“Bakit hindi mo na lang kasi ako pinag-accountancy, edi sana, may maayos na akong trabaho ka-graduate ko.”
This is a statement that I told my mother as I have reached my third year in college. I was struck by anger with the realization that the green pasture promised for nurses is now just a fantasy. Jobless nurses. My sister still a volunteer. Volunteer nurses, the so called “nurse trainees” who ‘pays hospitals’ for work experience, and those who are forced to work as call center agents — these ideas have enlightened me that we are indeed oversupplied, and the previously open-doors of other countries have closed shut as well.
I have mentioned, and is evident in my posts that I am a nurse. I passed the 2011 Nursing Licensure Examination, and have worked as a volunteer nurse in a secondary hospital in our province. I have been one of those who patiently waited for job order contracts, and even waited for a little subsidy or perhaps an allowance from our hospital, but I just kept waiting. Until I can’t.
I entered a university aimed to take Nursing. I didn’t even thought of being a nurse since I was a child. I dreamt to become a botanist (the one who does experiments on plants) when I was in grade school. I thought of becoming a computer engineer in high school. And had some thoughts on becoming a doctor, but being a nurse have never crossed my mind.
So, why nursing?
I don’t know. I maybe was coerced by my mom to take this degree. She told me before that being a nurse will somehow uplift our economic status, make me stable in terms of job security and salary, and she has been blinded by the chance of nurses going abroad. The typical why-you-took-up-nursing story. Well, as for me, being a very good son, I followed my mom’s opinion.
The white uniform has always become a problem. I am not an OC for clothing. I just hate the fact that if I move from place to place, my white uniform gets soiled. Move a little in my chair, I gets a little patch of dirt which makes me quite furious.
But, the bigger problem is the heavy load of things that you need to do. You study for today, then exams will be given tomorrow. After that exam, another one will be given the next day. That’s how rigorous and fast paced our first two years are. Failing an exam is not an option. You have to always remind yourself to do your very best and score high, as failing a general education subject are not yet ‘the real deal’ in nursing. So why fail?
On-the-job training comes next and we call it RLE or Related Learning Experience. And the true value of being a nurse sets in. You get to work with different kinds patients, nurses and doctors, prepare medications, deal with the patient’s problems and write very long reports about their condition (which I hate).
Being a personal nurse to a patient entails responsibility but also gains. It entails a lot of responsibility, because a single mistake can cause the deterioration of a patient. Giving the wrong dosage, improper positioning your patient, and even not raising the bed’s side rails can put your patient at risk. It has a lot of gains because you obtain experience and life’s lessons from being a nurse. Who wouldn’t appreciate a plastic of soft drink and a piece of bread from a patient? (Well, this is not that accepted, but who are you to throw a gift, right? Haha)
What made me realize that I have made the right choice is when we had our duty in a hospital one time. A patient was endorsed to be very rude to her assigned nurses.One of my groupmates was assigned to Mrs. M as her nurse. At the end of the day, we saw our groupmate and she was in the brink of crying. She told us how bad she felt and insisted that she doesn’t want to be assigned to that same patient again. She said that the Mrs. M shouted at her and told our clinical instructor that she is incompetent. Who wouldn’t be deeply hurt with that?
The following day, our instructor insisted that we still need to handle Mrs. M, for her condition is good to be studied and handled. And guess who was assigned to handle Mrs. M that day. . .
It was me.
The first day and first time of seeing Mrs. M, she already gave me that ‘tiger-look’. I was not intimidated, instead I greeted her, but did not give even a smirk or a nod for a reply. There’s nothing I can do. The patient is in pain. Why should I be add more to her burden?
She complained of unbearable pain in her left foot and as her nurse, my first instinct was to report it to the doctor and ask if pain medications can be prescribed to her. But this will just lead to another problem. Giving an additional drug to her dozens of medications would be an additional expense and I can see that’s the last thing she would want.
Thinking past that, I washed my hands and put them into her foot and started massaging her. She was in shock and felt her foot jerk away a little but she chose to stay put. My groupmates begin looking at me and giving me grins which I think are kinda insulting at the same time embarrassing, but I just ignored them and continued. And guess what?
Mrs. M gave me a smile and a sigh of relief. Something that other nurses do not see everyday.
That smile was a trophy for me. You can always get smiles and even ‘thank yous’ from patients but this is one-of-a-kind and special. Trust me, this one smile encouraged me to become even more caring to patients no matter how good or rude they are.
The next day, I was assigned again to take care of Mrs. M. And my groupmates were uncontrollably laughing at me.
This time, upon seeing me, she gave me another smile and greeted me a ‘good morning’ before I can even say one. As our of duty goes by, and despite the fact that we have to switch patients every day, I was permanently assigned to handle Mrs. M, on which I did not refuse. Sometimes, I would sit at the end of her bed and she would share her woes, her family problems and almost everything about her. Her son, who was alone in taking care of Mrs. M, treated me like an older brother. We talked everyday and every time we had our duty. I even managed to have a contract with Mrs. M and his son that they are to follow my instructions. We helped with her personal hygiene, getting the exercises she needed and planned her low-salt and low-fat meals as she is hypertensive.
The once bedridden, weak and lethargic patient who always grimaces came back to her old self.
The one who can’t even move herself from the bed can now sit on her own.
The once intimidating patient who made my groupmate almost burst in to tears is once again nice and quite talkative and hopes she will go out of the hospital soon.
As for me, I brought something new everyday, a new thought or an advice, and new things that would make her feel better each day.
As our midterms examination is coming to a close, we need to momentarily stop our hospital duty for a week and take a series of examinations first. I bid goodbye and promised to go back again next week. Mrs. M and I both expected a good “next week” and we’re both looking forward to it.
The exam-week was over and it was very distressing and exhausting. Going back to the hospital to have our duty, I was very happy to meet Mrs. M that day. I was surprised and happy to see that Mrs. M was removed from the hospital’s list of patients. I was glad that she was discharged and asked another student nurse to tell me how it happened. And I can’t believe what he said.
He said that Mrs. M had a respiratory arrest just this morning and she was not revived.
The very bad news hit me slowly, for a few minutes I was lost in my thoughts and shocked of what happened. I thought everything we have done is to make her better. She did felt better, and she even told me she was better before I left. But still, why would this happen?
Several thoughts boggled my mind. Did I do something wrong? Or are the other nurses doing their job right? Did the doctors neglect her? I can’t pinpoint someone for what happened. And the thought of what might happen to his son, whom I found out to be 15 years old and was adopted by Mrs. M, will be left alone with no family left. This gave me chills and a long sigh.
I remember one statement Mrs. M said before:
“Ang swerte ko sa’yo, dapat ikaw na lang ang nurse ko palagi. Ang swerte sa’yo ng parents mo” [I am lucky to have you, you should always be my nurse. Your parents are lucky of you too!]
Wherever you are now, remember that you are remembered. You may be my patient, but I cared for you as if you’re my own mother.
Going back, I still don’t know why I put BS Nursing as my course of choice in my application form. I could have wrote “BS Accountancy” or “BS Computer Engineering” in my application form, right? It might be a divine intervention. And I don’t regret writing it down. I might not be the perfect nurse in the world, but I know that I’ve become one, even just to one patient.
What’s with the white uniform? I think that’s something only nurses will know.
And oh! I AM A NURSE.
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