Idealism – (n.) a belief in and pursuit of perfection as an attainable goal.
I have always believed that what’s ideal is always the good to be achieved, but within the span of five months under the first semester of Level II BSN course, these days, I never actually thought of the fact that idealism can also be something relative.
No, I have nothing against seeking perfection, neither am I someone desperate about the fact, but what drove my interest in this, specifically in my field of study, is because I have bumped into this word more often than usual in most of my subjects on a case to case basis.
Frankly, the phrase “this is what’s ideal” have gained its popularity inside my brain as of being part of our everyday lectures given by most of my professors everyday. And what really bothers me most from this typical line is the fact that nowadays, idealism in the sense of noble medical services, is only written in the pages of my thick and heavy text books plus the numerous sheets of photocopied materials that I am supposed to read.
I remember some instances in one of my major subjects, my clinical instructor would start a good lecture that would last for a couple of hours, talking about what’s ideal in our soon to be profession. Guidelines, the pros and cons, what should be done and what shouldn’t, what is needed, and the likes… But oftentimes, in between topics of facilities and medical equipment, a burst of laughter is often heard, may it be because of an ‘un’-inflatable Kelly pad, or a non-folding’-folding bed, or a wheeled bed that doesn’t move, where improvised materials and equipment is used due to lack of it or worse, doesn’t have any of it. Sometimes my professors would joke around saying “wag kayong maghahanap niyan sa ospital ha, lalo na sa mga public hospitals natin ha? Sasabunutan kayo ng C.I. niyo, lalo na pag nagreklamo kayo. This is only the ideal, you have to know that,” and there it goes again.
In one of our discussions in my subject of Health Ethics, my professor told us about the goal of the government in giving the ‘minimum’ health needs of every individual here in our country, the most basic kind of medical service offered as to be the ‘ideal’ target. But further in the discussion and as of any observant, even the least and the minimum health services are hardly attained.
In the Philippine context, where the state of economy has always been under crises and trials, the state of health in our society is understandable. The lack of facilities, lack of employees, lack of knowledge about new gadgets and machines, and most lack of funding to support the welfare if every patient especially in Provincial hospitals, these are just few instances present today in reality that if you think about it, is really something pitiful. And in this kind of environment, the ideal medical service will only be just ‘the ideal’ for the many who can’t afford to pay for it.
I do understand the reasons behind the insufficient claims of health professionals in giving due service, because if you think about it yourself, how can medical institutions provide the needs of the growing number of Filipinos when their own needs are not sustained as well? Indeed it is quite ironic.
But i guess it all doesn’t just end there. For in another depressing reality of idealism these days are hitting the ethical principles of the nursing profession. Nurses have always been known to be noble individuals who chose to help save lives and ease the pain and illness of any suffering individual, the people who give utmost care and concern to the welfare if his patient, but today, these noble deed and service are just becoming part of my curriculum.
When this topic emerged in my Ethics class, I am somewhat alarmed, confused and frustrated to see what lies behind most of the men and women in white uniforms walking along corridors of the hospitals. Somehow, I guess there will always be exceptions to any rule, but to have that exception to treat people badly especially patients, relatives of the patients, co-workers and the likes, are just too much. To put it simply, upon discussing about the ideal virtues a nurse should possess, it all ended up with my instructor telling us, “nakikita niyo pa ba to class?” Oh pity.
I guess there will always be those individuals who chose this profession for the indemand job opportunities, who actually aspired for this profession for money, and took the utmost responsibility of care as the ideals of nursing for granted. I remember one scenario when my mother’s friend knew I am taking up nursing, she actually blurted out “I hope you’ll be nice to your patients when you start to work.” Another, in a hospital situation, my sister was on her graveyard duty, and actually was scandalized to see how ill some nurses treat patients, say like asking a pregnant patient of personal informations who happens to be in labor in an unlikely manner, “Kelan ho ba ang LMP niyo?” and when the mother couldn’t remember (as if she could think when her stomach is aching like hell!), the nurse went like this with a tone not far from shouting, “Ano ba naman ho yan? Simpleng bagay lang hindi niyo pa alam.” Another story, when my sister got confined in a private hospital, my mom asked me to ask for some meds in the nurse’s station because she’s complaining of pain again. And when i did ask for it, what i got as an answer in an irritating tone was “walang binigay na gamot eh. Tsaka kung meron naman ibibigay naman yun eh.” You should have seen my face. I really lost my temper, but i did answer in the most polite way i could. “Di ba nurse ka? trabaho mo yan. Just a suggestion, if you don’t like your job, i guess you should start to find a new one.”
Please. So much ado for the ideals of nursing ethics. Idealism is a pursuit of perfection we should all be aiming for. The effects of physical shortcomings like insufficiencies in medical equipments, facilities and other materials are all understandable. But, the ideals of having a heart of a nurse is something that no material limits can bound. But i guess at this point in time, the hindrance if achieving the ideals in the nursing profession lies in an open heart that is willing to serve.