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.



I always get “electrified” whenever I accidentally rubbed someone’s elbow, or when my arm touched the rails of a crib. One time, my colleague and I both felt a sudden jolt when we touched the side of a crib. I was looking for some bare electrical wire that might have been touching the crib but there was none.

Colleague: I remember what my professor said about this energy inside our body. Sometimes you cannot unleash that energy that when you accidentally rub elbows with someone or touch a steel/metal, it feels like you’ve been electrified. Then my professor said, sometimes when a person don’t get sex that often, the energy mounts up.

Me: Oh…so that explains why we got electrified, haha!

Then I saw the material girls (cleaners).

Me: Hey W, can you touch this crib for a while? G and I felt a jolt when we touched it.

W: (Touching the crib with her hands and arms.) What do you mean? There’s nothing here. See? See?

I was laughing so hard that I finally told her what my colleague told me.

W: Oh…(she then touched the crib again.) Oh! It is grounded!


Expiration Date

This year, a lot of things are going to expire (including me, ugh!).

I made a list of the things that will expire in chronological order:

~Vermont RN license (done!)

~ PRC licenses (PT and RN)

~ Visa Screen Certificate

Just for my Vermont RN license alone, I spent AED 1,000+ for the license renewal, bank draft fee and the registered mail. I received my renewed license after a week then sent it to my agency’s email.

For my PRC licenses, I already emailed my sister about it.

Today, I received another email from my agency reminding me to start registering for the  IELTS exam because my Visa Screen Certificate is going to expire in 8 months. Preparing for IELTS (register for the exam, schedule a test, study for the test) requires time. And in between work, I know this 8 months is just enough for me to prepare. Now I’m gonna need to spend more money for this. I checked online: the test itself costs AED 875, and if I want to take a preparatory course, it will cost me AED 2,300. The review books I can get at AED 120, not to mention the renewal fee application for the Visa Screen amounting to USD 350.

All this for what? For a Nursing job in the US that I’ve been waiting for 4 years already? 4 years ago, how much did I spend for taking the NCLEX, enrolling in an expensive review center, going to Hongkong for the exam, taking the IELTS, reviewing for the IELTS? I don’t even remember anymore.

I don’t even understand why I need to take the IELTS again. I mean, what if I don’t pass the exam, considering I’m in a broken English country. I (seriously) really need to take an IELTS class.

I found my hospital diary and scribbled all my plans, tasks, notes etc. I never knew I had a lot more to accomplish.

I better start doing something before I run out of time (and money!).

The In-Charge

When I started in my ward, I thought the in-charge must’ve  hated me. It’s like I never did anything right. Everything that I do is wrong for her. I always hear something from her. It’s either I failed to do this or that, or I forgot to do this, where’s my head, what kind of memory do I have, etc. But when I do things right, she never say anything. So I do everything just to keep out of her sight. When she’s around, I pretended to be busy. I can only breathe normally when she leaves or when I’m on night duty. I hate her so much. But I never let her get into me. The more she criticizes me, the more I’m showing her that I’m better than she thought.

One time, I was so pissed off I told my Mom I want to resign. I told her how my in-charge treats me. My Mom said not to let things get into me. Maybe the reason why she’s doing that is because she knows that I’m really good. Yeah, right. Good for nothing is more like it.

So I stayed and endured her criticisms. I became stoic. I got used to her constant nagging. But I was always saying out loud that I want to resign. One time, I gave her a form for her to fill out. It’s a form that came from one licensing body in UAE allowing me to practice Nursing in the other Emirates. After 4 months, since I gave her the form, I (accidentally) found (the form) lying in her office when she asked me to find her lost keys. I felt so mad and betrayed that I confronted her. I showed her the form.

Me: “Ma’am, I thought you signed this and sent it to the Ministry of Health? Why is it still here?”

In-Charge:Oh, ah…about that one, yes. I’ve actually thought about it and I’ve decided not to show it to the Director of Nursing because if she sees that, she’ll know you’ll resign.”

Me: “Don’t I even have the right to decide?”

In-Charge: “Yes, I know but um, you see, we want you here.”

Me: “I want to go.”

She wasn’t able to say anything after that. I was really furious. I feel like a prisoner. I feel stucked and I can’t even do something about it.

After that incident, she mellowed down on me. I now hold her in the neck. She did the most terrible thing to me. I can take her constant criticism, but I can’t take her betrayal.

One friend of mine, a Lab Tech, knew what happened. She told me, “You know what, when someone criticizes you so much, it means that you’re so good that they constantly challenge how good you are. Don’t worry, I get criticized too by my in-charge frequently. But see, she’s more confident in me than in my other colleagues. The next time she criticizes you, just think, she criticizes you because you’re good.”

The number of nursing staff in our ward is enough and my in-charge is not asking our Director of Nursing  for additional nurses. I’m about to be transferred to the other ward. But she told me, “I’m keeping you. I requested this staff to be promoted as Senior Nurse so you can be absorbed here.”

I don’t know if she’s just saying that because she did me wrong or she really thinks I’m good.

Frankly, I don’t want to be transferred because my friends are in that ward. But I’m thinking, it’s better that I be transferred than to stay with an in-charge that I don’t trust.

But then I thought about what my Mom and my Lab Tech friend told me. Could it really be that I’m good?

There are times that I can see right through her armor. Beneath that facade is a delicate human being that thrives (too much) for respect and authority that she creates an invisible protective shield that hides a certain degree of weakness and propels anyone who dare challenge her. But underneath that hard shell is a soft spot, a kind person, someone who believes in what a person is truly capable of.

She’s much nicer to me now than before. I learned a lot from her. She made me stronger, tougher. In this foreign country, one must learn how to survive. She just trained me on how to fight for myself, not to quit when I find myself in a difficult situation. And I know that she believes in my capabilities. I may not hear it from her, but I can see through her actions.

She may have been my TORMENTOR. But she’s a great MENTOR. 😉


The Girl Who Got Lost (Confidently!)

I was on my way to the lift when a group of (cute) Arab guys asked me where the Maternity ward is. I told them it’s in the third floor, same floor as where I’m headed. So they went to the lift with me. I could barely understand what they were saying so I just read their body language. One guy was holding a passport and some paper. Then another guy asked something which I understood as, if the guy holding the passport brought his marriage certificate. So I figured maybe his wife delivered a baby. I was about to ask if my thoughts were correct when the door opened, so I immediately went out and (confidently) told them, “Here, follow me. It’s the way on your right.” They were still inside the lift peeking. Then one of the guy said, “I thought the Maternity ward is on the 3rd floor. This is only the 2nd floor.”


To compose myself, I just laughed and said, “Oh, is it? Ahahaha! I thought we’re on the 3rd floor already. Hahaha!”

I just made a fool of myself, didn’t I?

So I went inside the lift again and said, “Sorry, I didn’t know somebody pressed 2.”

The guy with the passport smiled and said, “Must be a long day, huh?”

“Well, sort of…”I said, just to hide my embarrassment.

They speak English fluently, by the way.

Even if I know where I’m going, I still get lost…Hmp!