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Nurses in Varied Decent Work Settings

EXTRAORDINARY people are going above and beyond to serve their communities. For some it’s a sense of duty. For others it’s an obligation. And then there are those for which it’s a necessity. Three years ago the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. Nobody knew exactly what lay ahead. But over the course of the following 36 months, extraordinary women and men have risen to the occasion to serve their communities. Their names aren’t necessarily recognizable. But the actions of these heroes have without a shadow of a doubt made our world a safer, better place.

Celebrating nurses and honoring our heroes in varied work settings was made possible last March 18, 2023 by the BSN Level 4 Nursing students of the College of Health Sciences – Nursing Department of the Naga College Foundation, Inc. in their subject Decent Work Employment and Transcultural Nursing. Although the most common workplace for nurses is in the hospital, they may also work in other places such as in the home of the patient, in residential care, in research environments, nursing homes, medical clinics, communities, companies, Institutions, Agencies, PNP, Military ,in the Academe among others. Incredibly strong, hard-working and inspiring group of nurses were visited, interviewed and given tribute in the following settings: First, Missionaries of the Poor, a Roman Catholic monastic religious institute of Brothers and Sisters dedicated to “Joyful Service with Christ on the Cross” to serve the poorest of the poor located at Zone 6, San Rafael, Cararayan, Naga City, Philippines with Mrs Marissa Ruiz Tolentino as Nurse in the Apostolate Center for 7 years under the leadership of Brother Cipriano Certicio Jr, MOP; Second, Bureau o f Fire Protection under Senior Inspector Peter Paul Mendoza, BFP Acting Director and nurse Mitch Chilee as representative of nurses working in the Bureau. Firefighters do not only respond to fire incidents but also to medical emergencies. The BFP provide a wide avenue for nurses to continuously practice their profession for they could still apply their acquired knowledge and skills in school and hospital setting when responding to emergency situations. In addition, the bureau equips all Emergency Medical Service personnel especially the nurses with up to date trainings and seminars wherein BFP nurses are able to expand their skills and knowledge thru EMT trainings; Third, Philippine National Police Cam Sur under the leadership of PCol Julius Caesar M. Domingo, PNP Police Director CamSur and PNP Naga NCPO City Director Nelson S. Pacalso. PNP registered nurse job is no typical work. PNP nurses include PSsg Richard O. Abejero ASTCOF/PARMO, PSsg Karen B. Callo, Minalabac MPS, PSsg Jonah Merilles Quien San Fernando MPS, PSsg Iyrene G. Bustarga Pili MPS, PSsg Joe Vernon M. Cabaltera PIU/CSPPO, PSsg, PCPT Hipolito O. Sangalang, PSSg Lindsey Lehner C Villamora, Imagine all the things nurses have to do on a regular basis, such as employing critical thinking skills in high-pressure situations, managing emergencies with swift and decisive action, and maintaining a sense of calm for medical teams and patients alike. No doubt about it: being a nurse in PNP is an intense role, but it’s also incredibly rewarding; Fourth, BJMP Naga under Regional Director JCSupt Joel S. Superficial and Editha Abina Kipte, Provincial Jail Administrator with Chief Nurse JO2 Aaron Cabuslay and JO2 Mac Allison Calleja as BJMP nurses; Fifth, 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, Philippine Army, Brgy Caroyroyan, Pili, Camarines Sur, primary infantry unit assigned to combat communist insurgency in the Bicol Region under the leadership of Major Gen Adonis R. Bajao , Commander of 9th ID with LtCol Cherry L. Sonsona Chief Nursing Service , CEASH . Being commissioned in a nurse corps puts a rewarding rank of 2nd Lieutenant at the respected course of service. Promotion in rank requires a nurse to complete the milestones in this career and may include the basics of competition herein. Serving the military does not only produce an exciting course of life but also builds a creative realization of a dignified and disciplined role. All military divisions like the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Coast Guard have nurse corps, defined as an independent or semi-independent military command which is composed of a group of members with a common goal. Nurses may assume the role of a soldier, marine, sailor, or an airman but may resume her role in health in tents or fixed facilities, as well. They assist the surgical teams and may work also on hospital ships at times. A military nurse may not only practice her profession in the said challenging battlefield but also in many settings, clinics, military hospitals, and even in the community. Nursing as a flexible profession proves to all that a white uniform is not only its perfect identity but also wearing a camouflage one. Nursing care immerses in a vast of unique and challenging career these days. It flourishes in different societal roles even becoming a regal military nurse. Despite the unique challenges of military nursing, the rewards of this career path are numerous. For one, military nurses have the incredible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of soldiers and their families. By providing quality medical care during times of conflict and emergency, military nurses can help bring peace of mind to those who have experienced trauma or have been separated from their loved ones. Military nurses also have the chance to travel and work in different parts of the world. This gives them an opportunity to experience new cultures, gain valuable international experience, and broaden their perspective on life. In addition, military nurses get to serve alongside other military personnel, which comes with its own unique sense of camaraderie and connection.

Another area where nurse excel is through nurse entrepreneurship wherein nurses effectively channel the interests they are most passionate about, such as nutrition, technology, or education, into a specific field. For instance, the nurse entrepreneur who is passionate about reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease may focus their career path on developing devices that can help people better manage their blood pressure, cholesterol, and other elements that can impact their heart health. In the case of Mrs. May Belle Tan-Velasquez , a Registered Nurse by profession made use of her knowledge and skills in nursing in taking care of her family and relatives, However, her first love and inclination is in business as she helps manage their family business Marantz Tailoring. During the pandemic she’s one of the multitude who embarked in on-line selling under Pink Panda by Chef Belle in Naga City offering home-made cakes and pastries featuring their all-time favorite cheesecake. Just recently had their grand opening of a dream business Bellissimo Boulangerie & Patisserie, café which offers variety of food from appetizers, pasta, sandwiches, delectable desserts and rice meals, their bestseller Biscotti, breads, cookies and other pastry products paired with refreshing fruit tea-based drinks and a cup of coffee. May Belle and her spouse Dominique, a Chef himself are into setting up grazing table in weddings, birthdays and other occasions. Nurse entrepreneurs need to embrace the flexibility that comes with the role and use it wisely. Working independently gives nurse entrepreneurs the ability to control their own schedules and build a better work-life balance. However, it also comes with the responsibility to build their schedules in a way that optimizes effectiveness for their businesses to grow and develop. Noteworthy to mention are the following nurse leaders namely: Mrs Teresita B. Pambid, RN,MAN, Dean, College of Nursing of the University of Nueva Caceres, researcher and Community Health Nurse, Dr Stanley O. Dy Ph.D., RN, RM, MAN, AVP/Dean of NCF-College of Health Sciences, a Nurse, Midwife, and Community Health Nurse, Mr Raymundo S. Vargas, RN,MAN, nurse and Laboratory Coordinator and Mr Rene Poliente, RN,MAN nurse and midwife.

Florence Nightingale as the “Lady with the Lamp” and the founder of modern nursing across the world can truly be proud of our nurses today. Just like her, a remarkable woman whose influence extended to nursing, health care and social reform, army health services, religion, statistics and more, our nurses today embark on same of workplaces and more. When she was 17 years old, Nightingale received, what she believed was a clear calling from God to be of service. She didn’t know what form the service would take at that point, but at 25 she identified nursing as the way to reach her goal of reducing misery and suffering in the world. She was a serious student of theology and metaphysics for the rest of her life.

Nightingale was born as a member of the upper classes where the role of the women in society was to do the social rounds, marry and have children. From a young age, she was could not accept this as her future. Nightingale’s life was dedicated to reforming the causes of ill health and improving the care of the sick. Besides establishing nursing as a profession for educated women, she worked on reform in health administration, poor law legislation, public health, and army medical services. Nightingale’s toughness, brilliance, and upper-class background enabled her to deal with royalty, cabinet ministers, and ambassadors to achieve her goals. She was a political activist and engaged in extensive lobbying to convince leaders to implement the progressive social reforms she suggested. Nursing as a profession requires a great deal of sacrifice. They see and experience other people’s pain and suffering on a daily basis. They make sure that every patient receives care and medical attention. They work hard and endure long hours of fatigue. Despite all this, they have to be strong not only for themselves but also for others. They provide hope and comfort to those afflicted while they struggle themselves. Suffice to say, it’s hard to be a nurse. One must have not only skills and knowledge, but also patience, compassion, and dedication to serve others. That’s why with everything they have to give, nurses can feel exhausted, frustrated, and even neglected. During the toughest of days, they feel hopeless and powerless.

Jesus, you are the Healer who calls all nurses to serve and to care for people in your name. As we carry out this holy ministry, be with us, bless us with the wisdom of your Holy Spirit and fill us with the compassion that allows us to put the needs of those we serve before all else. In the midst of this highly technological and often impersonal age let us not forget that nursing is fundamentally about being with people in need. It is about touch, a listening presence, a willing and compassionate heart that sees beyond symptoms and signs of illness to a person in need and to their community of concern. Help us to embrace the charism that is nursing to make it our own and in so doing to bring your healing presence into the lives of people in need. In your holy name we pray. Amen.


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