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Life at East Avenue Medical Center Pulmonary Section

While I was waiting for the result of the Nursing Licensure Examination, I temporarily worked at Magsaysay Lines as a notary staff. I lasted for two months because when the result was released I quitted the job to process all the usual requirements needed in searching for a job.

I had attended several trainings including ECG Reading and interpretation at Philippine Heart Center, BLS, START Triage and First Aid at CHEERS, Intravenous Therapy training at Veterans Memorial Medical Center and Basic Critical Care Nursing conducted by the Critical Nurses Association of the Philippines, Inc. The latter had led me to my first clinical experience after passing the Boards.

One of the speakers of the BCCN training is the Operations Manager of Fastmedics Corporation, Mr. Jesus Espinas. During his discussion, he informed us that they were looking for trainees to practice in East Avenue Medical Center for three months, no fee and after finishing the said training those who were able to complete the course will receive a certificate indicating that he/she was trained as a Pulmonary Nurse. I got interested and so was my friend Aivyn, for the reason that he said that those who will be chosen will be assigned in the ICU. I saved his number and after few days we submitted the needed requirements asked at EAMC’s Pulmonary Section to Sir Jess and to the Senior RT,Maam Ems.We were immediately accepted as Pulmonary nurse trainees, no exam, no interviews. In short, no sweat!

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It was November when we started the training. Of all the 20 plus participants in the BCCN, only four of us got interested–me and Aivyn, and Loren and her friend Joven who became my buddies during the three-month long training. During the first three weeks, we were just inside the Pulmonary Section because we do not have yet the uniform. We practiced extracting arterial blood, setting-up ventilators and mastered the paper works.

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I was nervous and excited on the very first day that we wore our scrub suit uniforms. I was thankful that we have the same set as those with the staffs because, as Sir Jess had put it, the patients and relatives will not think that we are just trainees. Of course if they found out we are just trainees probably they won’t let us handle them.

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What I thought before was that the training will let us handle patients in the ICU as a nurse but I was mistaken. Our job is more on being a respiratory care practitioner or an RT because we focused more on the technical aspects, we operate machines like ventilators, ABG machines and PFTs. Nevertheless, I’ve got no regrets because I have a skill that not all nurses have.

Unlike nurses working on wards, our job back then was way much easier. We receive endorsements, have rounds every four hours, feed ABG specimens, perform pulmonary function test (which is not every day), hook ventilators if there is a doctor’s order and remove vents when someone has expired or weaned. We worked on 12-hours duty but it was light compared to an eight-hour ward duty though I really lose weight because of lack of sleep.

One of my most unforgettable moment at EAMC was new year’s eve because I was on duty from Dec 31,2011 7pm to Jan 1,2012 7am. It was a good experience spending my New Year at the hospital although I missed my family. I watched firework displays. There were many of it, so colorful, so wonderful and I’m pretty sure those were extravagant too. After watching fireworks, we ate those foods we brought. I purchased a pizza. Sir Sherwin bought a doughnut and Sir Jabz brought a Salad.

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Three months had gone so fast. We were offered a job as a trainee with allowance but the four of us declined it. My reason, I wanted to develop my skills as a nurse because not all of those nursing procedures we have done in the return demonstrations were performed in the actual setting. I have to have nursing experience more on bedside care rather than the technical aspect if I really want to go abroad.

As short as the time as it may be, we had developed a family. The staffs were kind and I had learned a lot from them—technical aspects from the Respiratory therapist and computer shortcuts from Maam Juvy plus life lessons courtesy of Sir Jess’ advices.

My experience dealing with critically ill patients made me realize how short life could be, how blessed I am that I am still living. It hurts to see those faces of the dying patients relatives pleading to pay just a half of the down payment because they’ve got nothing more just to prolong the life of the failing family member through ventilator assistance. I had witnessed the undying love of an old man to his seriously ailing wife, who stayed in the hospital 24 hours a day not giving up on the small piece of his wife’s survival.Ive seen the strong faith of a father not losing hope for his stick thin, brain dead son’s health to progress even if he has been confined for almost a year and was proclaimed to have few months to live.

I thank God for this training. I learned to value life more. Every second counts. Let us spend it wisely.

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