Nursing. It’s not for EVERYONE.

  I don’t think Nursing is for me. 

Nursing is for people who have a lot of patience, who can endure long hours of work (and additional hours if required), who can sacrifice family and other important matters just to be there for the patients. Nursing is for those who can tolerate being shouted at, berrated and demanded of all the things needed to be done, sometimes forgetting that a Nurse has some needs too, which is frequently ignored in order to fulfill his/her duty. Nursing is for those who can maintain their composure even if the people around them are insulting them or trying to put them down.

Nursing is for people who goes out of their way helping patients in need even if it’s out of their job description. Nursing is for those who knows how to separate their own personal feelings when they have done the best they could and still lose a patient. Nurses strive to help the sick and the dying, even risking their own health. 

Nursing is for those who can work even if they are not appreciated for all the hard work they’ve done. Nursing is for those who feels that even if the world around them seems to crumble, a simple and sincere gesture from someone who finally appreciated them means a whole lot more than a plaque or an award from the hospital management. 

All of that said, and being a Nurse for almost 8 years, I know that this job is not for me. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve gone through all these things. I saw that despite the working condition of the Nurses, they are one of the happiest people I know. Team work is highly developed and they will be your family away from home. 

But I cannot imagine myself doing this for the rest of my life. I am not a people person. I am happiest working on my own space away from the crowd. I derive my energy doing things on my own in a systematic way. I love to write. I love to read. I love observing people. I love talking to them about their life. I love to ponder on things.  I love to just be in a corner and enjoy nature, listen to people chat without being interested, watching stray cats and birds flocking, or anything that looks interesting. I love a small crowd of people whom I share the same point of view. I love nonsense conversations as well as intelligent ones. I am happiest when I can be with myself.

Nursing can define a person. Not all Nurses are alike. I’ve seen Nurses who are truly dedicated to service. Those are the kind of Nurses who should be running the hospitals.

Nursing is not a career. It is a calling. I salute all the Nurses out there around the world. You have all my respect. You are a modern day hero. 

As for me, well, I hope I can finally find my true calling. I am still a Nurse though, in a true sense of the word. It’s a tough job. But I still think it’s not for me.

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The Building

Yesterday night, on my way home from work, I passed by this old building full of Pakistanis and Indians. My husband warned me not to pass by that building because there are prostitutes living there.

“How did you know?” I asked.

“Well, I see ladies dressed provocatively surrounded by men. Trust me, just don’t pass there.”

I ignored him, and anyway, I’m just passing by.

So last night, as I was busy fiddling my phone, chatting with my best friend. A middle-aged man, I don’t know if he’s Indian, Bengali or Sri Lankan, who was standing in that old building, approached me.

“Excuse me, you know this lady inside? Her name is Anoop. She’s from Sri Lanka.”

“No. I don’t live there,” I said, and continued walking.

“Wait. You Filipini?”

“Yes,” I said.

“You know this lady Anoop?”

“No,” I said. “If you want, just go inside and ask.”

“You Filipini? You like? I will pay 200.”

I quickly walked away, pointed my finger at him and told him, “Hey! What was that about?!”

Gosh. That was uncalled for. Do I look like a prostitute in my scrubs?

Moral lesson: Listen to your husband.

2013

I started the year 2013 working, three nights from 31st of December 2012 to 2nd of January 2013. Does this mean I will be working all year round? Well, I’ve been working every New Year’s eve for the past 6 years since I started working in a hospital.

2013 passed by unnoticed. It was a very busy night. I just saw the clock at 12:25 am and shouted, “HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!” with my arms waving in the air. I received a response from a couple of people inside the ER then afterwards it was like nothing happened. Back to work. At 3 am I was able to have my break and ate alone in our pantry. I was the only Filipino on duty that night.

In the morning after my shift, I went straight to church where I met up with my husband, and gave thanks for all the blessings we received. We went home and fell asleep almost instantly. I still have to work night shift.

Today is my first day off of this year. I know it doesn’t make any difference. I just feel happy, that’s all. I’m thankful for each day of rest after work. I’m happy and contented on the way things are going. I’m not asking for more. I’m just hoping that I’ll be strong enough to face all the challenges that would come my way. I’m trying my best not to complain too much. Instead, I want to see the best in everything.

I may not have celebrated new year with my loved ones, but I’m happy that I have spent the new year taking care of the sick. Looking at Nursing as a job that pays makes a Nurse grumpy and unhappy. But looking at Nursing as a noble profession changes everything.

Looking forward for more positive vibes this year and all the years to come.

Cheers! 🍸

Aaahhhh…

Last night, after my husband and I stuffed ourselves with sushis, teriyaki, and udon, we finally decided to go home. At the lobby of our building, we saw this Pakistani vendor holding a cart full of fruits and vegetables struggling to balance the boxes so it won’t fall off. Here in UAE, if you’re too lazy to go to the store or market to buy something, you can call someone to deliver it for you free of charge. When we entered the elevator, this vendor looked hesitant and too shy to share the elevator with us and patiently waited for the next elevator. So I called out to him and asked him if he wanted to use the elevator with us. He gestured something I understood as, “Really? You don’t mind?”

Inside the elevator, I asked the vendor if somebody asked him to deliver all those fruits and vegetables because it’s a lot. He smiled and told me, “Maloum Arabi?” (Can you understand Arabic). I said, “Aahh…shueya.” (a bit). Then he started talking in fast Arabic and I was trying to catch each word that he said so my face was all contorted like that. Then I said, ” Aahhh…for cooking?” even if I didn’t understand a thing. When he reached his floor, he was still talking in fast Arabic and said, “Shukran!” (thank you). And I answered, “afwan!” (not at all).

My husband was so amazed. He told me he didn’t know I could understand Arabic. Then I was like, what? I didn’t even understand a word he said. I just pretended I did. Then he burst out laughing. He said I looked too convincing. He could’t believe that I didn’t know what the vendor was saying because my face looks like I understood every word he said. He was laughing hysterically that I had to signal him to lower down his voice because we might disturb the tenants. He was trying so hard to suppress his laughter that I couldn’t help but laugh also. We looked like two drunken couple who couldn’t walk straight because of our suppressed laughter.

Well, that’s what I do at work. Almost all patients are talking in Arabic. I just let them talk nonstop then I will just answer, “aaaahhhh….” Works all the time. See, I even fooled my husband.😁

Embracing Change

Okay, so I got booted out of Pediatric & Female Unit, where I started for over a year and where I made friends. My Nurse-in-Charge didn’t have much of a choice. If she will have me, she will have to give up one staff and so I decided to go instead.

I was thinking of requesting to transfer to a special area because that’s what I’ve always wanted ever since I started working as a Nurse. Wards suddenly bore me. It’s all routine. So my mind started choosing between NICU (because it’s near the Pediatric Unit), ICU or ER.

NICU – I don’t like changing baby’s nappies. I don’t like giving them milk every time they cry. Not that I don’t like babies. It’s just that, it’s not the kind of thing I wanted to do for work. I most specially don’t like to go to Maternity Unit just to catch babies from mothers giving birth. Although I’d love to become an expert in infant IV cannulation. Other than that, I don’t like NICU because I can’t bear to see critically ill babies.

ICU – WAS my first choice. I see ICU Nurses as smart and intelligent. But then I started thinking, I will care for the critically ill adult patients, those who look like a Christmas tree from all the contraptions attached to their bodies, and then everything will be just the same, a routine.

ER – I’m scared of ER Nurses. They all look like they’re always in a hurry or something. They look like they’re always on the go and if I just stand there thinking what to do next, I will just be getting in their way. You should be able to think and act fast or else a patient will die.

I chose ER.

Right. On my first day, the team leader oriented me on everything I need to know. I felt dizzy from too much information. I was always reprimanded to act fast and think fast. Whenever an ER Nurse comes rushing by, I just step out of the way. One time, the team leader told me to observe how they do the back-slabbing for a patient with multiple fracture, and the Ortho Doctor, who clearly didn’t know that it was my first day, told me, “Why are you just staring there? You are here and I don’t need anyone who just stares and does nothing. Open the crepe bandage!” So I quickly grabbed a crepe bandage and gave it to the Doctor.

I feel like I’m back to zero. I’m not that confident enough to compete with these expert ER Nurses. I need to study again.

But you know what, I love the adrenaline rush. Even if the Doctors or the patients are shouting at me, I feel that after some time, I will be able to bear it all and I will become as confident as the ER Nurses. The Nurses at the ER where I am now are all very nice to me and supportive of me, giving me tips on how to act fast and how to get used to different situations.

New friends, new colleagues, new environment. It’s a refreshing feeling.

I think I made some progress by stepping out of my comfort zone. 🙂

 

I Left My Ears in my Pocket

I had another attack of deafness while endorsing a patient from ward to ICU and answering the Doctor’s questions. In between ambubagging while shifting the patient, my mind tried to focus on what the Doctor was asking.

ICU Doctor: Does he have any “EXCRETIONS?’

Me: Excretions doctor? Secretions? Yes doctor, too much secretions in the mouth.

The other nurses and healthcare team laughed.

Nurse 1: He said XRAY!

Me: Oh! Xray! Yes doctor, of course. It’s in the file.

ICU Doctor: Did he take any “ANTIEPILEPTIC” medication?

Me: EPIleptic? EPInephrine doctor! (Then I realized my mistake) No! Epinephrine is not for epilepsy doctor. We used it as stat epinephrine nebulizer doctor.

(I still haven’t answered the doctor’s question, have I?)

Then my colleague who went with me to ICU said, “No, Doctor! We didn’t give any ANAPHYLACTIC medication.”

Me: (whispered to colleague) Oh…ANAPHYLACTIC, is it? I really can’t understand his accent!

Oh, well.

Say What?

I have a terrible hearing. Well I’m not deaf. But most of the time, I hear wrong. And sometimes my ears just hear what it wants to hear. Hence, selective listening. But see, my hearing is so terrible, it puts me into trouble.

Indian Patient: My son is in the ER. How can I go home?

Me: Oh, really? Well, I’ll have to ask your Doctor about that.

So I went back to the Nurses’ Station and dialed the number of the admission office to ask for the approval of my patient’s insurance before calling the Doctor. I mentioned to my colleague about it and she said the Doctor will come by later.

So I went back to my patient and told her about her insurance approval and the time the Doctor will come see her.

Patient: How about my son in the ER?

Me: Well, isn’t there anyone else to see your son?

Patient: (Looking confused)

Me: I understand you have to see your son but you’re still admitted so there’s no reason for you to be discharged right away.

Patient: Yes I know. But how can I go home without my SANDALS? I left it at the ER before I was transferred here. Did you call the ER and asked about my SANDALS?

I just stood there realizing the miscommunication that transpired. I just smiled.

Me: I’ll be back.

When I went back to the Nurses’ Station I told my colleagues about the miscommunication.

I thought she said: “My son is in the ER. How can I go home?”

But what she really said was this: “My sandal’s in the ER. How can I go home?”

Everybody laughed.

Well, at least the patient didn’t realize I heard her wrong. Unlike my other colleague wherein a patient asked for 2 CHAI (tea) and she brought the patient 2 CHAIRS.