Abu Dhabi: Nurses speak about joy of saving lives, pain of seeing patients suffer

Khaleej Times spoke to healthcare professionals to know their challenges and what they enjoy most about their job


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Wed 11 May 2022, 8:49 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 May 2022, 10:25 PM

The satisfaction they get, knowing that their care, voice and touch can help save a patient, motivates these nurses to give their best day in and day out.

As the world marks International Nurses Day on May 12, Khaleej Times caught up with nurses from Abu Dhabi hospitals to tell their stories, challenges, and what they enjoy most about their job.

A registered nurse for many years, Membilyn Bocalan chose nursing as a career because she enjoys helping people. “I’m proud of my job. Nursing is one of the most respected professions,” she said. “Knowing that my care, touch, voice, and time can help a patient make it through the day is one of the most rewarding feelings for me. Sometimes it’s the little things that you do for your patient that makes a difference.”

Membilyn Bocalan, charge nurse at Al Rahba Hospital.
Membilyn Bocalan, charge nurse at Al Rahba Hospital.

Bocalan says as a charge nurse, she works in the best interests of patients. “This may include suggestions in the treatment plan of patients in collaboration with other health professionals. It is my role to support the patient and always represent the patients’ best interest, especially when treatment decisions are being made,” she explains.

The Filipina however says being a nurse is one of the most challenging jobs, and it can get physically and mentally demanding at times.

Bindhu Varghese, Nurse Lead at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC).
Bindhu Varghese, Nurse Lead at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC).

Bindhu Varghese who has been in the nursing field for 23 years says she wanted to become a teacher, but her father encouraged her to pursue the medical profession — something she never regret.

“Thanks to my father’s encouragement and guidance, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) at the Vinayaka Missions University, India. I am now very happy to be a nurse, and feel it was certainly the right decision, because part of my present role is also to educate patients,” says Varghese.

The Indian nurse says she enjoys engaging and interacting with her colleagues and patients, and she’s grateful for the sense of community and support within the nursing fraternity.

“Speaking to patients and knowing that my skilled and caring colleagues are there to support me really lifts my spirits, even if I am having a bad day,” she said.

According to Varghese, one of the most difficult things for her is seeing patients in pain, despite doing her best to ease their discomfort.

“There are times I really feel helpless, specifically when caring for cancer patients. But there is also a rewarding side too. I am learning and growing in ways that I never thought possible, and when I hold the hands of patients’ family members, my heart is filled with gratitude knowing that I can offer support and care in times of grief,” she said.

“And the amazing part is that I get paid for doing something I really love. Nursing is my life!”

When patients are in a bad state or in extreme pain, the Indian says remaining calm and empathising with patients and comforting them, often helps ease their discomfort. “I put myself in their shoes to understand their expectations and how would they like to be comforted. This allows me to be of better assistance to a patient who is suffering,” said Varghese.

Glenda Marie Deanon Panopio, nurse at Hili Healthcare Center- AHS
Glenda Marie Deanon Panopio, nurse at Hili Healthcare Center- AHS

Coming from a family of engineers, Glenda Marie Deanon Panopio, a registered nurse at Hili Healthcare Center- AHS says it never came into her mind that she would become a nurse.

“Every time someone would ask me why I became a nurse. I always reply, I believe this is what God has written for me. In nursing I found a profession, vocation, mission and my passion,” she said.

The Filipino says being a nurse plays an important role in providing care for patients to help manage their physical needs, treat health conditions and prevent illnesses.

“I genuinely love to see patient’s smile after I helped them, even in small ways,” she says.

“It is also heartwarming to hear a patient thanking you and praying for you. Such gestures help nurses to keep going despite all the challenges and adversities. It is also that feeling of fulfillment that you have done something good for someone today.

Role of nurses changed over recent years

Panopio believes there has been a drastic change in the role of the nurses over the recent years as previously, nurses were perceived to be only doing bedside care, confined in a hospital.

“This unprecedented event tested the resiliency and adaptability of the nurses to serve the community for greater cause, which indeed proved that nursing is more than just a profession,” she said.

“But due to the surge of the Covid-19 pandemic, nurses are visible everywhere. Being the backbone of the healthcare sector, nurses lead the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination, drive-through swabbing centers and primary screening centers in mitigating the pandemic.”


King Love Teodocio Largo, staff nurse at Seha Kidney Care
King Love Teodocio Largo, staff nurse at Seha Kidney Care

Echoing similar sentiments, King Love Teodocio Largo, staff nurse at Seha Kidney Care, who was inspired by her mother to take on the nursing profession said: “With Florence Nightingale aiding for soldiers during the Crimean war, Clarissa Barton providing supplies and caring to troupes during American Civil war and up to now, nurses are still on war. War against new and developed diseases of our generations,” he said.

“Nurses are still fighting our war against Covid-19, still equipped with care rendering to our patients.”

Largo’s advice to young people wanting to pursue the nursing profession is that they should be smart and kind. “Being kind to others would take you places and understand more the needs of our patients,” he said.

The nurses have also encouraged those aspiring to pursue the career to follow their passion and purpose, have empathy and to give the best care possible.


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