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When I graduated in college, I thought that nursing is but a plain science, a profession written in textbooks, and a job dictated by policies and standards, but clearly I was wrong.

After seeing my name as one of the Nursing Licensure Exam board passers last 2013, I was so excited knowing that it was the commencement of my whole nursing career.  My post-graduate enthusiasm pushed me to take up different trainings and to attend several seminars for the purpose of revamping my resume. Two months later, I applied to a nearby hospital, with all the confidence that I can deliver nursing care in the best possible way I can, but obviously I disappointed myself.

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In every duty, I have to struggle with ignorance. I thought I knew a lot about nursing, now I finally realized that our lessons in college were only but a bird’s eye view of what truly nursing is. And even how much I study, there are so many medications, medical conditions, and nursing interventions that I still don’t know.

“Welcome to the real world of nursing”, some nurses often say. Some days feel fine; some days are just simply intoxicating. Some days you can eat your lunch, some days you can’t. Some patients are kind, while others are not. And no matter how you try to control the shift, delays and unwanted circumstances are inevitable.

Actually if you come to think about it, there are thousand reasons to dislike nursing. Besides the fact that the monetary compensation is not really substantial; the workload, pressure, and the stress are just too high. You have to deal not only to the patient but to their families and significant others. You need to collaborate with different kinds of doctors, not to mention supervisors, chief nurses, and the other heads of your hospital.

Nurses are expected to perform bed bath, change diapers, turn the patient, feed the patient, give medications, carry-out orders, and other hundred things; but sometimes all your efforts are never enough. Worse, all the good things you’ve done will be erased if you commit a single mistake.

At times you can’t help but curse the nursing profession and wished that you never took this profession at the first place. You will even come to a point in your nursing life that you just want to give up, take an easier career path, and earn more. But I believe in the saying: “once a nurse, always a nurse”. No matter how you try to deny the facts that you love nursing, it always manifests.

Here’s another comforting truth I learned: you are never alone undergoing this kind of process. Every heart ache and joys are all normal part of a nurse’s life. And sometimes when you feel so weak, helpless, and ignorant, it only indicates that you are a normal individual who is receptive to learning and improvement. Nurses are not made overnight. You have to experience all the ups and downs of life. Nursing is a continuous process of learning and surprises. Yes, you will commit mistakes along the way. There will major setbacks in your nursing career but your experiences in the hospital will not only mold you to become a better nurse, but also a nobler individual.

Despite the fact that nurses are sometimes mocked and disdained, you know in yourself that a simple thank you can melt all those hatred away. You witness how life ends and how life begins. You hold someone’s hand when they breathe their last. You hear the most sincere prayers in death beds and you witness real life dramas happening inside the hospital walls. What could be more exciting than helping your patient’s get-up as he first take a step towards recovery? What could be more fulfilling than seeing your patients walk through the elevator doors, saying goodbye to you? Truly there’s no book that can define what nursing truly is. For me, nursing actually just happens.

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Rina Malones is currently working as a critical care/acute stroke nurse. Besides from blogging, she's also studying International Health at University of the Philippines Open University.