confessions of a volunteer nurse

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 § 0

It's only a piece of muslin, perched on top of my head 

So this is how it goes.

I can not say that I am not horrified with the dire possibility that I'm gonna earn my two years of nursing  experience as a lowly volunteer nurse in a government hospital. Yes, you read it correctly. V-o-l-u-n-t-e-e-r. No stipend, no meal allowance whatsoever. Among several nurses, this is the sad scenario that remains unchanged albeit the numerous promising programs of the DOH that supposedly address the continuing proliferation of voluntary service among nurses. The truth is, they're all promises, with little gain, and no long term satisfactory end-result.

Two years of martyrdom. Of being subject to the wrath of deranged, menopausal and characteristically senile co-workers and clients who are just so good at anger displacement. Of controlling my temper every time these know-it-all doctors and nurses insinuate  that I don't know anything, and that I should do exactly as they say. Of course, I have lost my temper quite a few times. Bitchy when provoked, I have absolutely zero tolerance and patience for egotism and deliberate cruelty. Though, of course, experience taught me to better shut up. Let ‘em do the yakking. Talk is cheap anyway. Fifteen minutes of deep breathing while mentally kicking them in the face works mighty fine to restore my BP to its normal hypotensive state. It's fortunate that nobody can meddle with the inside of my mind. Really.

Two years. Boy do I feel like a student again, begging for allowance from the Folks.

I am no Florence Nightingale. Hardly. I still haven't got it down, dunno when or if I ever will! But my qualifications are not inadequate as to be considered substandard. As a nurse, the problem I am constantly waging against is complacency.

Complacency. It's when we've become too comfortable with what we're doing, too satisfied, too obsolete, closing the door to improvement.. Worst of the worst, unaware of all these. It, I think, is the reason why some nurses I know are content to stay forever at a specific area, never having tried working at all the other areas. It is also the reason why some nurses keep on doing what they are so used to, insisting on an ancient evidence-based-practice-gone-obsolete without ever giving a try to a modern, accepted, and more efficient one. The problem these nurses face is stagnancy, and worse, mediocrity. What's wrong with trying?  Trying is stepping outside, venturing outside what is known, and sometimes trying just might lead us to where we really wanna be. Trying stops complacency in its tracks.

So try, I did. So far I had myself assigned at the outpatient department, and all the different wards. Of course, I'm hoping to get exposed to the special areas-- the intensive care unit, operating room, emergency room, dialysis unit, etc. Soon, I hope. I learned lots of stuff that I wouldn't possibly have inside the classroom, and trust me, it's been no easy A. Whereas inside the classroom, your 'patient' your seatmate or a dummy (thank God not a cadaver), in the clinical setting, it is a real person fighting a very personal battle in life.

Approaching the seventh month of my training, I have contemplated that I still have a lot to learn. No matter. The way it looks, it's somewhere between getting the training and getting paid to do it. I still have to put in more time and work to obliterate every trace of mediocrity, paving my way into the very heft of my profession.

Then, the so-called dues-paying would be over. Or so I hope.

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