When RN Turns Into NRN (Napilitang Maging RN)…

As a Filipino nurse living in a less than ideal situation, I have learned two things: First, the title RN is not for everyone, both literally and figuratively. Second, for those who luckily passed all the tests to belong to the roster of professionals under the “RN” category, two subcategories, unfortunately, have emerged: the RNs (i.e., Real Nurses with the genuine “heart” to serve) and those NRNs (i.e., “Napilitan lang maging RN kaya naging RN”). Now, the one million peso question is this: Which one are you?

Yesterday, a harmless but depressing post from a fellow participant in an online Filipino Nursing forum suddenly caught my attention. Here is a snapshot of her sentiments:

To cut the long  story short, that nursing student above wanted to be a veterinarian but was forced to take up Nursing; a typical story from a typical Nursing student trapped within an intricate web of societal and family influences. Several years ago, international demands for Filipino nurses sky rocketed and the term “brain drain” phenomenon had enveloped the whole nursing industry. But that was 8-10 years ago. Now, the dice of life is not working for our nurses’ favor. Supply has exceeded demands tremendously, leaving the hopes of nursing graduates hanging in the balance. And this bitter truth now haunts those nurses who were either forced to take the course or influenced by friends and relatives to make the choice. And as the dreams of Filipino nurses to get to the ‘land of milk and honey’ becoming more bleak than ever, some nurses (including the student nurse above) are starting to realize that love for Nursing, at its purest form, should not be half-baked. Not all people can be a nurse, just like not all math-lovers can be engineers. But who deserves the blame for the plight of this “NRNs” nowadays?

Is it the student with a  young mind gullible enough to be influenced and pressured on what path he/she should take in life? Is it the family or the parents who put emphasis more on financial rewards rather than fulfillment in choosing a career for their sons and daughters? Or is it the government and their false advertisements which has resulted in the mushrooming of fly-by-night schools with a sole intention of getting money from the hapless nurse-wannabes? For me, there is no absolute answer as circumstances differ from one person to another.

We can’t blame an NRN for ending up as such because, though she fought for her “real dream” with all her might, she had no choice as financial support for her education was out of her hands at that time; it would be better for her to concede than ending up without a single bachelor’s degree. We can’t also blame the family of that NRN because they were just victims as well, blindly believing that Nursing is the key to be free from poverty and establish a successful career abroad; they just wanted the ‘right path’ for their son or daughter, nothing more and nothing less. Neither can we blame the government nor the nursing school, for the “power of choice” is always for us to use. In the end, knowing what you really want, and fighting for it, is all that matters. If you really have a dream that keeps your heart beating and your blood flowing, then you should have the ultimate courage to defy all odds to follow and achieve it.

I want to reiterate again that Nursing is all about handling and taking care of human lives. And when I say human lives, I mean REAL human life and not just another fake dummy that you can fool around. Nursing  is a serious profession and one can’t afford to commit even a single mistake. In Nursing, perfection is the name of the game and because NRNs are not doing their jobs wholeheartedly (as they were just forced to love the profession and have no choice but to “use their licences”), chances are they will commit mistakes and hate every single day that they work as a nurse. I’m not generalizing here because I know a lot of NRNs who turned out to be competent nurses and have learned to love the profession. But if you know that your heart is not on Nursing, I’m challenging you to step out and chase your dreams. If you are a student nurse just months before your graduation, be patient, wait for that moment and take the licensure exam so it will be a win-win situation for you and your family who supported your Nursing education from the beginning. Then, as you gain independence, you are now free to follow what your heart really wants. It won’t harm if you end up being a nurse-writer, a nurse-photographer, a nurse-teacher, or a nurse-lawyer, as long as you are able to heed your calling and achieve a certain fulfillment no amount of money can buy. Remember, you only have one life to live and if you don’t muster all the courage to pursue what you want, then you will end up reaping despair instead of integrity when you reach your graying years. To be an NRN is one thing  but to  stay as an NRN doing less than ideal nursing job for the rest of your life is another. I’m telling you, it’s better to live by choice, not by chance.

And if you’re one of the lucky ones who belong to the RN (Real Nurse) category and consider Nursing as your first love, you deserve a standing ovation because you have chosen a noble profession that entails dedication, hard work, and a God-given “heart” to serve and care for others. You are an angel in disguise and you deserve every kind of recognition. Take pride on your profession despite every discrimination and road block you will meet along the way, because in the end, you will always be an “RN”, a nurse by profession and a nurse by heart.

Whether you are an “RN” or an “NRN”, what’s important is that a person is not defined by his or her mistakes in life; “who you will be” is more important that “who you were” in the past. Nursing is not a dead end but a stepping stone to a lot of bigger opportunities. All it takes is an open mind and open heart that will accept every possibilities.

RN or NRN, the choice is still yours.

Now, which one are you?

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  • Ade007

    Sakin naman baliktad. Una naging NRN hanggang sa maging tunay na RN sa puso at diwa.hehe. Masasanay ka rin dyan.

  • Hey, what’s the link of that forum? 😛

  • Marco Saysip

    nearly cried to this post, was contemplating on my sister’s condition 4 years ago, she has graduated and has her passed the board now, and after working 6mos. in the hospital, she learned to love it. ( I think )
    now I’m also facing this kind of dilemma, I failed on accounting, now my dad said that I could shift, my dad is a professional, graduated at civil and chemical engineer, I picked Chemical engineer as my 2nd course (my choice, I like Chemistry) but after reading this post, I feel like I should op for Fine Arts or Conservatory of Music. it’s just months til the enrollment, I don’t think I have the heart to open this topic to my father. My Maestro advised me to finish ChemEng and study again for Music. (he was in the same boat.)

  • foxraiders

    me too, at first di ko feel maging nurse, but for my family, para maging masaya sila, pumayag ako, but then, i discover na masaya maging nurse, madame ka nakikita na ayaw makita ng ibang tao,(life-death situation).
    To make it short, i just found out myself loving this profession!
    And very happy to see my family never been disappointed.

  • rudy cepe

    tama si ade007…masasanay ka rin…ang alam ko to be a professional nurse, one requires both aptitude and attitude…it’s your life after all…although not your choice give yourself a chance to make it through…Besides, you have the good Lord at your side, ask Him for guidance and strength…Good luck! ^_^

  • joanna

    i dont know how i became a nurse.i didnt choose any course and just went with the flow (that time BSN was indemand. Until now i think i dont have the heart for being a nurse.what i know is I want to help sick individual and know how to manage their health complaint and know the skills needed in nursing- to be expert in nursing..though weird and i usually say come what may. see? i am still working as a nurse and thinking that after my contract here in KSA, i am going to apply as a nurse still..

  • pinkee

    well written. may this serve as an eye-opener for all types/kinds of nurses all over the world. i am just so happy that i defied my father’s dream for me…at least i was able to do what i love the most…care for patients. i still fulfill my passion though, through paper works now…but i am also in touch with my patients whenever some “difficult” to deal with situations arises. am so happy coz i could do things other than just nursing care.

    but one cannot have everything all at the same time…coz i cannot take care of my aging mom as i am so far away from her…taking care of the sick other than my own…and this saddens me at the same time…IRONY OF LIFE.

    • Flordeliza Pablo-Sabado

      I could say I am in the same boat as you. We take care of other people but could not take care of our own family as we are away from them. My only consolation is that I am now the sole breadwinner and it feels good to be able to do what you always wanted to do and provide for your loved ones. Di ba kahit anong job, yan din ang bagsak natin.

      In whatever circumstances we are in if we don’t try to enjoy and love what we are doing, it will always be hell for us, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Nanjan ka na, panindigan mo na. Good luck.

      • pinkee

        you are right flordeliz. grow where we are planted and enjoy what is given us. that way we are able to do what is intended for us. may the good Allah guide you to the straight path while caring for our sick brethren. Allah bless!

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  • cezzy

    CERTIFIED RN 🙂 pero nung una kasi gusto lang ng tita ko na mag-Nursing ako. Siya kasi nag papaaral sakin. Ng mga panahong yun naman eh wala pa talaga akong gustong course. As in wala talaga akong maisip. Kaya ayun nag-Nursing ako.. tapos ganun pala yung set up. Medyo naloka ako ng bahagya kasi kailangan mag aral ng mabuti at masinsinan. Habang patagal ng patagal lalo ko siyang minamahal hanggang sa mamalayan ko nalang na hindi ko kayang hindi maging RN. Kailangan maging RN ako. Dapat maging RN ako para marami akong maalagaan at matulungan. Kaya pag ka graduate ko di na ko nagpatumpik tumpik pa. Review then exam. Sa ngayon sobrang saya ko kasi madami akong natutulungan kahit sa mga maliliit na paraan. 🙂 <3

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