Did it ever occur to you if you’re happy with what you already achieved? I mean, whether you’re working in a hospital or community, does it ever happened to you if that is where your heartbeats?
Some of us choose our area of expertise because it pays well; others because of their colleagues, while a few of us who simply don’t figure it out yet.
I am an Overseas Filipino Worker based here in Qatar who works as a school nurse in one of the prestigious academy. It was my first time, but I didn’t think that moving here was a smooth transition. For me, this country offers a more open and diverse culture where expats are very much welcome and loved.
I considered this country as my second home because it feels like “almost” home. I don’t want you to think that I’m biased, but I think if you’re starting to choose which country you want to go, making this as one of your choices is also right. Let me give you some examples that somehow can support my claim. For instance, when you look in almost any corner nor every establishment, you can see fellow “kabayans” whom you can exchange warm smiles and say greetings to each other. If in terms of foods, there are some “legit” bakeries, Pinoy oriented restaurants (e.g., Max’s, Gerry’s Grill, etc.) and even coffee shops where you can hang out with your family and friends.
Now moving on, let’s discuss my career here, which I never picture myself, to begin with. At first glance, many would think that being a school nurse might be one of the easiest if you’re a nurse. For me, I’m afraid not. Let me give you a glimpse of how did I handle it, and if there are any difficulties as I finished the academic year.
As a school nurse in Qatar, you only work eight hours a day, five times a week, with breaks in between the semesters. Easy? Maybe in terms of the schedule, but when it comes to the work per se, let’s discuss how you literally be one (at most). My work covers children who are at least four to eleven years old. Every age group is intricate because they have needs that differ from each other. The needs of one may vary greatly or similarly from the other. However, as they say, if you always give your tender loving care, you can receive their cordial smiles while saying “thank you” for the care that you’ve given to them. That is what I considered as precious; it can literally lift your tiredness from work and gives you a boost for finishing the remaining time of the day.
Now let’s try to compare a number of things from working in a hospital to school:
In the hospital, we are prone to do some skills-related work (which also depends on what area you are assigned) like venipunctures, NGT placements, and feeding, etc. In school, your tasks are somehow simple: taking vital signs, making assessments (as always), and do interventions, informing parents if you need to give medicines, and, most of all, perform first aid treatments if the need arises.
You are also bound to finish charting at the end of your shift, making sure you documented everything that you did on your patients, every signs and symptom that you encountered, etc. In school, you have to log every student that comes into the clinic along with the (health) concern and the intervention that you gave; make monthly census; medical stocks inventory, etc. Besides, you are also bound to take the BMI and vision tests of each student, periodic checking for head lice incidents (if there are any), and some other related kinds of stuff.
Your duties and responsibilities of being a school nurse doesn’t only include the students but also the staffs who are working in your department: administrative, teaching, and non-teaching staffs. Dealing with adults seemed to be easy since we can probably assess how they feel nor what they need. For students, you have to be more accommodating to their needs and have enough patience to deal with their problems (may it be true or not). Let’s admit it, they’re children and sometimes some of them just want to go home; it’s my duty to at least encourage them to finish the day (especially if they don’t have real problems at all) or to give them interventions that might help them thus preventing me from sending them home.
Most of us will agree that working in a hospital is far different from any areas of nursing. I couldn’t argue with such since I experienced it myself. Nonetheless, working as a school nurse can bring you a different perspective to acknowledge our profession.
So, am I happy being a school nurse? Am I pleased enough, although it’s far different from working in a hospital? My answer is still yes. I’m loving every bit of it and I feel lucky that I experience to be one. It gave me the same contentment back when I work as a staff nurse nor being a community nurse. I mean, whatever you choose at the end of the day, you will still have the great opportunity to serve people with the desired care that they need. That is the goodness of being a nurse. You’re not only confined to one area of expertise, but instead, you have an endless choice for you to choose from.
If you’re someone who still doesn’t found your forte for being a nurse, relax, you still have many years ahead of you. Don’t rush just enjoy where you are. At some point, you will determine your place of happiness at the right moment where you needed it the most. By the time where you finally achieve it, you will tell God that it’s all worth the wait.
Before I end this article, there may be some of you who would ask if I will advise you to become a school nurse as I did? Of course, you have to try it if you are given an opportunity. You will never know until you finally experience it on your own. Handling students is not easy, just like when you’re teaching them.
As a school nurse, you need patience (a bunch of it) and a lot of sincerity for you to gain their trust like what I said earlier, if you’re still on a verge for knowing what you want, make this on your list. There is nothing wrong if you can’t yet figure out what you want. The most important thing is that you are pushing yourself to be better, far better every single time.
Don’t let other people intimidate you or influence you in making decisions out of your career; because, in the end, you are the sole person who will reap the rewards of your success. Keep on fighting and believing in yourself. Never stop aiming until you’re contented. You can definitely do it 🙂