So, what's with the white uniform?
Bakit hindi mo na lang kasi ako pinag-accountancy, edi sana, may maayos na akong trabaho ka-graduate ko.(Why didn't you have me take Accountancy instead, as I might have a stable job right after I graduate.)
This one 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 a fantasy. Jobless nurses, my sister still a volunteer (at that time), volunteer nurses, the so called "nurse trainees" (who pay hospitals to give them work experience), and those who are forced to work as call center agents - these ideas have enlightened me that we are oversupplied, and the previously open-doors of other countries have closed 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 from our hospital, (an allowance, maybe?), but I just kept waiting. I can't.
Well, I entered a university aimed to take Nursing. I didn't even think 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. I 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. Well, me, being a very good son, I followed my mom's opinions.
The white uniform has always became a problem. I am not an OC for clothing. I just move from another place, I get dirt. Move in my chair, I get dirt. But, the bigger problem is the load of things that you need to do. Study, then exams tomorrow. After the exam tomorrow, study again for the quiz tomorrow. That's how rigorous our first two years are. Failing exams is not an option. You have to always remember that you need to do it very well, as you are just taking general education subjects, and those are not the real deal. So why fail? *and my post is getting very long*
Third year comes in, and this is getting serious. If failure is not an option before, failing is now one. One small mistake can make you running towards the gates of the college. Why is it an option? You have a choice! Choose not to study, you fail. That's how it is.
On-the-job training comes next. And the true value of being a nurse sets in. You work with people, you work with medications, you write very very very very long reports on the patient (which I hate), and you deal with patients and their needs.
Well, being a personal nurse to a patient entails a lot of responsibility, and a lot of gains. It's a lot of responsibility, because one mistake can kill a patient. Give the wrong dosage, do improper positioning, and even not raising the bed's side rails can put the patient at risk. It's a lot of gains because you gain experience and life's lessons from being a nurse. Who wouldn't appreciate a plastic of softdrinks and bread from a patient? (Well, this is not that accepted, but who are you to throw a gift, right? Haha)
*and again, it's getting longer*
What made me realize that I made the right choice is when I had a rotation in a hospital. A patient was endorsed to become very very rude to her personal nurses, and as we had our rotation, one groupmate handled her as her patient. At the end of the day, our mate came to us, with tears just waiting to fall, and told us that she doesn't want that patient again. She stated that the patient shouted at her, and told our clinical instructor that she is incompetent. (Well, who wouldn't be hurt with that?)
The next day, our instructor came to a decision that we still need to handle that patient, for her condition is good to study and handle. And guess who handled the patient?
First day of dealing with the patient, she already showed the tiger look. Well, I am not intimidated. I greeted the patient, no reply. There's nothing I can do. The patient is in pain? Why add more?
She complained of foot pain, and it is unbearable. As a nurse, my first instinct is to report to the doctor and expect pain medications to be prescribed to the patient. But that is another problem. Give an additional drug to her dozens of drugs, and additional expenses. Thinking beyond that, I washed my hands, and put them into her feet. She was shocked. I began massaging her foot, and even though the patient looked awkward, she let me do it. Groupmates are starting to look at me and give me grins that I think are not that good. Other patients, the same. (Without the grin, of course.) Not thinking about those, I continued. And guess what?
The patient smiled. A very rare occurrence to occur.
Well, that smile is a trophy for me. You always get smiles from patients, but this one is one-of-a-kind. Trust me. This one encouraged me to become more and more caring to this patient, and for others. The next day, our instructor assigned me again to the patient. My groupmates are laughing uncontrollably at me.
However, upon seeing me, she smiled. Another day, same patient again, and days have gone by, just taking care to this patient. She told me her woes, her family problems, almost everything about her. Her child (who is just the one taking care of her) treated me as his older brother. We talked everyday, and everytime we have our duty. I had a contract with his child and her mother that they are to follow my instructions, if they want. We (her son and I) provided proper hygiene, good exercise, and had planned her meals (low salt, low fat, as she is hypertensive). The once bedridden, weak and lethargic patient (who always has grimaces) came back to her old self. The one who can't sit back then can now sit on her own. The once intimidating one became nice and talkative. And hoping that she will go out of the hospital soon, I brought something new everyday, new thoughts, new advice, new things that would make her better each day.
Well, as midterms is has come, we needed to stop our hospital duty and take the series of examinations first, I think, for a week. We needed to say goodbye for a week, and go back again next week. Both the patient and I expected a very good "next week", and I am looking forward to it.
The exams are over, and they are very distressing. Going back to the hospital to have my duty, I was happy to meet the patient that day. Well, I'm surprised to see that the patient has been removed from the hospital list of patients. Glad that she was discharged, I asked another student nurse, and told me..
The patient just had respiratory arrest just this morning. And she was not revived.
The very very bad news struck me. I thought everything we have done is good. She felt better, she seemed better, and told me she was better, before I leave. Several questions have boggled my mind. Did I do something wrong? Did the nurses do something wrong? Did the doctors do something wrong? Well, I can't pinpoint someone for what happened. Another thing is, what will happen to her son? (He is just 14 or 15 years old, has no family left, and is just adopted by his mother)
Well, I remember one statement she has said before, as we talk.
Ang swerte ko sa'yo, dapat ikaw na lang ang nurse ko palagi. Ang swerte sa'yo ng parents mo. (I am lucky because I have you, and you should always be my nurse. Your parents are lucky of you, too.)
Wherever you are now, remember that you are remembered. I may have considered you as my patient, but I cared for you as I will care for my mother.
I still don't know why I put BS Nursing as my course of choice in my application form. I could've put BS Accountancy or BS Computer Engineering in my application form, right?
It might be divine intervention. And I don't regret writing it down.
I might not be the most perfect nurse in the world, but I know that I've become one, even to just one patient.
What's with the white uniform? I think that it's something that nurses only know.
And oh, I AM A NURSE.