Sunday Currently, Vol.3
The art of nursing is something not anyone can do. It requires a lot of emotional strength and physical stamina to survive. It will make you question everything you believed in and everything you thought you knew. What more if you enter a fast-paced, isolated dimension, called operating room. It’s not a walk in the park as what others look at it.
As a child, I never dreamt of being a nurse. It didn’t cross my mind while I was growing up. Not even once. I didn’t like the idea of wearing that boring white uniform every single day of my life. I didn’t like missing out holidays and special occasions (because I was out there trying to save the world,haha). Only just before I entered college, when my mom suddenly asked me to give it a try, for I was left with no other choice of what course to enroll to, because I can not meet the requirement (and when I say requirement, we are talking here about height. Yes, HEIGHT!) needed for the major that was supposed to land me to my dream job. So, instead of being a stuck up high school graduate for the rest of my life, l enrolled in nursing, after passing the qualifying exam. No questions asked. And so, the rest, as we say it, is history.
The journey was fun, though. The people I’ve met, the experiences I had and the days during our affiliations in different institutions. The case presentations and the cold eyes of the professors and clinical instructors. The sleep overs and group studies. The brain twitching licensure exam. I didn’t regret my decision I made that day, not only until I was about to enter the real world. It was so hard to get a job after passing the board exam because there was an oversupply of nurses in the Philippines at that time. I was unemployed and jumped from one hospital to another for two years, volunteering while waiting to be shortlisted. Then, finally, the opportunity came.
Fast track to present, I’ve been working for quite some time now as an operating room nurse. I am able to experience things, that only a few of those who are in my profession, were given a chance to. The world of operating room is a very demanding place, but you will be amazed and amused. The satisfaction you will get is unfathomable, knowing that you are one of those hands who worked to “fix” someone. Being an OR nurse doesn’t mean you have to take care only of your patient. You also have to look after all the members of the team. Good teamwork will get the surgery done smoothly. The job gets harder each day, but having responsible team players just makes your day wonderful.
The enclosed complex is a high stress environment where a good sense of humor will be a necessity to survive. You will cry. You will laugh your heart out. You will be infuriated. You’ll be confused. Sometimes, you’ll feel lost. You’ve got to face thousand kinds of instruments, equipments, implants and supplies. You’ve got to have a great deal of knowledge about different types of procedures. You should possess a strong heart as an armor against the sharp tongue of your surgeons that can slash and cut through your soul. You should learn to be flexible enough to manage all of their demands during surgeries in a split second. You have to possess a massive bladder and a stomach as small as a pea, ’cause sometimes, you have to work your whole shift for one surgery with a little or no break at all. In other areas, someone can escape in the middle of something to use a few human minutes. For us, we can not. We just can’t.
This job brought me to a different level of the profession. I’ve always been fascinated with the wonders of human anatomy right before my eyes. I can witness a mother’s initial and genuine reaction as she hears her baby’s first cry out into the world. That is happiness in it’s purest form. I can feel that adrenaline rush as we fight for that dying trauma patient be brought back to life. I love the sound of the suction as it sucks out blood during surgeries. I got used to the smell of the smoke, sipping through my mask, from the cautery “buzzing” an artery or two. The sound of patient’s monitor entertains me when those long standing cases lull me to sleep.
It may sound so dramatic, but I think I just landed on a place where I really am supposed to be. It is rather fulfilling to know that you can actually make a change on someone’s life. They rely on you for comfort and are hopeful to see your unfamiliar face again after the most uncertain and scariest point of their lives. Being an OR nurse will challenge you to push through your limits, physically, mentally and emotionally. Sometimes, surgeries come like water overflowing from the dam, that you have to drag your tired self on your way home. But I love everything about this job. One sleepless night can become the beginning of a few human lives, or one restless day can actually mean the end of someone’s ceaseless battle with pain. It taught me to treasure life more because I’ve seen and experienced how to fight to keep it safe and intact for you.
This is what I am. I am what I do. You, what defines you?