The Unbearable Lightness of Being That Bum

Hullo, registered nurses, and hello friends! Especially people from this batch, yo. So, after everything, aanhin na ba natin ang pagka-RN na ‘to, ha?

Fourth year high school ka noon, at dahil lahat ng matinong paaralan eh gusto magproduce ng maipagmamalaking graduates, supportado nila ang career talks na malamang daw eh makakatulong sa’yong pumili ng course. Pressure ito. Kung anong course ang pipiliin mo ay siguradong didikta sa magiging buhay mo, forever. Bigat. Sige, sila na ang mga pinayagan mag-Fine Arts (Anak, walang pera diyan), sila na ang mga pinayagan mag-Music (Anak, may Magic Sing naman) at sila na ang mga pinayagan mag-Journ (Anak, akala ko kinder pa lang nagsusulat ka na?) So, ano na? Eh ano bang sikat nung circa 2002-2005? Sino ang may masayang buhay nung 2005? Imbyerna. Parang knock knock joke na paulit ulit nang pauit ulit nang paulit ulit. Sino pa ba eh di mga nurse. Mga nurse sa US.

Kakairita, pero alam ng isip mo to. You tried to talk some sense into yourself. Ano kamo, fulfillment? Art? Passion? At the end of the day, you’re just a simple wo/man with simple dreams: Ang gusto mo lang naman talaga ay yumaman. Nang dignified, ha. Hirap nga naman maging passionate pag di mo mabili yung gusto mong kotse, o kaya di ka makapag-down sa trip mong bahay. Nursing it is. Nursing is the answer! Kahit deep down, shit, ang talino ko naman para maging front-liner pawn ng healthcare team. Ganda ng wording nun ah. Yes, I still have some loyalty to my profession. Tsaka di bale, puede namang pre-med pag nakaipon for myself. See-ge, sige na nga!

And so we toiled and toiled for four frickin’ years. Madami ding nag-shift ah, may mga uri talaga ng tao na di kayang pilitin ang sarili. Tayong mga natira, nagshift na din–sa panaginip. Sige na, corny na. But really, happy are those who took up Nursing because they loved it. Wow, love. Kasi kailangang profound and purpose-driven ang buhay na ito.

Pero congrats, kasi kahit akala mo di na matatapos, sa wakas graduate na tayo, pumasa na ng boards (na noon sabi mo pumasa ka lang babalik ka na kay Lord, aminin), nag oath taking pa. Nagpahinga saglit, naging bum muna (may karapatan!), apat na taon ba naman ng MIMS at Nanda! Ang sakit sa ulo di ba? Confident at optimistic pa nga sabi sa evening news. Pa-training training pa, tanggap na ito ang entry point ng halos lahat ng mga ospital; we don’t have much of a choice, do we? Sabi ko, magaling naman ako eh. Masipag sa trabaho, marunong makisama, bibo kausap, at higit sa lahat, cute. 😉 Ano pa bang gusto nila, di ba?

Eh jusko sangkatutak ba naman kayong magaling-masipag-mabait-cute. Magtapal lang silang tertiary hospitals ng HIRING sa kung sang poste sa tabi, stampede na eh. Nung volunteer ka hihingi-hingi ka pa ng disenteng sueldo eh ang dami-dami diyang para sa experience lang magbabayad pa. Sa’n ka pa. Asan, asan na yang inasam-asam mong nursing career sa US, eh bago ka umalis may requirement pang 2-3 years experience. Pano ka magkaka-experience, wala namang may gusto mag-hire?

Madami satin nasa US/UK/AUS/Canada/etc. na, nurse na don, or something~ Madami satin could afford to turn away from more than four years (in actuality) of hard work. A considerable number enrolled in med, asus naman kasi, tanggapin ang katotohanang such brilliance can do a lot more than just to nurse. Pero statistically speaking di hamak na mas maraming sa degree lang na ito nakasandal, na sa call centers nagtatrabaho saglit para may konting income hangga’t di pa nakukuha ng target na ospital–kamo, baka pansamantalang pangmatagalan. Babalik ka pa ba sa nursing kung may kinikita ka nang doble o kaya triple ng sesuelduhin mo sa ospital, di ba. O fine, kung gusto mo talaga ng future sa nursing, siguro. Kung strong ka.

Yung iba satin, ehem ehem, naghihinagpis in the injustice of it all. Bakit nila nagagawa ito sa amin? Hindi ba nila recognized na hindi lang limited sa nursing ang potentials ng batch na ito? Ngunit gaya ng alam nating lahat, nasa kanila ang Supply vs. Demand shift ngayon (and no, wala akong alam sa economics). Hawak nila ang alas, at kahit sino ka pa, kahit may matinding backer ka pa sa institution of your choice, limited and diskarteng puede mong i-apply. Nakakaloka, ha. Para sa lahat ng taong may pangarap to do good for himself through honest means. Pagkatapos ng sacrifices and careful planning mo, ganito ang lagay ng mga bagay. Although masaya ang bum life kasi may freedom kang gawin ang kahit ano at pumunta kahit saan, alam mong unti-unting nauubos ang stash mo at natatakot ka kasi alam mong hindi puedeng habambuhay na ganito–at lalong alam mong the sooner you are employed, the better. Employment is the true answer! At hindi yung basta contractual lang, ha. Now that I think of it, counted ba ng POEA ang experience as casual employee?

O baka naman ganito lang talaga. (Pero hindi eh. Kwento nila, noon daw, mahatak ka lang nurse ka na.) Baka sadyang kailangan lang maghigpit ng sinturon, bilang pakisama sa SONA ni Pres Noy. Ininglish pa nga ako ng kaibigan ko: We are but in a crowded MRT. It’s currently inconvenient while we’re on our way but we’re gonna like it when we get there. Ininglish ko na lang din: Really? I sure hope so~

Ang sarap sabihan ng mga nag-advise/nag-coerce satin ng I told you so, pero pawang respeto na lang dahil sila ay nakatatanda kaya shut up na lang tayo. But deep down, anong utak ang di makakapag-process ng fact na sa ngayon, despite our credentials, wala tayong trabaho? Sila na mismo ang aaminin sa sarili na sila nga ay nagkamali.

Alangan namang sa umpisa ka magsisi, di ba? Besides, simula pa lang to. Para saan nga naman kung madedepress lang? Puede siguro ang one-day depression, pero mahirap nang mabulok lang dun. Kelangan gumalaw~ Yez, we still bagged this college degree and we still earned it from a respectable university/college. What do we know, right? Yep, sana nga for now lang to. Sabi nga nung Monday, puede nang mangarap muli, and we do not just stop there. We convert our dreams to reality, for our own good. We, the learned, help ourselves.

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  • I’ve gotta say, out of all the related posts that I have read today that talks about the “Contemporary Nursing Dilemma” in the Philippines (yours was the third in a row I’ve read, by the way), I think your essay may have captured–at the risk of sounding like a pretentious douche–the zeitgeist of what the majority of modern Filipino nurses are currently going through right now.

    Yes, seriously. The majority of the posts that I had read (so far) have all devolved into the sort of inspirational-drama drivel that, quite frankly, should only be reserved for the letter writers of “Maalaala Mo Kaya”. But this… this just seems to ring awfully true for anyone who has gone through Nursing school before and had entertained any doubts as to why they keep convincing themselves that there is a future for them in this industry.

    Now, I won’t end this comment by telling you some cliched greeting-card lines like “Be strong” or “God has some plans in store for you”; you can always read Kerygma or go to some Catholic Charismatic group for those sorts of things, I believe. Instead, I think you should start doing what you really wanted to do with your life. If you must, go and fight for it–be it your parents, peers, or any unforeseen obstacles that you may have not imagined yet. I think that, at this point in your life, that’s the best way of doing things for yourself. Hell yes, I know that that’s also cliched, but I think I’ve made my point. 🙂

    • Hello there, Ricnian Master. Thank you for taking time to comment on this post. 🙂 I’d like you to know that I was eventually employed in my hospital of choice in 2010, but that my passion for writing continued to haunt me throughout the year… in the beginning of 2011 I was employed in a blocktimer TV show as a Writer/Producer. I am now a freelance writer for a couple of book projects. I got to assist in writing my first big media event, took ghostwriting seriously and indulged in other media-related stints, too. 🙂

      Thank you for the words, again, Ricnian Master. 🙂

  • jhaeden

    i agree with you..some kids are forced to take up nursing simply bec their parents wants them to and aside from that is the thought of working in a greener pasture.di nila makita ang reality na ang daming unemployed nurses now,my sister is with the same dilemma of not getting a job in a healthcare settings so she decided to work in a call center its sad coz she’s very intillegent BUT….mas malakas ang bata ni congressman eh..whats happening now is not what you know,what your capable of but its whom you know..sad but thats more or less the reality..

    • Life is… unfair. But we are our choices, Jhaeden. 😀 We will not feel empowered unless we acknowledge that we have control over our destiny and that life is what we make it. You may not have that mindset today, but I hope you and your sister realize that soon enough.

  • av2003

    Your blog made my day. tama ka Carla, Life is unfair..It is not the end for the batches of unemployed nurses, life must go on, sabi nga nila “weather weather lng yan”. HIndi na in demand so get a new job, after all graduate ka naman ng college. grow up, di dapat mag mukkok sa isang sulok, bumili ka ng Bulletin Today pag linggo at maghanap ng trabaho..ganun lng yun. …

    • Sabi nga sa Finding Nemo, ‘di ba? Just keep swimmin’… Hahaha. Thank you, av2003!

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