Memoir of a Girl

The stories of my life

I’m a Filipino citizen, who knew? October 16, 2012

Filed under: Trials and Tribulations — krisedja @ 11:05 am
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In October of 2009 I packed up everything I could fit into twelve suitcases and four backpacks and boarded a plane with the littles. We flew out of JFK; after short stops in Anchorage and Taipei, we landed in Manila about 20 hours later. It was so hot when we exited the terminal that I couldn’t take pictures; the camera was still cold from the plane and I couldn’t keep the lens from fogging. And so it was the beginning of the adventure.

I spent eighteen months in the Philippines with my three littles. I went there to finish my nursing degree but the details of why will wait for later.

It’s been eighteen months since I’ve been home, and I am still waiting for the certification process to come to an end so that I can take the NCLEX.

This past Friday I received an email from CGFNS (the agency that does the certification) with great news; they had received the last official document that I need from the Philippines. The excitement was overwhelming, and just as it was beginning to dissipate, I received the second email; the document was incomplete, my birth date was missing. After circles of telephone conversations I found out it wasn’t that simple.

You see, what I needed from the Philippines was a letter from the PRC (Professional Regulation Commission), stating that I was not eligible to sit for the nursing licensure exam in the Philippines because I am not a citizen. What CGFNS received was a latter stating that I, a citizen of the Philippines, holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, did not sit for the nursing licensure exam, though I was eligible.

It took over three months for the PRC to send that letter, and now I will wait again. Will I be able to complete this before my twelve month CGFNS application expiration date?


No Comment August 20, 2010

Or in other words, more. culture. shock.

A few weeks ago I did my first rotation in a surgical ward at a government hospital. When I say ward, I mean what we typical Americans think of if someone said, “you know, like the hospitals in the 1950′s,” or at least, for those of us who never experienced it, what we see on TV.

There is one large room with let’s say, maybe 30 beds. Not the hospital beds we know with buttons and heads/feet that go up and down. No, more like dorm room beds, with hard vinyl mattresses, a hospital sheet that is as thin as paper and doesn’t stay on, and you have to bring a pillow from home. There might be a large electric fan on the other side of the room, but you should bring one from home because there is no such luxury as air conditioning in this room. There is one bathroom. I’m not sure, but maybe it has three toilets in it, and everyone in the ward, including the “watchers” share it.

There are actually rooms like this, one for the men, and one for the women. Have I said enough?

While I was on this rotation, I did a lot of preparing of medications. Lucky for me my patients, math has always been a strong subject for me; I’ve never had trouble doing math for medication dosages. I was preparing a simple medication; let’s say the patient needed 100 mg of this med, and it came in a 2 ml ampule labeled 50 mg/ml. I quickly determined that I need to give the patient 2 ml in order for him to get the correct dose of 100 mg.

My clinical instructor looked at me and couldn’t figure out how I could get that amount in my head, but just went with it.

The following week, the clinical instructor gave us a quiz. On the quiz were things like the 10 rights of giving medication, the color coding for the medication cards, and some IV flow rates/dosage problems.

We went over the answers after finishing and turning the quizzes in, but I wasn’t paying much attention because I didn’t remember what I wrote for all of the dosages. Until. Someone asked him to explain further, because they got a different answer than the instructor, and wanted to know how he came up with the dose.

To make a long story short, the clinical instructor indicated that the correct answer was really double the amount of the correct dosage. We went over and over and round and round, and finally he understood where the problem was. Later in the week I asked another instructor to complete the same problem, and he also answered with double the correct amount. He suggested that I talk to the dean, because the instructors learned this formula they were using for figuring meds, and as I had already concluded, this is a serious problem.

I followed his advice and spoke to the dean who immediately understood the problem, however… The reaction was not quite what I was expecting. I was expecting to hear something to the effect of  ‘we really need to address this with the person who is teaching medication dosages, and be sure that all of the clinical instructors in the hospital are aware of this’. What I heard was something more to the tune of how they use a standard formula here [in the Philippines]; the pharmacists, the doctors, and the nurses, and how this, that, and the other agency and person need to have this brought to their attention. There was also a comment about speaking to the doctors, who are ultimately responsible for this…(?). Say whaaaa…?

In another class, I received handouts about nursing as a profession, patient’s rights, and nurse’s rights. The bottom line is that nursing is a profession. Nurses are professionals. Nurses have the right to be respected and trusted, not only by patients, but also by colleagues. I think doctors count as colleagues. Here, they don’t agree.

Here, doctors are Gods, and if you question an order, you might “hurt their ego.” Yes. You understood that correctly. If you are a nurse in this country, you follow the doctors orders even if they are questionable; even if you know there are additional things that should be done for the patient (let’s say a daily weight/abdominal girth on an ascites patient), you do not take the initiative and do these things if the doctor forgot to write it in the orders. You do not ask the doctor if these things should be done. Apparently, here, the doctor’s ego is more important than quality care, or possibly life.

I’m having a hard time right now, as I have more and more hours of duty logged in. I’m being exposed to more and more eye openers every time I have a new rotation. I am trying to find some kind of balance, a way that I can somehow ask questions without getting into trouble while I am representing my school. I’m trying to ask questions more in an ‘I’m just wondering kind of way’, hoping that I am bringing something that needs to be addressed  to someone’s attention. Something that needs to be changed, desperately.

I’m trying to be the change I want to see.

How can I be that change and culturally sensitive at the same time?


Days Like This February 20, 2009

Filed under: Trials and Tribulations — krisedja @ 11:36 am
Tags: , ,

I know that it is possible, but I just don’t see how this day could possibly get any worse. 


Let’s start with the fact that I’ve been wicked sick all week, and GOD FORBID that I should actually be allowed to stop and rest.


Then let’s move on to the experience I had last night with the first exam I took for my online genetics class.  For starters, it is an ONLNE class, so why should I have to go ONTO CAMPUS to take an exam?  If it can’t be all online, it should’t be an “online” class at all.  The email I had in response to my request for the date and time said “go to room 920″.  That was it.  I arrive at room 920 to find that it is a lab, and it is full of business… and I think to myself, self, this is not an environment that is very conducive to taking an exam.  After waiting a few seconds at the door without anyone noticing me, I go in and say to someone who was just standing around, that I was there to take an exam.  She directed me to a gentleman who was seated at a big desk.  When I said, “excuse me, I am here to take an exam,” I was thoroughly lectured about how I could not just walk into the micro lab like that because it was a restricted area.  Well… I think then that maybe he should have said that IN HIS EMAIL TELLING ME WHERE TO GO FOR THE EXAM. 


I had an hour to complete the exam, and in an hour I was not done, but handed it in anyway becuase I didn’t want to get yelled at again.  The only reason I mention this is because I am normally one of the first ones finished when taking an exam, and it is quite unusual for me to not have enough time.  In fact, I can confidently say that I have never not had enough time to finish an exam.  Needless to say, this business of not having enough time to finish the exam did not please me.


Moving right along to this morning… as I mentioned, I have been sick all week, and I still feel like complete dookie.  So, this morning, I get up and jump in for a quick shower because I hear the babies are awake upstairs and figure they can’t do as much damage in their bedroom as they can having free reign of the downstairs.


So I can hear the pitter patter of little feet while I am in the shower and as I get out, I think the husband must have gotten up and brought them downstairs.  When I exit the bathroom I realize that is not the case though.  I head upstairs to get them dressed and I find Lucy sitting behind the rocking chair, answering me with a “no” when I tell her to come here and get dressed.  I figure, no big deal, I will take care of The Baby first.  Again, I beckon for Lucy to come out from behind the rocking chair, but finally have to convince her that we are going “bye-bye” to get her to come out… at which time, I discover that not only has she gotten into the vaseline that was in the basket on the dresser, but also the A&D ointment… and it IS ALL.OVER.EVERYTHING.  


I get that mess all cleaned up and head back downstairs to finish getting dressed and get my stuff for work together, during which time Lucy not only emptied my purse, gleefully writing all over everything with the pen she found, but also got into the husband’s lotion, emptying the container not only all over herself, but also all over the couch.  


After taking care of that, I go to get in the car and it wont start.  I go back inside and tell the husband it wont start and I ge a lecture about how I left the light on and he had to turn it off last night, and I need to make sure everything is off before Iget out of the car…. AS IF I DONT ALREADY KNOW THAT LEAVING LIGHTS ON IS NOT GOOD FOR THE BATTERY.  In the mean time, I also know that leaving a light on for the 4 hours between me getting out of the car and him coming home and turning it off is not going to kill the battery so much that it just doesnt start… at all…


I call AAA, and go drop the babies off at the sitter’s with the husband’s car… get home to find the AAA guy running all these diagnstics on my car, and I need a new battery. So I ask the guy, after he informs me that the dealership that has been doing the oil changes should have been checking the battery as part of the once-over, and should have noted the corrosion that is all built up, if he can guestimate how old the battery is, because it was supposed to have been brand new when I bought the car a little over a year ago… lucky for me, it was stamped 4/06… meaning those effers from the dealership where I bought it had never replaced it.


I finally get on the road to work after the AAA guy replaces the battery, get about half way there, and I have a message that I have the husband’s car keys, and he needs to leave… he was not very happy. 


So that was the fantastic start to my fantastic day… we shall see where it goes from here.