Category Archives: Nursing

Nursing — a vocational profession.

Yesterday, a patient who was recovering very slowly and feeling so sorry about herself said to me “I am sorry that you have to work harder because of me”. I replied, “Nurses can only say they have done their work well if they helped their patients to feel better. If I have done that even at a slightest measure today, I have done what I was paid to do.”
Notice the word that I used: “paid”. Although historically, nursing has been viewed as a vocation, nursing has evolved into a very important profession with a key role in the society. However, evidence shows that nurses’ pay is still relatively low especially when attributes such as critical thinking, quick decision-making and problem solving are taken into consideration. Many nurses who had completed post-graduate studies are not being paid at par with those who have similar educational level in other professions.
Being a lowly paid profession, one can argue that nursing is a profession but remains partly a vocation.

The missing poo

I wish there is an easy way to explain this but yesterday, we lost a very important poo. It is important because it will lead us to an information that will affect our team’s next plan of action. It could potentially result to a big movement.

Many may consider poo as a useless piece of s**t. There is truth in this–in principle, it is one of the body’s waste products. Nobody really looks back before getting rid of it in a flush! However, it is worth a person’s while to take some time to check the colour, consistency, appearance and odour of their poo. You read it right: although non-specific, poo appearances can spot a possible diagnosis.

Upon hearing the news, I went straight to the patient’s room. “I have great news, it was found and it was negative!”. He and his wife laughed crisply. He may be laughing because of one or all of these reasons or none at all:

  • He does not have to produce another poo sample
  • It was negative
  • He never gave as much attention about poo prior to this day
  • He had never met anyone so interested in his poo before.

Because the poo sample was found, test confirmed that we do not need to commence antibiotics. We did not have to isolate the patient. We did not have to investigate if his loose bowel movement that morning was due to the food that was served from the kitchen.

The poo in question has always been there in the laboratory.

Poo lost. Poo found.

Nurse Blogger

Image hosted by
L’artiste Miniaturiste…a clay work resembling a nurse that
we bought from a flea market in Brussels (Sept 2004)
“His hands held mine very tightly as he spoke to his daughter over the phone. His wife, who has brain tumour, was told today that she has three months left to live. John is in hospital today to have his second cycle of chemotherapy for cancer of the larynx (voice box).”

In a week’s time, this blog is threatened. I will be starting a cancer specialist course. This means full-time work, study, social and home affairs and blogging…should there be any time left.

But patients like John inspire me to strive to become a better nurse each day. For me, being a nurse, who can support patients face the battle against cancer, is a great privilege. Nursing inspires me in so many ways. If lawyers made a mistake, it’s a case lost. If accountants made a mistake, it’s a penny lost (or more, of course!). But if doctors and nurses made a mistake, it can be a life lost. The main difference is that life, unlike money, is irreplaceable.

My blog might strive to survive but I will definitely still be able to share my talents in other ways. I will try to keep blogging.