During my placement, I have learned lots of things that enhance my knowledge and hone my skills.

At long last I will be able to do now Nursing here New Zealand. It was a long struggle. It was October when I started my Competency Assessment Programme in Whiteria.  This is the program required by the Nursing Council of New Zealand to ensure internationally Qualified Nurses able to practice and demonstrate the ability to meet the Competencies of being a Registered Nurse after the completion of the program. I was assigned in Te Hopai for my 6 weeks placement where I have worked for 2 years as caregiver.

To be honest, Geriatric Nursing is not so common in the Philippines so it was all new to me. As a nurse doing totally different to what I used to is something exciting. An area of nursing that needs more to be recognised. During my placement, I have learned lots of things that enhance my knowledge and hone my skills. First, I was exposed to a culturally diversified workplace. I have learned to focus on what doesn’t work or what is different. Te Hopai have challenge me to appreciate the differences of others and see them as potential drivers of change. The place and the people I have worked with help me appreciate how every person has a different strength and realise that in that strength there is opportunity to grow and be more productive.

Second, I have learned to be more empathetic and compassionate. My desire to work with aging patients was increasingly burning. I have seen an idyllic picture of beauty but also the daily reality that some of the residents faced— of being in pain, confused, unable to walk, tired, depressed and/or agitated. The true beauty of this picture lay in their ability to grin, joke, and relish the bright moments of their days. The human spirit is amazing, especially when it is resilient. By helping them, we respond to our innate humanity to nurture, be compassionate, to listen and to learn. I have developed to respond not only on the physical well-being of their patients, but also for their mental and emotional well-being as well.

Lastly, I have learned to love nursing more because of this experience. It tug a heartstring in me from time to time. It challenge me to become more patient advocate. There are times in which the goal of healing the patient is supplanted by the goal of keeping patients comfortable while treating them with dignity and respect. I have learned to appreciate the works of caregivers and listen and take into consideration their observations and opinions. It develop my skills to be a leader and be more confident to myself. I have learned my boundaries, emotionally and physically. I was able to handle and bounce back from depressing events, such as the death of a patient. All of these experiences and learning made me ready to become a New Zealand registered nurse and for that I am grateful.

Bernard, NurseTeHopai