The Joy and Perils of Being a Nurse

It took me four years in college (for the BS Nursing degree) and a board exam to be a licensed nurse. The training doesn’t end there,though. I had to spend more bucks and time for training and additional licenses (Intravenous Therapy License, First Aid, Basic Adult Life Support,  and Advanced Cardiac Life Support) to get a job related to my profession. Sucks huh?

I remember when I was in highschool when we took an exam to determine which course to pursue in college. I excelled in Science then. My first choice wasn’t Nursing but Psychology. During my first two years, my grades in Science subjects weren’t good. Isn’t it ironic?! It was when I started the internship in hospitals when I learned to like my course.  I enjoyed staying at the hospitals, taking care of strangers. I was eager to do more nursing interventions as I learn some every time I encounter a new case (illness). I was a sucker of ‘care’. I did our group case studies myself, presented each case with enthusiasm and everyone in the group gets the credit – I didn’t mind. I was that dedicated to learn.

I had a month to review for the board exam and luckily I passed. Learning didn’t stop there. I had my first job at a big company as a clinic nurse (assigned to their client’s corporate clinics). That was when I felt that my learning stopped. I wasn’t able to practice what I have learned during my hospital internship. I was merely dispensing medicines requested by employees coming in and out of the clinic – people who refused to be given health teachings, people who thought they ‘knew’ better in treating themselves. I felt that I was useless. But I tried to love my job. I did love taking care of my patients esp those needing daily blood pressure monitoring, nebulization, wound dressing, first aid treatments. Months passed by and more cases that needed further management occurred in those offices (uncontrolled hypertension, pregnancy related bleeding, chest pains, frequent anxiety/panic attacks) and that the clinic supplies and facilities weren’t enough since we were just a primary/basic/immediate care unit. I had to refer patients to hospitals. I had lapses. Those were the times when I felt so incompetent or let’s just say that a nurse with only two hands cannot accommodate patients presenting ’emergency case’ symptoms all at the same time. I knew I had to do triage or prioritization. But people there were so hard to deal with. They demanded to be attended immediately even if they were only asking for a band aid (seriously). There was this incident that I fell short. I did my best to save 3 lives. I was alone and had more than 10 patients in the clinic, 3 of them were needing emergency treatment at a hospital. I will never forget that. It brought out the soft side of me that shouldn’t be shown when at work. I felt like an idiot that time. The ambulance didn’t respond to my call immediately and came in so late. I even tried to be an advocate to those employees. It took all the guts in me to write a letter, as a nurse, to request for a more solid emergency response team for their company (my company’s client). Turned out, I was the one who seemed ‘bad’. They covered their asses with my face. That time, I hated being a nurse. I hated my job. I hated feeling for those employees who badly needed good health care system. I hated myself for stepping up for them. I felt bad, so bad that I had to request for a leave of absence, and eventually, left the company for good. I was a coward.

I’ve been doing a marathon of Grey’s Anatomy these past few weeks. I’ve realized that things like that really happen. You can never take out a challenge in any field you’re in. Well, it is a fact that in my profession, we deal with lives. And dealing with lives isn’t something to be just taken for granted. I know this is a gift. There may be a pressure or risk (a lot of it actually) of negligence or malpractice due to clouded decisions and misjudgment at times but, I’ve realized that it’s part of the job. So long as I continue what I aim to do, more than the professional oath I took, I’m gonna be in good path. I may not get to practice what I  learned doing in the hospital setting, but I chose this career path and I’m going to continue this. I plan to enroll on grad school for Master in Occupational Health. I know no good paying job is easy. I must take pride that in my small ways, I get to save lives. I’m proud to be in the medical field. Amidst all these, I’m proud to be a Registered Nurse.

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2 thoughts on “The Joy and Perils of Being a Nurse

  1. you are an awesome nurse! What nurse hasn’t been in that same position? I’ve worked for years in an emergency department, triage is a learned skill. Dealing with impatient people in a diplomatic way is also a learned skill. We are masters of multi-tasking, and our surroundings reflect our attitude. I’ve had people yell, swear, throw things at me, and even once had a knife pulled on me. I’ve learned that you cannot help everyone, but merely provide resources to assist. Giving patients the tools to empower them to make positive health decisions builds a sense of self-efficacy that unfortunately you will not see in your 10 minute clinic visit. Approach interventions with humor. Take a deep cleansing breath before walking in that patient’s room. Start from scratch each and every time. These are just some of many tips I have taught myself to cope over the years.
    I have had many days where I hate being a nurse. I’ve broken down in tears in the conference room bathroom because I felt so overwhelmed. So just keep on truckin’, maybe a change in venue would do you good. That’s the great thing about nursing, so many directions to go. Try different units, different types of nursing. It will make you a better, more well rounded person in the long run. Best of luck!

    • It feels so good to be given pieces of advice from a well experienced nurse like you Ma’am.
      I will take that into heart for me to become a better nurse. Thank you very much! 🙂
      As per career growth, I cannot see myself venturing into other fields of Nursing yet, as there is no opportunity coming, but I’m still hopeful. Yeah, I agree that for me to grow, I need to be out of my comfort zone. I hope I am as tough as you are though. 😐

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