Nursing as a vocation
By Hilda Austria
NURSING as a profession has never been a choice for me because, firstly their uniform easily gets dirty, secondly I don’t like seeing blood and third, I don’t think I have the patience to bear strangers pains due to illness and their family’s suffering.
During college, I saw the endurance of my nursing student friends, attending to their duties in hospitals, attending classes, taking exams and quizzes sometimes even right after a graveyard shift.
The demand for nurses overseas boomed and that drew a lot of young hopefuls to it given the promise of a sure job with a high pay especially when if employed overseas. However, the dream for an early employment abroad was blunted when government began to require at least two years of experience as volunteers prior to their regularization or employment abroad.
When the demand for nurses abroad over the last years declined, many of these nurses found themselves working in government and private hospitals instead, and many remain as volunteers and most of them are described by patients in government hospitals as ill- tempered and grouchy.
A friend who served as a nurse in a government hospital admitted she was among those ill- tempered nurses but she said it was brought about by their working conditions while getting a measly allowance (not exceeding P5, 000 per month). She said in some hospitals, volunteers were not given any allowance and still made to shoulder their daily fares and meals.
Some government-owned hospitals and even some private hospitals are short-handed so their limited staff nurses are made to cover an entire floor, even performing tasks reserved for nurse assistants. On top of these, they also have to deal with difficult doctors and family members of the sick patients.
I’ve had my share of bad experiences with government hospitals, but reports of unprecedented improvements in our government hospitals under the administration of Governor Espino, including improvement of working conditions of nurses are encouraging.
I know our dedicated nurses cannot but lose their composure given the pressure they face daily so I hope the provincial government will also address their compensation to motivate them to stay on and continue to serve patients with a lot of care.
Most of our nurses today remain because in their hearts and minds nursing is no longer just a profession but a vocation as well.