What is nursing without compassion?
I haven’t asked myself this question for quite a while now. Perhaps, I have been very preoccupied with the stresses of being a junior nursing student and an editor-in-chief that I sometimes tend to forget the simple yet important things in our profession. It was not until our class was required to attend ABS CBN news anchor Ms. Karen Davila’s talk, Discipline: Path to Personal National Progress, when I have been reminded of the importance of having discipline, passion and compassion towards the things one does.
Who would have thought that a famous ABS-CBN news anchor could talk sense and relevance to a group of future nurses and remind them of their responsibilities to themselves, their families, their patients and of course, their country? I do not mean to be indulgent and give Ms. Davila too much praise. It’s not her persona as an established broadcaster that I would like to dwell on—rather, the substance and sense of the words she had imparted within that short span of time is what I would like to highlight in this column.
The words of wisdom served as a good reminder, a wake-up call if you may want to term it as such, amidst the very hectic schedule and challenging school workload that we were beset with. It reminded me of the importance of enjoying the things that we do and making the most out of every situation that we are placed in. It reminded me of the passion that we must for our work and how that passion can give one so much drive and make us affect a huge difference. It had reminded me of the simple yet vital things that we tend to forget whenever we are preoccupied with our own ordeals. It had reminded me of our field’s essence – compassion and care – and that without them, we forfeit all that we work for, which is our identity as Thomasian nurses. Perhaps, I am being too idealistic in believing that values must accompany education in the formation of good citizenry in a country and in the continuation of the good posterity of professions.
In this era, when nursing has become a hit—or a “trend” if you may allow the term—a lot of our students have been persuaded by the prospect of gaining monetary rewards in the long run, or pushed by their families to pursue this course for hopes of greener pastures.
Some individuals may have been undecided, and eventually went for what they believe was practical. They wanted to have financial stability, so they chose what they could foresee as financially-rewarding. It didn’t really matter what they had to do as long as they will be able to earn a good living. They make money as their driving factor - nothing more, nothing less. I wonder though—what will happen to them when the money is gone?
Those who were pushed by their parents have been impelled to face something so foreign that they dismiss it as a stressor in their lives and want to be out of it as soon as they can. Some of them would finish the course just to satisfy their parents’ wishes, and then chase after their “real dreams”, believing that this was the only best solution.
I can recall an established professional saying that this was inevitable and that those who were forced to take up this course will learn to love the profession when they start with their related learning experiences. Truly, a lot of successful nurses didn’t plan on entering the profession. They would always say that they just learned to love it in the process. I would like to believe this because I know that the experience one gets from Nursing can be so unique and fulfilling. However, most of the time, this is not the case. The feelings of disinclination persist to the point that any chance of converting an “obstacle” to an “opportunity” is hindered. This leads to the production of future nurses who lack the drive in everything that they do and be nonchalant towards the simplest acts of having compassion and caring. They may still be functional and knowledgeable of the dos and don’ts of nursing care. However, they lack the very essence of the profession—caring—a simple yet powerful quality that can make the big difference. Caring is an experience that only a few professions are privileged to provide, and as a matter of fact, this is what we nurses are given in abundance. Nursing allows us to affect other people’s lives and make them better. It gives us the opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, to exercise our role as stewards and stewardesses of God’s Creation, and to gain that sense of fulfillment once our efforts are put into good use. This, I believe, is much more fulfilling than any satisfaction money can buy.
But what can we do to change this trend in a trend?
Hoping that this would remain etched onto every single reader’s mind, I would like to emphasize on what Ms. Davila said, “There are no accidents in life. Everything has a purpose.”
To my fellow students who chose this course out of their own free will, I salute you. May you find the deeper meanings of life that this profession can bring, and may you always keep the passion inside you burning. It may be a bumpy ride filled with rocky roads and jagged trails along the way, for the roads were never smooth, never easy. Yet never forget the very essence of why we are spending restless days in the classrooms, and sleepless nights shoving our noses on the hollowed spaces of our books—never forget that this is not only for self-improvement, but also for the better quality of care we could give to our patients. The aforementioned would be useless without compassion or care.
To my fellow students who feel trapped in this profession, if you are not meant to be in this college or in this field, then you would not be here in the first place. It may not be to your liking, yet the fact remains that you are here and you had no other choice but to stay. Since you are here, you might as well enjoy the ride. Resisting and carping would only make it difficult for you. There are a lot of opportunities that you could embrace, and a lot of people to appreciate along the way. Make the best out of the situation because that’s what you’re given and that’s what you are going to get.
Perhaps, another way to look at it is this: If you were in the position of your client, who would you want your nurse to be? Would you want your nurse to be insensitive, uncaring, unknowledgeable and ignorant? Would you want to feel that your nurse hates what s/he is doing or is forced to care for you?
So now, I ask you again. What is nursing without compassion?