nursing at the Open University, Sri Lanka; she obtained her bachelor’s with a second upper class.

While being at the university,she was primarily distinguished with academic excellence where she received a certificate for the best student performance, awarded by the Dean of the faculty.

Upon her graduation, Molligoda took over her duties at the base hospital, Elpitiya. Psychological counselling is her next forte; she enrolled herself for a diploma in psychological counselling at the Ruhuna University. Molligoda notes that the domain of psychological counselling has the potential of making an intense and profound impact on the lives of everybody; individuals, families, and communities.

Psychological counselling is one of the indispensable and most sought after disciplines that provides the required tools, shrewdness, and sagacity to manage and advocate issues related to your mental health. Over the years, psychological counselling has evolved into an aspect that has become a sine-qua-non element in empowering people of all sorts to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.


Molligoda highlights that her decision of becoming a psychology counsellor was fuelled by the chances of being able to extend her helping hand to the individuals who are desperately in need of overcoming many problems, existing or projected to come in the future.

As stated by Molligoda, it is evident that the swift and speedy social changes combined with ever growing levels of rivalry, competition and stress have undoubtedly led to diverse and baffling issues.

Whist being armed with a diploma in psychological counselling, Molligoda’s entry into the Post Primary Nursing School to get trained as a Nursing sister was facilitated by a competitive exam that she got through. At the Post Primary Nursing School, Molligoda obtained the Diploma in Management and Supervision.

She also has a diploma in Midwifery to her credit. Becoming the youngest Nursing sister in 2022 in the Southern provincial council is another milestone in her odyssey of Nursing. She is currently into the latter part of her master’s degree in nursing at the International Institute of Health Services (IIHS).

Molligoda is the recipient of several accolades that include the ‘Dhakshina Suwa Abimani’ - an award, offered for the exceptional health sector professionals in the Southern Province.

Molligoda is a synonym for a working mother who does not complain on her contributions that keep her family fire burning. She also does not compromise on her commitments and accountability for her career and the family life. She has two children and her husband who is away from the island on a working assignment.