I had so many dreams for the nursing profession. But, like a candle lit with a faint flame on a stormy night, mine were blown away by the strongest wind.
One night, way back at the start of my experience as a nurse in the RNHEALS program, I tried to make an outline of different projects and policies that I would develop if ever I had the power to do so, if ever I rose into power and the hierarchy of a healthcare institution. I also tried writing personal essays on different topics like familiarity or the ‘pakikisama’ system, the impact of nepotism on the quality of care, and resourcefulness versus standardized care. These were just some of the writings that I started, but eventually did not finish. Most of them I completely abandoned already because of one realization that came over me.
One day, I realized that as long as the healthcare system stays like this, the ideals, concepts, and efforts of my generation would be almost irrelevant, or at the very least ignored. I asked myself, “Would we really be stuck in this kind of system?” Eventually, I gave up, not only on the system, but the culture behind it as well. Culture is a very strong part of the foundation of every system that there is. Once hardened through time, it will be difficult to change, or even break.
I was once proud. Sometimes I still am, but whenever I remember about the sad things that reality fed my eyes, over and over again, I keep thinking how difficult it would be to change everything about it.
I am proud of the few nurses that I know, the few who did their job exceptionally, and tried to go beyond what is expected, despite everything else. Some of them were my superiors way back, some of them were my co-members in the RNHEALS program, and some of them were plainly just inspirational with the way they handled their unit. Your great stories will always be part of how I will grow, maybe not as a hospital nurse, but as a person who will live as the days come.
I am saying this, not to discourage student nurses, pre-board degree holders, and fellow registered nurses, but because I hope that the other nurses who still believe would stay strong. I hope that the ones in power now would realize the real strength of the young Filipino nurses of today. My generation has so much potential. Do not let those who still have hope lose their flame. Do not let them inherit and carry over what is deemed cancerous to the profession, or else, not only will patient care be affected, but also the whole system’s future itself. The long-term consequences of these things are very devastating.
If you are Filipino nurse who still believes in change, do everything you can to mobilize your fellow nurses. Movements such as the ANG NARS, I believe, may pave a concrete path, if given enough support by the strength of Filipino nurses, especially the young generation.
They once said, at the seminar I once attended, that the most essential part of being a Psychiatric nurse is self-awareness, and the usage of insights to improve the quality of life. I can only hope that the nursing profession in the Philippines be aware of itself even more, change for the better, and further develop with the insights that its constituents hold.
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