Filing the resignation for my first ever job has been liberating. Others may find it stupid, or even insane. For me though, this decision has been the most courageous thing I have ever made in my short life.
Since I was young, my mind has been programmed that I will be working in the same hospital as my mother, an accountant. But I was told I will be caring for patients, I will be a registered nurse. High school graduation came quickly and I was prodded to taking up Bachelor of Science in Nursing just like 95% of my graduating class (Nursing was really popular then). I have always wanted to be a writer; I was part of the HS newspaper and later the Editor-in-Chief of my college paper. But being the obedient eldest daughter that I am, I gave in and entered college clad in white uniform.
To add injury to the crime, I was awarded an academic scholarship which I am very grateful for, do not get me wrong. But a scholarship meant that I would have to render hospital service in its same length. Obviously, I got a job quickly, despite the long lines of unemployed nurses then.
It was ultimate comfort zone: my mom just one phone call and a few floors away if I needed anything; me being sent snacks every so often. Yes, my 24 year old self being sent snacks while the other nurses look.
Then I quit.
How do I explain this?
Looking back, a mere one year in employment, I had the awful feeling that this profession I entered is a continuous cycle of stress, fatigue, sleeplessness, and all other things I don’t want to enumerate anymore. The ugliest part was providing my utmost care to patients only to be reciprocated with assaults, bad words, and complaints on things totally beyond the station’s control. Another part I hate was being pushed around every single day by patients, doctors, supervisors, and practically the whole hospital in the hope of draining every amount of energy left in my body. If this is what I’ve studied hard for, I should have taken a vocational course and dirtied my hands.
True, there are happy moments and fulfilling ones, but those are nothing compared to being constantly overworked and understaffed. In college, I was taught how to take blood pressures, administer medications, suction secretions, etc., but nobody told me that I would do it all for 13, 15, 20 patients all at the same time! Nobody asked me if I was ready, or if I really wanted to do it; because if anybody had asked, I would have walked away at once. Here, it felt like as I was trying to save the lives of other people, I was killing myself in the process.
I perfectly know that no job in the universe is like a walk in the park. But I have come to realize that people stay in their jobs for two reasons, just two. One, if it is their passion, if the job they hold provides them happiness, fulfillment; that every sacrifice they do was worth it. And two, if they have kids to sent to school, house mortgages, ill parents, or other expenses that being jobless is not an option. Fortunately for me, I have neither reason.
Of course if times would have been different, I would have endured more days than these four years I have painfully managed. It’s just perfect as I am so blessed that life was better for me.
So 20 days short of my scholarship obligation, I am beyond contented. I have spent a large chunk of my life wearing white and nobody can accuse me of quitting without trying. In fact, I was my best nurse-self the past four chaotic years: not a single medication error, neither an embarrassing suspension from work. I did my best so I wouldn’t have any regrets.
I believe the ultimate reason why I am leaving Nursing is that I don’t want to be stuck. Stuck facing the same patient’s charts for another five or ten years, stuck seeing the same faces of pain and suffering, stuck waking up each day knowing that I hate my job but is a coward not to leave because it’s my comfort zone.
I would never have forgiven myself if I have followed suit in working as a nurse overseas when in fact I would rather be elsewhere than inside a hospital. I am leaving now while I still can. I don’t want to wake up one day having kids, sick parents, or sick myself that I will be in the mercy of my hospital benefits. It all boils down to my personal happiness and my desire to learn and try other facets. I firmly believe that I am a woman of many talents, that whatever my next career will be, I will excel. I bet my future self will thank me for this.
P.S. To all the nurses serving for more than 10 years, you have my respect Ma’am and Sir. It’s a downright difficult job, you must be proclaimed national heroes or something.