I was in grade-school when I was brought to the hospital to be checked for complaints of abdominal pains. I was not admitted that time, but I saw how nurses worked around and I was completely amazed by the skills and caring attitude they showed to the patients. I guess that started it all.
I come from a clan of teachers. But I had one aunt who worked as a nurse in the US, and I can say, she was one of my influences. I did not see how she worked, but I saw the good life she had and the life she provided for the family back home. I came from a poor family myself and I thought, I would want a profession that would fulfill, not only my life goals, but would provide economic stability as well.
So when I was about to make a career choice after high school, I decided to choose a path that would allow me to be in a helping mode, and at the same time, earn enough to be able to uplift my family’s economic conditions. During that time, nursing was a popular choice, even for males because the job was in-demand in the US, and it was easier to get there with this profession as a passport. I thought, I could also bring my family to the US and start a good life in the Big Apple.
It was a rough road trying to finish the 4-year course. My parents found it difficult to pay for the school fees and on my first year alone, I almost transferred to another school, and to another course, with lesser tuition fees. But I was determined to finish Nursing, so I decided to work at the same time while studying. Being a working student was really tough, especially if your course was Nursing. I had to wake up very early for my hospital internships, go to work after that, and attend the afternoon-till-evening classes in school. I never had summer vacations, as I had to continue studying even during school breaks in order to graduate in time.
And to graduate in time, I did. I passed the board exams the same year and got my RN license. I also took the exams needed to be able to get to the US (CGFNS, NCLEX, and IELTS), and passed them. Why I am still not in the US is another story. I’ll probably tell that in another post
It’s now 15 years since I graduated, and I have never regretted my choice many years ago. I fulfilled my goals. I am in a helping profession, and I was able to uplift my family’s economic status. I may not be in the US, but that was not really a major concern for me now. I had my ups and downs, bad days, and bad cases, but those times did not deter me from staying in this job.
Being a nurse allowed me to understand life better. I appreciate every single minute of my life, and the people around me. It is a great opportunity to be of help to those who are vulnerable, to those whose life is in danger, and to those who put their trust on my hands. Being at the bedside for so many years made me realize that each and every one of us are just alike. No matter how different we are – rich or poor, good-looking or not-so-good-looking, black or white, educated or illiterate – we can all get sick. We have the same human anatomies after all. And we need each other to survive.
I am writing this because I needed this self-awareness. Many times, it gets really stressful and tiring at work. There are so many challenges and the work gets demanding everyday. But sometimes, a little reminder of why we are here on the first place is enough encouragement and reassurance. I hope other nurses who feels that work is just becoming too much, are reminded of this privilege – of being used by God to heal and help patients.