Thursday, June 28, 2007

Strength, Courage and Wisdom

When I graduated last year, all I wanted to do was to work as a Staff Nurse. I am trained to do nursing work, and I believe that I have all the necessary skills and knowledge that entails professional nursing work. I passed the leakage-tainted nursing licensure examinations and opted not to retake the December boards. I applied in several institutions, and while waiting for the applications to ensue, I tried entering the call center industry. An industry I fell in love with, and I never wanted to depart from.

I applied and submitted myself to the battery of examinations and interviews from the 3 most prestigious call center industries in the country. I passed all of them with flying colors and until present, some of the companies I have turned down are still chasing me down. I chose the path less traveled and entered a call center company catering to Nurses and Medical Professionals. I have 3 reasons why I pursued this industry. First, I wanted the financial incentives and benefits of this kind of work. Second, I wanted to hone my English skills as a preparation for the English proficiency tests I will be taking in the future. And lastly, the pang of curiosity. It’s a kind of work that is in demand, as if everybody is destined to become a call center agent once in their lifetimes. And besides, it is one of the ways where I can socialize and meet a lot of people. People who I never thought will become a very important part of my life.

During my first month I’ve had the opportunity of meeting the most wonderful people you can ever meet in your entire lifetime (and one of my co-worker instantaneously became one of my crushes hahaha). I used my earnings to pay for my bills, and I have invested some of my money to buy a brand new cell phone, ipod, an Hermes belt I have paid in just 3 months, and a lot of stuffs I am enjoying at present. My English skills improved and I developed the confidence and the assertiveness that I desperately needed at that moment. The working conditions in that company is bliss and entering its halls day in and day out is just like a walk in the park.

Then *real work* took its course. I was admitted (as an applicant, of course) to the hospital I have dreamt of working in. I quit the call center industry (perhaps, the most melancholic event of my life this year), and worked as a trainee in a prestigious hospital. I bypassed the 6-month general ward requirement and immediately got assigned at the Intensive Care Unit-Coronary Care Unit during the first few weeks and then to the Cardiovascular-Telemetry Unit-ICU Stepdown Unit for the succeeding weeks. This is a task too taxing for a fresh graduate who never had any previous hospital experience.

Working in The ICU-CCU-CVU is like the worst place to practice nursing as a novice nurse. There is too much things to learn, too much things and tasks to do, too much lives to save, too much effort to exert, too much sacrifice to bear, too much of everything that giving up has always been the best, and the worst option. During my first week, I reread nursing and medical books during my spare time. I forego meals just to read, and I forego sleep just to reread. I go to work scared shitless that the patient I might be handling will deteriorate with my care. I cry at the hospital comfort room almost everyday because I feel so overwhelmed.

There was a time when I prepared an instant cereal for a quick morning snack from a 6am-2pm shift but my patient almost went into an arrest and the next thing I knew it was past lunch and my snack is already spoiled. I had a patient who pulled out an endotracheal tube in front of me and I wasn’t even able to stop or restraint his arms. I had a patient who went into cardio-respiratory arrest because I was not able to Ambu-Bag him because I was catering to another client who is also in the verge of dying. I had a patient who almost missed an important dose of antibiotic because a medication card was missing. Oh the terrors. But never did I felt so out of place. This is where I want to be. And this is where I should be. This is my right place and this is sooo the place where I truly belong.

Every after duty hours there is nothing left in my heart but satisfaction and contentment because of the work that I do. It doesn’t matter if I did not take any meal during my 8-hour shift, or an attending scolding me because of an intravenous line I fail to insert. This is the job that I love and this is the job that I want. I AM A NURSE AND I LOVE IT. The material rewards, the praises I get from my patients, the commendations I receive from my superiors—they are all but a little part of why I love this job. A day without a patient dying is far more important than anything, everything, in this world. And the opportunity of being able to become a part of my patients’ lives and of their healing process makes me feel that what I am doing really matters. Yes at times I do envy people who earn far more than mine’s with lesser efforts, but the satisfaction, the contentment, the fulfillment—it’s simply priceless.

At the end of the day, sleepless nights and all, weight loss from starvation and all, muscle pains, slipped disks and all, I am just thankful… that I am living the life that I want, doing what I really love, and being the best nurse any person, sick or well, could ever have. And like what I usually say, “If it is in this field that I can find fulfillment, gratification, and contentment in this short life of mine, I’m more than willing to be an overworked nurse for the rest of my fleeting, ephemeral, but fabulous life.”


P. S.
I retook the nurse licensure exams last June and I desperately need your prayers so that I, in behalf of my fellow nurses, will pass the exams again. With unending gratitude in my heart, my sincerest appreciations for your prayers and well-wishes. Thank you.


Mr. Schizophrenic said...

Dahlen I hope you pass the exam. I'll pray for you =)

chase said...

u will be in my prayers.
i will ask all my gods that you will pass. =)

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

Thanks Mr. Scheez. Hoping you'll be back sooner to blogging. I'm praying for your well-being.


ruff nurse-du-jour said...

Hi chase!!

Thanks for visiting my site and doubly thanks for the prayers and well-wishes. God willing I pass my exams with flying colors.

You have such interesting insights. I was just wondering why you named your site "ham and keso?" Hmmm...

Till then.


Myk said...

That's scary! I wouldn't wanna be assigned in such an area as a novice. Whew! Terrifying indeed! But I guess you've grown accustomed to all the pressures now. Re-taker ka pala due to the leakage issue. Hope we pass. :) God bless!

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

That's what I first thought--that I wasn't cut out for that kind of job (ICU-CVU), but on the latter, I got myself into the thinking that "I wouldn't wanna be anywhere else but there." =)

At first it's hell scary but there will come a time that you'll get used to the routine.

Of course, there will be new cases you have to handle but once you've mastered the basics, everything will be a breeze.

Goodluck to the both of us. I've added ur link in mine. Link exchange? =)

Anonymous said...

You're on the right track, keep it up. A nurse should not only give what is required but the extra care we give to the patients is what makes the whole nursing profession meaningful. You will be quite successful in your field given you're right attitude for the job. ICU-CCU-Telemetry units needs nurses likes you. I hope to see you here in the US someday. I'm in NY and i love my work as a cardiac telemetry nurse.

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

Hi ralph! Thank you for dropping by and i really really do appreciate the comments.

It was my sister who inspired me to take up nursing. When I was little she would always caught me rummaging through her stuffs (esp her books) and i would always steal her anatomy and MS books so i could read them privately in my room. i was just 11 then.

My true realizations came when my mom got hospitalized for pneumothorax 10+ years back, something went awry and she was comatose in the ccu for a week. It was my sister's time to take the cgfns then and from her i see what true perseverance and self-sacrifice is. She is the epitome of selflessness when she took care of my mom 100% of the way and absent herself from her review classes. She took the cgfns, and thankfully she passed. I told myself that when i grow up i will be just like her. And true indeed, i worked hard to become a nurse, and god willing, i will pass the local boards. She is working as an ICU nurse at texas, her husband (which is alse her college sweetheart) is also a nurse, and they are blessed with 3 lovely kids.

Nursing is a very noble profession--if people could only see through us clearly. "It is what we do that defines us." And I love being a nurse, I know you do too. Everybody has a purpose in life, and I think it is in this profession that we just found ours. I hope that I can contribute to the nursing profession in my own simple way (though I still prefer to work here in the philippines, but i think my sister is taking care of my papers to go there also), and I do wish I could see you there (I want to be an ICU-telemetry nurse also) =)

Thank you very much ralph. I also sent this to your email. Will be waiting for your reply.