I Love You, but Nursing is Still the Biggest Regret of my Life.

You never wanted to be a nurse. Never.

Gasp! Well, don’t scream yet. Read on.

First off, a background.

I was expecting a public crucifixion when I wrote my last post, but I didn’t. Surprisingly. I was expecting to get nagged by the most bitter, angriest people for telling the truth. It was still blasphemous for some, but I got kinder remarks from a lot more. I was happy. It even brought tears to my eyes. Finally, I stood up for myself.

I was in the lowest state of my life. I prayed. And I prayed and I prayed. I finally surrendered. I finally did what I haven’t done in a long time — I tried honesty. I was in denial for a long time and finally just sat down and reflected on my life. I became honest with myself. That’s why I wrote that post.

A History.

My older brother, my hero, graduated high school and (surprise surprise) he got nagged by my father to take up nursing. Diligent, steady, brave — he refused. Hell broke loose and he got kicked out of the house. He literally was out of the house for four months!

He lived in his friend’s dorm room. Everyday I stopped by and gave him a big part of my allowance. He had nothing, he needed it more than I do. I was crying for four months. My family was falling apart. Every single day he would hug me and say, “I’m sorry for doing this to you, little sis.”

I would always give a faint smile and say “It’s okay big bro, it’s gonna be okay.”

When my turn came, turned 16 and graduated high school. Daddy dearest told me to take nursing. I said “yes, daddy.”

I love my family.

I always loved my family, I will never stop loving my family. Christmas 2009. My dad broke down in tears. My aunt (who was a pediatrician in the Philippines for 20 years but now works as a nurse in Las Vegas) calmly and meticulously explained to my father the real situation of the nursing world.

“I’m so sorry my dear, Ambria. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay, dad…”


The Aftermath.

My brother (I always thought he was smart), flunked every subject he had just to prove to my father that he can’t be controlled. Everybody called him a failure. He failed at first. Then he failed a lot. A hell of a lot more.

He found his true calling. He had always been a natural at computers. Everything was easy for him. He grabbed a programming book at national bookstore and started his adventure — just for fun. He now has his own condo, living comfortably with his online work as a web programmer for five different outsourcing companies. He pays for my culinary school.


The Secret.

I never lied to anybody. But I have a secret. I got my 10 year tourist visa a long time ago. 2009, I lived with my aunt in Vegas for six months. Ask me anything about Vegas, I’ll tell you about my six months stay there. How the Bellagio fountain is spectacularly beautiful. How Penn and Teller is the grandest comedic show but Mac king is a lot more funnier. How the Blue Man group will shock and stupefy you all throughout. How sunset park is so beautiful. How my hubby loved fishing in Lake mead. Ask me anything, I’ll tell you all about my stay there.

If you’re curious, I’m not rich or anything. This lady beautifully perceived how I got my visa. For the shorter story, somewhere along the way in my mind-numbing call center job, my hubby and I decided to save up. We saved half our pay every month and two years of hard work later, we were able to present our “show money” to the embassy and decent amount proofs, paychecks that we are doing fine in the Manila and won’t overstay our welcome. Stamped. Approved. And on our way to Vegas.


The Experience Abroad.

Here’s the hard part — explaining to people the reality. I’ve met nurses there. A whole lot. Is America really the land of milk and honey?

I’ve met dozens of nurses there. They were all stumped. I’ve notice their tired, weary faces “life abroad, hayyy.” They were empty, hollow voids. Filling a big hole in the lives with shopping, get togethers and farmville.

Don’t get me wrong, their lives are still a million times better than ours (I wasn’t born rich, so yeah, better than mine).

But still… something’s missing.

I’ve interviewed a lot of them (more like interrogated). Different choices of words, but here’s where most parts intertwined:

  • The first time you receive your visa – you are the happiest person in the world. You jump for joy. You feel like you could jump over the pyramids.
  • The first six moths – “The hang-up phase.” You will buy all your hang-ups, the stuff you never got to buy before. A nice car, nice clothes, nice everything. You will get into little debt, but still manageable. No worries, you’ll get it all back with overtime. Lots of it.
  • A year later – You start to burn out. You shrug it off, thinking this is part of real life.
  • Two years, a house, a car, a family later – You get stuck. 30 years mortgage and a college fund for your kid — you’ll be there for the rest of your life.
  • Another few years of burning out – you’ll start to question. Is this all there is to life? Am I doing things right? Something’s missing…

Something IS missing… Where do you think midlife crisis comes from?

Oh, and did you know that most of your credentials in the Philippines aren’t recognized in the States?


 A foreword: Please stop reading this. If you’re easily offended, please stop reading this. I am the only writer in the world that tells you to stop reading her piece… because I don’t want to hurt your feelings…

The Cold Hard Truth.

I will be mean here. Like a mother spanking a child, it’s for your own good.

You never wanted to be a nurse. You just wanted to use nursing to go abroad.

You. I’m talking to you. You, who are about to slap me. I’m sorry, but I’m talking to you. I have to say it.

People want to go and build a life abroad. And nursing will take them there.

Way back when you were young, you wanted to be an engineer, you wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer. You wanted to be a movie star — the most hunkable of hunks or the most stunning of actresses in movie history. Ever.

You wanted to be a stewardess, a young adventurist, flying across the ocean, wondering where the plane will take you next. You travel the world! You could be a pilot, controlling the massive flying contraption, master of the 747. You are 40,000 feet above the sky, everyday, whereas grounded humans only wish they were there.

Point is, we dreamed of becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers, astronauts, cowboys, movie stars, super-models — but nobody dreamed of becoming a nurse someday!

If you did, good for you. I’m happy that you got what you wanted. Seriously.


The Sad Truth.

Calm down, calm down. We’re almost there. I know you want to crucify me right now and put the crown of thorns in my head but — listen.

If 20 years ago, America declared they needed teachers instead of nurses. There would (instead) be a million unemployed teachers, getting a real heart-warming fulfillment every time a student “thanks” them years later (it really is heart-warming). And getting a surge of simple joy when the cutest little pre-schooler hands them an apple.

I’m sorry. But it’s the truth.


You Learned to Love Nursing.

Nursing is your second, third, fourth love. Well, it might be.

My first love is cooking, then blogging, then “coffee-ing,” then movies, then maybe nursing. If nursing gave me comfortable life abroad, then I would be truly grateful for it. And “learn” to love it. Then again, if teaching, cooking, blogging gave me comfortable life abroad, I’d be truly grateful for it. I’m serious.

Blogging is my second love and third is coffee then movies, if I were to own a cafe or work in a movie production somewhere, I would love it but the first and biggest love, cooking, will always be missing.


What’s the Point?

I had a visa, living in Vegas, my aunt offered me an under the table care-giver job — Why, oh why did I leave?

What’s the point? I’ve dreamed of going to the U.S.A. and my dad thought nursing will take me there. I’ve gotten a visa on my own so far (call center agent, who knew?). The whole purpose of nursing was to get me to the U.S., but I’m already there — so what’s the point?

Salary? Lot’s of opportunities there. You could actually do what you love for a change.

Why didn’t I take the caregiver offer? Besides the fact that it would make me a TNT, I know for sure it would make me miserable as hell. I was already there, why not cooking instead?

My hubby, baby boy and I each have ten years tourist visa. U.S.A. is a beautiful place for vacations. But living there? I don’t know, I see a lot of mixed up feelings. A lot of people love it, a lot more are having a hard time. Life’s hard over there (believe it or not), I saw it with my own eyes.

As for me, my cooking will someday pay for our vacation to see Vegas again, then L.A., the off to New York to get pictures at Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty for Facebook. Exclusively for Facebook pictures only.

Then cross those off the bucket list and off to visit France, Italy and Australia. I firmly believe my cooking will take me places. Lots of beautiful places.


Your Dream is a Guarantee.

Why am I really, really, really sure I’d be a successful cook someday? Because dreams do come true.

This is not fairy tales, “the secret” or “law of attraction” thing, this really has a scientific explanation behind it. (Really).

It’s simple. You work harder for it. You work more hours for it. If you’re a receptionist, you would do an okay job and work only 40 hours a week. But when you get home you would spend the remaining countless hours doing your passion (let’s say writing), you would spend countless blissful hours perfecting your writing. Every single word has to be perfect, every letter counts.

I work 40 hours a week at a call center, but when I get home, I spend hundreds of hours experimenting new recipes. The buying of fantastic new ingredients is already heart-wrenching delightful. The cooking itself, the smelling of the aroma, the tasting from the pot and the biggest smile from my hubby when he eats it — I feel like I’m in heaven.

That’s how I know cooking is my life. My life, dream, my passion.


I get lower pay as a call center agent  working 40 hours a week. How about if I get paid as a chef working a million hours a year?


You Will do Your Passion No Matter What.

When I was in Vegas, I felt like I was close to my previous dream of becoming a nurse. But all that’s in my head was cooking! I dreamed when I get good pay from nursing, I’d use it to buy a nice kitchen, with all the massive variety of ingredients and equipment not found in the Philippines. I dreamed of using my nursing salary to put myself into a nice culinary university.

I was going to be a cook no matter what!

Once I graduated from culinary school, I would’ve left nursing and pursued cooking either way. I was born to be a cook. God made me that way.


The Stories.

My uncle, the best handyman I’ve ever met, is a manager at a hotel in Vegas. On his days off, he makes the coolest carpentry, projects, car restorations I have seen. He’s good at everything! “Why do you do it?,” I said.

“Because I love it.” He replied.

You will do your passion whether you get paid or not. It’s too bad my uncle never turned his life around to fully do what he loved.

 You will always do your passion whether you get paid for it or not…


My brother, ever the black sheep — the drop out, the failure — is now our most successful family member. He is a full blown web programmer, and is very, very happy.


My uncle quit his job as an Engineer at a robotics company in California, and open his own car repair shop. “It’s simply what I love to do,” he said.


A family friend, graduated in Electric Engineering. He never pursued it. He hated it so much, he hated his father for forcing him to take engineering. Now, on his own, got a work visa a a programmer for skype in California. He didn’t even go to school, he just learned programming over the internet.


We were meant to do something in this world.

God brought us here for a reason, for a calling. If we were to go against our passion, we would be incomplete. There will always be something missing. You will always find yourself filling a void.


You will never get tired of your passion.

50 years from now, I will still love cooking. Everyday. I might’ve appreciated nursing, but after a few years, I still would’ve shifted to cooking. I’m thankful for my call center job, but I can’t do this for ten more years.

Pacqiuao will have 3 to 4 (?) years left in boxing? But when he turns 60, he will still be watching great boxing events ringside.

Michael Jordan is done playing, but will still be an owner or a part owner of a team when he’s 75.

Imagine where you are now. What are you doing now? Can you do it for the next 40 years?


Our dreams will succeed.

When customers first taste my cuisine (someday), the mouthwatering flavor will rinse through their mouths, exploding flavors will make their eyes close and relish in passion. The perfect mixture of sweetness, spiciness and sourness will rock their whole world.

Why? Simple. It’s because they’ll notice the thousands of hours spent in every recipe. The careful, meticulous passion spent in every meal — They will notice it. They will notice all the hard work, they will like it and come back for more.


Sure there will be trials.

There will always be trials. It will be super hard when you get started but — you will never give up.

When you’re doing something that’s NOT your passion, and get only a few bucks for it — you’ll give up easily. But if my restaurant goes through the whole roller-coaster ride, through ups and downs, I will bleed just to keep it alive. Why? Because I don’t know what else to do. I can’t imagine myself doing something else.

When your passion is cars, you will keep your auto-shop alive no matter what because what else are you gonna do? Cars are all you live for.


I love you.

I don’t know you but I’ve been through the same life beating you’ve gone through. I’ve been beaten, bled out, left to rot in the sun… I’ve been there. All the questions, doubts, persecutions — what am I going to do with my life? Is this all there really is? Am I doing the right thing? Can I do this for the next 40 years? — I’ve been there. You, who went (or about to go) through it — remember, I know how you feel. I love you.

I wrote this down NOT to make you give up nursing, I wrote this down to make you think about “some other important aspects of life.”

Like what I’ve said as my first plan — I would’ve used nursing to buy me a great kitchen, put me in culinary school and later open up my own little food place.

Use nursing, DO nursing but remember — keep your dreams alive.


One final note: If I’ve made you read this 2,700 words article, I may have a future in my second love — blogging 🙂

I am way too busy to make a blog of my own, but for updates on how am I doing so far pursuing my dream, I’d most likely post it here.

© 2011, Filipino Nurses. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of all articles contained in this website are the responsibility of their respective authors. All articles are for informational purposes only and are NOT intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The owner of this site disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on these information. If you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician. If you feel ill, please seek medical attention immediately.

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About Ambria 4 Articles
A nursing graduate. Works at a call center and teaches English to Koreans during weekends. Hey, we do anything we can to survive, right? I'm putting myself to culinary school. I want to have my own restaurant someday. Wish me luck! If you liked my writing, read some more on my blog. Thanks!
  • Mary Grace Nanales

    Very well said. Thanks for this blog post! It made me realized a lot of things especially in pursuing my first love.

    • Thank you, Mary Grace. I’m glad I’ve awakened a sleeping perspective in your life. Do nursing for 40 hours a week and work on your first love the rest of the day. Good luck!

  • elle

    True. I am trying to figure out my own niche too. Great article.

  • Ambria, this is one of the most HONEST articles I have read so far and I’m thanking you for that. I know there’s a part of me that keeps on telling me that I took nursing only for convenience. I know, right. But I still want to believe that I took nursing for the best of reasons and that is to touch people’s lives. I still have my other passion intact and I’m confident that I can do both with success. I’m still having a lot of questions in my mind but I know God will lead me to the right path. I wish you all the best in life and in your search for your own niche. Godspeed:>

    • I pray that you finally discover your true passion. And if it’s nursing then you’re already blessed in more ways than one 🙂

  • jacqui

    you are just telling the truth.. your blog is an eye-opener for all the nurses who were also nagged by their relatives to take-up nursing even though they really did not really dream to be one.. in my case, it is my childhood dream to become a nurse.. but unfortunately, kahit na gusto ko makapagwork sa hospital, luck is really not on my side.. instead i work as a company nurse for 4 years already; and i learned to love it.. hindi lang naman sa hospital pede magpaka-nurse.. sa company, wala masyado pressure..as in di talaga toxic.. sabihin man ng iba na wala kwenta pagiging nurse mo kapag company nurse ka. wapakels! 🙂 madami naman ako natutulungan… it is still good to feel na kahit sa simpleng lagnat lang eh na naaalagaan mo sila and they will thank you (from the bottom of their heart).. kahit un lang ok na sa akin.. 🙂 big achievement na yun.. i also do counselling to some employees and it is overwhelming when they can trust me with their personal problems. feel na feel ko pagiging LIFE COACH! lol!

    nobela to teh! hehe! like you, i really love to cook… kaya nararamdaman ko yung blog mo.. i also plan to take-up culinary arts pero matagal pa yun.. nagagamit ko pagkahilig ko sa pagluluto sa pagsa-sideline.. extra income! kaya kahit mahirap life dito sa Pinas, kung marunong ka naman dumiskarte eh makakasurvive pa din naman.. 😉 there’s no place like home, like an old cliche goes..

    kudos to you Ms. Ambria! goodluck to your future endeavor.. God bless! 🙂

    • There was a time in my life when I would’ve been extremely happy to be a company nurse. Even now, if I was offered a position as a company nurse, would I quit my call center job? Who knows. I’ll put in the pros,.. time, money, schedule, all that stuff.

      But in the end, I would just use it all to fulfill my culinary dream.

      And hey, “luto” as a sideline is a very very productive way to spend your free time 🙂 kudos!

  • myra

    hello, thanks for bloging this..i can relate to your story…thanks God for sending you ..I pray that God bless your restuarant, keep safe always…he Love’s you…

    • Thank you, Myra. This are just the words that I wish somebody told me before… A long long time ago. But in the end, I thank God for making me experience this. I grew stronger — and I’m extremely happy I touched a lot of lives.

  • akomuggle

    inspiring! 😀

  • jade

    hello, you have a nice blog, but i would say you missed one important point in life and that’s to grow wherever you planted..we made our own life and choices. if one else fail because it is not your interest then do not blame your weakness to your career, otherwise you really will end up regretting for the rest of your life…humans are intelligent and talented.. that’s good you are trying something new…God bless 🙂

    • I believe God made me go through all this to make me stronger. If I hadn’t taken up nursing, I wouldn’t have gone through all the life shattering self discovery.

      I wouldn’t have truly discovered my passion.

      God gives us “regrets” to make us discover our true passion. And I thank God for using nursing to make a “million times better ‘me'”

  • Red

    Thank you so much for writing this wonderful and inspiring article.
    Yes, it is extremely inspiring lalu na sa mga tulad kong pinilit lang mag nursing (kahit sobrang ayaw ko).

    God Bless you always Ma’am! You’re the best!

  • Bejan

    Great eye opener… The hard and painful truth about majority of nurses like me but reality wise its real…Anyway, even if you are a perfect chef your nursing skills can still be used in many ways…

    • Yup! Definitely! I never doubted that 🙂

  • miness

    Nice article, but again i disagree somehow..Unlike many others, maybe i was born to be a nurse..I remembered taking care of sick people around me during my younger years..I picked up sick dogs and cats and cared for them till they are strong enough to live again on their own. I was an Exec. Secretary for more than 6years when finally I decided to go back to school and take up Nursing. I was a lot older than my classmates but that didn’t stop me from pursuing my dreams. My heart always pumped harder everytime I wear my white uniform..I am so proud of wearing my uniform and caring for all these sick people, young and old..Not everyone are born to be a nurse..I always believed Nursing is a vocation not a profession. We’re the chosen ones..Nobody has forced me to be a nurse, this is what I wanted to be and will always be proud of the decision I’ve made.

    • Oh, I so love the fact that you’re actually doing what you love right now 🙂

  • Feb Carlo ‘Horn” Geralde

    I’m a hotel and restaurant management graduate. After school i had this opportunity to work in a ship. I grabbed it, thinking that i will maintain my status in life. After two years of sea service, i stopped. Why? Because i feel like i don’t belong there. I had hard times doing my job ’cause i was just forced to do those. They say seafarers are lucky just like the nurses abroad. Well they’re wrong. I can’t even do it for 3 years. How much more 10? It was a trauma for me. I carried that for 7 months without my parent’s knowledge, because they are the ones who wanted me to work there.

    I now work in a call center just like you. 40 hours of work and the rest is for my Photography. I really love Photography. I know you know what i feel every time i shoot a subject.
    I don’t care what my parents will say. I don’t care what my fiance will say. They won’t understand because they have no interest in photography.
    Right now I’m planning to live in Canada. My parents agreed on that and willing to help me with the expenses. I’m going there not because they wanted me to but because i am hoping that Canada will give me the opportunity to become one of the finest photographers.(Canada because it’s easy to go there and near to USA.hehe!)

    I hope i’m doing the right thing. I just want to become a professional photographer someday just like you wanting to become a Chef.

    Good Luck to you and to all who dreams…. All the best.

    • I’ll let you in on a little secret — Canada is better than US. They have so many beautiful nature places — I know because my hubby is a photography hobbyist. Photographers can see beauty in sceneries that normal people can’t. Canada and US have so many beautiful parks, national parks, and so much nature-filled places.

      But I’ve been to US and my extensive research for a better life for me and my family led me to believe that Canada offers better welfare, med-care and any other care for that matter.

      But of course, it’s extremely cold in Canada 🙂

      Starting over in a new place is hard but take a job in Canada to pay your bills and concentrate on your photography during your free time. on your days off, go to parks, lakes etc. Thw world is a beautiful place 🙂

      Then make a photography blog, PM me the link because I want to see it! 🙂

  • tepi

    hi ambria. thanks for sharing your experiences and insights. i came to the very same conclusion after two wasted years spent on hunting for that elusive nursing job. i’m now on the track of turning my life 180 degrees from the rut it got stuck on the moment i got my nursing license in this country. good for you that you know your dreams in life. i haven’t a definite fix on what i’ll invest my future on but i’m pretty sure it won’t be nursing. you are right when you said that nobody ever dreams of becoming a nurse and you’re also right when you said that once you become a nurse you end up loving it. i don’t know what it is that’s in nursing but it did change me. i have an antisocial tendency and i could barely tolerate interaction with people. nursing changed all that. dealing with patients have introduced me to a whole new range of emotions that i had never encountered before in my small cocooned universe. i started respecting all kinds of people from the bad to the worst. i’m giving up nursing with a heavy heart but i have no choice. my life has literally stagnated waiting for calls that would never come. i felt i was such a loser for failing to get a job and i’ve lost self-esteem, sleep, money, time etc refusing to accept the fact that its just not in my destiny to work as a nurse right now.i have other skills i can launch a career on and i plan to make use of those non-nursing skills. i like graphic design and animation and i hope to get paid work for my future creations someday. your article has given me conviction to stick through my career change. thanks for the article,

    • There’s a nagging pain, an irritating little voice everytime your not doing your real love isn’t there?

      Hone your graphic design on your freetime, post it on your blog and PM me the link! I want to see it! 😀

  • Janice

    You nailed it.. I totally agree with most of your insight but not all. Im I nurse here at New Zealand and I tell you Ive been to a lot! Its not easy living abroad, it so sad to be here. The only things that keeps me stay is the MONEY. (No more no less) I dont plan of staying here. I will definitely be back home soon. 🙂

    • Ooohh… I really hope you make it back here.

      1- find your passion
      2- figure out how to make a living off it
      3- it’ll be super hard but you won’t get tired of it because you actually love what you’re doing
      4- live a happy, fulfilled life 🙂

  • regie

    I can’t say I don’t like nursing, I just don’t mind it. Got no reason to complain though. It pays for the tuition of both my sisters who attend different private universities, not exactly cheap. I guess, it’ll also have something to do with the working environment. Burning out is truly subjective in a way that each individual will have a separate working experience. I get 5-6 days off for every four-day 12-hr stretch. I can say yes for overtime work IF I happen to feel like working, and I get double the pay. The Union protects my job in terms of security of tenure, I get up to 6 weeks of paid holiday in a year, and on top of that, the health region PAYS ME for all the advanced or additional training I get for my profession. My yearly registration for my professional organization that enables me to work legally is all being paid for as well. The people I work with are fantastic as well. It does have a downside though, like your family is in the Philippines, but then, I’m single, and once my sisters (no, they did not take up nursing) are done with college, I’d have more time to travel, and pursue photography as a greater passion. 5 days off is enough to get me going, and would keep me from burning out. So you know, it’s not all bad.

    • are you actually working for a union??? do you know how impossible it is for the millions of us to get in a union nowadays? to retire at 55? — it’s a good deal.

      and are you working the 5 days- 2 days – 12hrs a day work sched? that schedule was developed to eliminate “burn outs.” the previous 3days/4days sched is slowly getting eliminated by the 5days/2days — no “burnouts”

      you are one of a kind. You’ve “made” it. You’ve got too much to lose.
      big salary (union) and BIGGER BENEFITS (UNION). I wouldnt mind it too. Working 14 days a week, with 5 days off every 2 weeks. A lot of free time to pursue my passion, that’s a very good situation you’re in.

      but like I said, it’s already hard as it is to get to the US, what more getting a unionized RN job?

      • regie

        Sorry I neglected to mention that I’m not based in the US. I work here in Canada. I understand that it’s a different situation in the US now. But I was just talking about my situation as a nurse in General.
        I work 2 day shifts and 2 night shifts, and then followed by 5 or 6 days off, depending on my actual number of hours as full time nurse. The union, which authority is mandated by law, extends its power province-wide (state-wide in the US i guess), and protects its nurses in terms of seniority, and more importantly their working conditions as well as upholding the Bargaining agreement.
        The good thing about Nursing here, more specifically in the province where I am at, I can transfer to another hospital/facility whenever I want, as long as there is a position open and I hold a greater seniority over other competing RNs. The Nursing body also recognized the number of hours of my experience in the Phils which put me on step 5 salary grade (one step more and it’s already at the top). As of 2012, the Union is seeking to renew its contract with the government.
        Yes I guess, it’s a good situation where I am at.

        • Oh, there’s no arguement then. Canada beats US’ welfare by a mile 🙂

          Canada is our future. My husband and I are aiming for Canada. But I’m not sure if I can handle the cold though 🙂

          • regie

            You get used to it. But I don’t like winter. Spring and summer however, it’s wonderful to be walking outside.

  • Lawrence M.

    Why did you think people would crucify you hehehe? You were right! If your goal is to go abroad and earn more then you shouldn’t take up nursing. Nursing is not an easy job, especially here in the US. Yes, you get paid more but you also have a mortgage, car payment, car insurance, house insurance, flood insurance for ur house if u leave in a flood zone, health insurance, plus your monthly ” sustento ” u send to ur family in the Philippines and more bills monthly( cable,cell phone, utilities-trash,water,electric) so unless you work xamount of OT , you’re just ok ( enough to survive). So if one thinks that US nursing is such a glam coz they see so and so with big house , a nice car well ask her or him how much OT he/she does. This is the reality here in the US. Good luck with your dream and keep blogging !!!!!

    • Agreed!! and thanks!!

  • yohanna

    i like it that you braved to post this in a nursing blog and that you were honest enough to show the different facets of this noble profession with regards to how it is perceived and carried on these days…sadly that a lot of people now are becoming more of “corporate nurses” than the humble compassionate one.

    i am responsible enough to go through college and obtained a nursing degree, but i am mature enough to realize early on that it wasn’t what i wanted to do, instead, i became a soldier. i don’t see anything wrong with that. even though my family always pushed me to be a nurse and initially disapproved of my lifelong ambition-desire-goal-fascination-calling of joining the ranks of the military. i am a female in a male-dominated arena, but i don’t take that as a weakness, it serves as a fuel to strive more. and although i still work in the medical field, i get to see more than there is to just be walking in the confined walls of a privately-owned hospital. it makes me fulfilled to extend my help to those who are in serious need, to fight for what i believe will make the world a better place to live in, to serve humanity. every single morning when i put on my uniform(i don’t wear scrubs, i wear battle dress and combat boots), it gives me this feeling that i am already fulfilled. and this is the same feeling makes me realize that i don’t need to fill a void, i don’t have to feel incomplete anymore. sure i do want the luxury of things, but when you’re contented of what you have, there is no outrageous need to ask for more. after all, at the end of our days, it’s not how much you have in your pocket that counts, it is how you lived your life, how happy you became, and what difference you ensued to make this temporal glory worthwhile of your stay.

    • Wow. You almost brought tears to my eyes. Yes, we don’t have the need to “fill the void” anymore. We would happily do our passions for the next 50 years without getting tired of it.

      And it’s sad how most people worked their whole lilve getting stuck in a job they don’t eally want just to save for retirement. They have quite a savings in their banks but they didn’t live quite a fulfilled and happy life.

      You are the bravest person I know by far. How many women do you see actually join the army? Not many. In fact, you’re the only one I know. I respect you, I look up to you… You go, girl! 🙂

  • Genki

    It’s hard to have the best of both worlds. Some people are lucky to have it though but majority of us have to face the fact that life is hard and we have to work hard to provide for our family.

    I’m a nurse in Australia and this job has enabled me to put a roof over our heads, raise my children & send them to school, receive adequate healthcare and save money for retirement. I have 6 weeks paid annual leave. I am judged because of my skills & hard work, not because of who I know. Would I be able to do this in my home country? No. That is why even if nursing is hard, even if I get homesick at times, I am thankful with what I have. It’s good to be idealistic but the reality of the widening gap between the rich & the poor in the Philippines has hit me hard. My priority now is to give my children a better future, save for retirement and later on pursue my other interests. Sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zone and bite the bullet. We can’t always get what we want that is why we have to adapt during these changing & difficult times.

    • Oh wow, I started replying but ended up more than 800 words again. It turned out to be a great post idea 🙂 can I quote you on my next post?

      • Genki

        Yep, you can quote me. It just boils down if you are a realist or idealist. In the end go with your gut instinct. Never regret your decisions in the past because these decisions are what made you into who you are & placed you as to where you are now. Sometimes you don’t get to choose your profession but instead it chooses you.

  • jean

    I am a nurse and luckily for me, I got to practice my profession for over a year at a private hospital. I was not forced into nursing, but i had other options. I wanted to be a teacher…now, I am saving up to get an education degree. I didn’t regret taking up nursing though, because through nursing, I became a better person. The psych and ethic classes in nursing gave me a better understanding of the human person, and it helped me in developing my character and improving my coping skills. Therapeutic communication is also very helpful for me. I learned how to value relationships. I developed a concern for people and the environment. I feel like I am me because I am a nurse. So, even if I’ll be given a chance to turn back time and choose again what course to take up in college, I will still choose nursing. However, at this time,I have decided to pursue my first love, which is teaching.

    • Yes! Thanks! Like me, because of nursing, I endured through all that earth shattering life realizations. God made me go all through that so I could find my true passion. It’s a necessary journey for us.

      Let me knwo how the teaching goes 🙂

  • Agreed! And thanks!

  • Pol

    I am now in a state of confusion wheter I love nursing profession or I am just loving it because I always believe that nursing is the way to greener pasture. i am trying to figure out what I want in life. Thank for the realizations.. This is true, a sad reality to some who believes nursing is their passion but it is not…

    • There’s a lot of time 🙂 It might not be now, it might be a year from now… but you’ll soon discover your true passion 🙂 You’ll know when you find yourself NOT feeling lost anymore, Not feeling like “you haven’t found your place yet” in this world.

      When you find yourself not trying to fill a “hole” or that “void,” then you’ve found your true calling 🙂 Goodluck!

      • Pol

        Thanks Ms. Ambria.. your article is such an inspiration 🙂

  • JM Cagampang

    At first, after i graduated high school i decided to take civil engineering and i told my dad about it even though i know that taking engineering is so difficult. I promised to my dad that i will do everything but my mom she disagreed. She’s the one who decided to take Midwifery. At first, i don’t really feel the subject and topics but later on i learned to like it until i finished the whole years.

    Sad to say, I’m working now as front officer because the government of Qatar didn’t credited my 1 year experience as Midwife in the Phils. While I’m reading your nice and eye opener blog, I realized that i should pursue my passion. As you said, there will be trials but i promise to myself that i can do it.

    Thanks for your very wonderful blog, Ms. Ambria. Good Job!

    • It’s not yet too late to take civil engineering 🙂 You’ll know if that’s the profession for you because everything will come naturally.

      My hubby is a network engineer, everything in school was easy for him. Everything went naturally for him. I get dizzy everytime I see those alien-like encryptions he always worked on, but he loves it. He works on it for hours — I can’t stand looking at it for more than a second 🙂

  • av2003

    Nice inspiring blog ( one that is written straight from the heart )i ever read, when i was in HS my mom told me to take up nursing, i said ” No way ” male nurses are for sissies (80’s), took up engineering on my first 2 years and shifted to Biology ( long story ).
    To cut it short, am now married to a nurse working here in Ireland .My daughter and I followed after 8 months .One of the highest paying & respectable job here ( Filipino nurses are admired here for being hard working,friendly and intelligent. ). Life is good but we miss our love ones back home. There is no place like home. Money can’t buy that and so eventually plan to retire in the Philippines.Its really a big sacrifice to come here. We can buy anything we want here that we can’t afford to buy when we were working back home.
    Thank you for the beautiful blog and hope people who read this will be enlightened. God Bless.

    • So are you in Biology right now? Biology is the new fad nowadays..

      Hmm… maybe you can save and build a business here in the Philippines or (years from now) you might get to like Ireland 🙂

      The only real missing pieces in any new land are friends and family. You have your family, and I know you will gain so many new friends as time goes by 🙂

  • francis

    yah very much ryt my dearest comrades!!! sad but tru =p

  • evangeline

    I like the full, out-there gutsiness in this article. 🙂 Good luck in pursuing your dream and I look forward to sample your cuisine one day… 🙂

  • Edward

    Hi Ambria! You’re a great BLOGGER too! I really think you can achieve all your goals in life by doing the things you like and love most. I’ll be one of your customer in your resto or cafe someday. NB: I literally read your blog from the FIRST word (I) and the LAST word (HERE). It’s inspiring!

    • Thanks Edward!

      And I’ll hold you on to that, I’ll literally bug you into coming to my resto someday 🙂

  • kae

    first, i wanna say NURSING is my first choice, my passion. <3(one of those who dreamed of becoming one someday)… and i'll do everything, work hard , give my best to it…cause i agree with you, we must work on what truly is in our heart. i love your blog.it inspired me so much. didn't offend me at all., you've explained yourself very well. i am glad that you didn't give up your dream of becoming a chef. i'd gladly eat at your restaurant (when you got one)., God bless. ^__^ looking forward to your updates. 😀

    • Yes!! I’ve got two future customers now 🙂 Thanks!

      I’m working on some updates, but it’s soooo hard to find time these days… And I’m not sure I can post it here, (it’s not purely nursing), but we’ll see 🙂 thanks again!

    • Yes!! I’ve got two future customers now! Thanks!

      I’m working on some updates, but it’s soooo hard to find time these days… And I’m not sure I can post it here, (it’s not purely nursing), but we’ll see.. thanks again!

  • katrish

    Well-written article. Why not try to pursue a career in writing? am not done reading your article, BTW. However, hindi lang Philippines ang hindi honored and school credentials dito sa U.S., madami ding ibang bansa ang hindi dito honored. I think Finland is one. Keep it up. =)

    • Yup. Sayang lang volunteer ko. And to think, I PAID the hospital just to do volunteer work for them! I PAID so I could work for them! (sour grape, sorry sorry)

  • leslee

    this is a must-read article…
    ur definitely a gud writer….
    i like u for being so honest…
    vow to u ambria…
    kip it up! 🙂

  • janine

    ..wow..this is so true…nursing was my parent’s choice which i agreed to take since i am an obedient daughter..”sigh”..but 2 yrs after i graduated and passed the board exams, i’m still one of the hundred thousand unemployed nurses in the philippines..your entry just made me more determined to follow my true dream job instead..goodluck to all of us..thank you so much Ambria!^_^

    • What’s your true dream job? And you’re welcome, Janine 🙂

  • Shimshon Ben Shimshon

    Shalom Ambria,
    Your blog is well written, honest and inspiring. I have lot friends and a considerable number happen to be RNs. As a child, I wanted to become an astronaut, a detective, a scientist. I loved to draw and do martial arts as a child till i took up political science initially to prepare for a law degree. My mother (with Jesus now) worked as a court stenographer and later, interpreter encouraged me to do it and my father is into it for a lawyer gets a good pay while helping people. I never pursued law for it was not my passion. I love languages and teaching, I enjoy history, travelling and culture. I’m a certified instructor (English as as second language and speak languages I never imagined speaking).When I was on my third year, I yielded my life and choices to God and years later, I became a missionary (I started off as a translator for international teams) and will grow old and have a family doing what i do best. Multilingual skills help me to communicate God’s word to different people in different cultural settings so a knowledge of history and people profiling was a great help. Drawing and painting have its place too where I am right now. Things in the past, the pains, the joys, the lessons and frustrations proved to be useful making me effective in what I do today. As a Bible detective, I get to the Hebrew, Greek, figures of speech, syntax, geographical and politico-social background in a given a Biblical text to come out with its precise meaning if not the closest to the original and rely on God to be able to ferret out its relevance to contemporary life and times. I never thought to develop curriculum on performing arts, be a business consultant and a career facilitator from the platform of my chosen field. The Bible says “It is He who works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose…that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength”.
    God loves good cooking specially when done out of love for He gets to eat through the mouths you delight to feed. May God lead you and inspire you with recipes that will feed the hungry,kings,leaders and celebrities, the poor and normal people like us. May your home be so engineered in love, cooked in joy in that candid stills of life and nursed by the tender loving care of our Creator to whom we all must give an account in the finals. 🙂
    I want check out your menu when God brings your dream to pass.
    Thank you Ambria for being a willing instrument to open the eyes of many.

  • PJ


    Nice blog. Very well written and meaningful. I am happy that you are on your way to pursue your dreams of becoming a cook and a blogger.

    Actually, I am an internet marketer and if you know how to monetize your blog, you should be able to make tons of money someday blogging. You should start your own recipe site. Good luck! 🙂

  • navyduck

    real blog indeed. i pursued nursing because my mom asked me to, i really didn’t know what i wanted so let’s say i learned to like nursing (i didn’t go to any other course to make a comparison). after reading your blog, i realized that for the last 18 years of being a nurse, i can’t remember me saying “i love nursing”. because in all my working years, there is still something missing in my life. well yes, nursing has brought me here in another country and enabled me to enjoy few luxuries and also had a family. (if i wasn’t a nurse and worked abroad, would i have met my husband? well, maybe it was destiny, but that’s another point..)anyway until now there is still that “void”, even if i am happily married with a baby daughter, i know deep inside i wanted something other than working as a nurse. i just wish i can push my self to be like you, pursuing your passion. i love to write and i love photography- unfortunately i didn’t chase that love for it. now i get stuck up with what word to write or say and now i can’t afford to buy a dslr- which i could have bought before getting pregnant, now it’s way down my list.
    i yearn for that embers of passion to burn and drive me to pursue my dreams.

  • Thanks for writing this. 🙂

    It is true; admittedly, I am one of the many who only learned to love Nursing. I guess I was lucky that the kind of personality that I had clicked with the environment of the Operating Room and I quickly became as passionate about it as I did with Art.

    I never gave up Art for nursing. In fact, I actually earn a lot more from a day’s worth of artwork than a month’s work as a Nurse. It’s become a side-line that de-stresses me for when my day job as a nurse burns me out; Nursing fuels me with ideas for my artwork — I suppose it’s become a mutually beneficial source of creativity for me. I’ve learned to balance both my passions; either way, I feel happy. I am one of the lucky ones, I suppose.

    Thank you for writing this amazingly honest article. I hope that every one of us here (nurse or otherwise) will find our true meaning in life. 🙂

  • cyian

    LOL You’re so right! I got into Nursing not because it was a personal choice but rather my father wanted me to. My uncles and family friends who are doctors’ are also the ones that nagged me into taking that course. I’m also a Nursing graduate but after taking the board exam I worked as a call center agent and also as an English tutor online to Koreans as a part time job. I deviated from my profession but at least I got to earn money than volunteering at the hospital and still leeching money for allowance from my parents which I don’t want to do after I graduated from school.

  • Leonore Waterman

    Still, if you want make use of natural processes, then the consultants will integrate this into the design for you to optimize your structure with no incurring greater costs in activities such as drainage and water make use of. — Eberly & Associates

  • Rosana D. Congjuico

    Hi Ambria. What a factual, relevant article in these times of nursing over supply in the Philippines and the concomittant “soul-searching” that I’m sure many nurses are doing to determine what you call your “real passion.” I felt like you were talking to me although I’m not sure if I need to join in your call for introspection to determine one’s “real passion” as you called it. This is because I guess I’m a lot older than you and the rest here and I’m well aware and honestly open about my real intentions in taking up nursing as a second course(which is the same as what you have pointed out in your article.) It’s also crystal clear to me that my real passion is writing. So I’m no longer in that “soul-searching” stage. I was struck though with what one of those who commented here said – that sometimes one does not have to choose one’s profession ’cause the profession (or vocation) chooses one. I can’t say that I fully like my work as an R.N. here in the U.S. but I never stopped believing in that sense of purpose and that God did not put me here for nothing. I honor each paycheck, too as a God’s payoff to me for trying to do the best I can to help the sick and the dying. I have struggled through those long, tiring and difficult shifts enough to consider nursing as a form of a prayer and offering. It’s true that since writing is my true passion, I will always feel a void for this “detour.” What I write at the nurse’s progress notes may be world’s apart from what writers would normally write about. But as the whole universe goes through its own motion of existence, I choose to make my work as a nurse coexist with my love for writing trusting that in being grateful and putting up to something that I may not totally like doing, the good Lord, who put me into this, will find a way for me to have the best of both worlds. I consider the whole thing a matter of faith and tenacity and the gift of a grateful heart. God bless us all!

  • andrea

    Hi ambria, I can totally relate to this article.

    My sister before me rejected nursing, she took up computer science instead. At the age of 20,she was already earning twice as pinoy RNs do and now, she’s already in Singapore working as a java developer.
    my brother got a degree on ECE too but didn’t pursue his career, instead he now works as an I.T. too (he learned a lot from online readings).

    I’m the youngest in the family and like you, I took the burden of studying nursing just to satisfy my father’s will. After I passed the NLE, he witnessed how I struggled my way just to get a decent nursing job. It took me almost 2 years before I got one.

    It made him feel disappointed too when he saw several news articles that said pinoy RNs will have to wait until 2020 for the US to offer nursing jobs. Every conversation we have, I awlays tell him how hard it is to be a nurse here in the Phil. Shifting scheds, overtime working hours without pay, the exhaustion one has to endure for a little amount of pay.

    My eldest sister who works abroad always describe her feeling of sadness when she misses home. She said, “iba pa din sa Pinas.”

    I dream of having a bake shop someday, like you,I have my way of diversion.. baking is my passion. someday.. just someday..

    One who stays in nursing can be considered a hero, because it is a lifetime sacrifice.