Six out of ten graduates in secondary school is probably thinking taking up nursing in college and four out of that six graduates is taking up the nursing course thinking it’s their ticket abroad. Half of the reason I took nursing was of that reason and half because that is what I was expected to choose. It was never a part of my plan but it turned out to be the best choice I’ve ever made.
I studied in a government hospital and it is a given fact in our country that most government hospitals are worst in terms of facilities and medical supplies. Government funds seem not to be always enough to help the increasing number of poverty-stricken people in our community, nonetheless, it was the place where I saw real compassion being shared by everyone.
We learned to make initiatives. It is one of the traits of us Filipinos that we can be proud about. We never give up and we find ways to survive. We always do.
It was easy taking care of my patients back then because I know who they are. They are my countrymen and we have the same blood coursing through our veins. I could see how they live and I knew what they are going through. It was easy to be compassionate because we speak the same language and we shared the same culture. It was easy because I can easily envision taking care of them as one of my relatives.
When I graduated and became a registered nurse, I worked in a hospital near our town. I had bigger responsibilities and real work to do. But it was such a fulfilling and rewarding experience for me. Since I was working close to home, I personally know most of my patients. I had patients who are my relatives, my teacher way back in elementary, schoolmates, friends, neighbors and relatives and friends of my colleagues. Nursing and caring for them was not just to get my work done but emotional attachment was there because I have lived with this people all my life and in some way they have helped me become the person that I am.
Moving to another country and working away from home was another thing. I was faced with a dilemma of how to connect with my patients. Establishing rapport with patients is one of the most important assets of a nurse. If you can make a connection with your patient it would be easier for you to take care of them and them accepting your care. It was hard because when I looked at them I cannot see my countrymen. Communication was difficult because of the language barrier. We see life differently because of our cultural background and religious views. It was hard envisioning them as part of me because I have never lived with them.
Understanding is tested to its limits and patience is dwindling down. Everything was new and so many things to comprehend. I was living such a sheltered life that I was opened all at once to life at large. That the world just not comprises of my little town and my native tongue is not just the language spoken and there is not only one religion a person can believe in. I have learned and have known this but living with the fact was just harder to take in.
It has become that nursing and caring was just a job to get done. I became unhappy of the profession I’ve chosen. I wanted to feel compassion. I wanted to go home until my friend told me that the reason everything is difficult for me is because I refused to see the goodness in my present situation and I’m too proud to accept that Filipinos are not just the only race that exist.
Embracing diversity is a challenge. I have to step back and look at things from a different perspective. I learn and know first before I make my judgment. I learned the language and I accepted their way of life. I went to church and saw the nameless faces coming from different races praying to my God and I realized that they are not so different to me after all and that they are still one of me and they are just the same people as my countrymen needing my care and compassion.
We are a broken world but not. We have different ideals, religion and culture but our differences are all directed to one purpose, to become one. We may differ in our religions but in every teaching of a religion, to love is being taught.
So I pray to my God that when I deliver my nursing care I don’t get to choose who I care for because in His eyes every person in this world is His child and they are my brothers and sisters.
Compassion is the selfless act of feeling others sorrows and needs. Nursing is a lot easier when we don’t think of our differences and accept every patient as one of us. If we learn compassion in diversity then maybe we could have a harmonious and loving world to live in.
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