Yo estudiante de enfermería
‘Yo estudiante de enfermería’ (I am a nurse student), a phrase I pronounce more than ten times a day! Patients and their families who arrive at my section are rather curious what a blond girl with blue eyes is doing with their mom, dad, son, daughter, granddad, grandma, brother or sister.
So, you are doing an internship in the hospital of Málaga? ‘Wow, so cool and the weather?’ Yes, it’s definitely awesome! The weather can be perfect! Today the sun is a bit shy, but the rain isn’t. Now I am warm inside, with a blanket and my laptop to write a blog, which they asked me to do. I love to show others how my life is in Spain, but it is also difficult… I am already staring for hours at the few lines I typed. Where do I start?
From experience I know that the reader wants to read and hear real stories, not only the people who read the stories, but also the people who know that I work in healthcare. They often have their judgement ready “You have to wash butts and cocks, right?” Does anyone of the people who work in healthcare not recognize this question? What do I have to write about that? Or rather the fact that I can see a tendon on someone’s foot.. Or about a pressure ulcer as big as my fist?
What you see as an employee in the healthcare is much more than washing butts and cocks, most of the times it’s indescribable… Behind the story there are hundreds of roads that are walked in the head of the person who works in healthcare. I can’t give real stories some people just want to read, because I find this disrespectful. Every story starts with a person like you and me. Would you like to have a nurse, who is so sweet, to talk about you on a birthday party? No, right?
Day shifts starts at 08:00h till 15:00h and the night shifts starts right after till 08:00h in the morning. This morning, after cycling for 20 minutes up and down hills and changing clothes in the basement, I took the elevator to my section. When I finally arrived the first thing I saw was a big wooden coffin. Did a patient of mine just die?? The transfer confirmed my feeling, a patient died that night.
As the morning continues I checked the vital functions of the patients. When I left a room I see the doctor talking to a family, who suddenly starts to cry. I know enough and continue with checking the vital functions, because I know there are 34 other patients who can really use my help. One man needs a new intravenous infusion, the other a new catheter, another one a new probe. Oh no, that patient just took his infusion out.. and keep on going! Once I arrive at the room where the doctor was talking to the family my feeling is confirmed. The man has died.
‘So, just observing a conversation gives you enough to draw conclusions?’ Yes, then I know enough. The communication through body language is the same in Spain as in the Netherlands. It doesn’t matter which language you speak, everybody is made of flesh and blood. That’s what I love about this job! Believe me, after two months I still don’t speak Spanish fluently, but I developed it. I can understand them quite well, but speaking is difficult for me. How am I able to work in an environment where I hardly speak the language, you may ask yourself?
Sometimes non verbal communication means much more to patients. A gesture, a glimpse, sitting next to a bed, holding a hand, smiling or just saying “hi” has the same result in every country. And that proves you are able to do an internship abroad, even though you are not fluent in the language.
Are you also going abroad? You will have your ups and downs. Life isn’t always perfect, but you will be so much stronger after living this experience!
Everyone can do it, if you believe it!
Lots of love, Birgit van Drie