In most cases today, it is already common to see people with eyeglasses. Obviously because of their poor vision. However, have you ever encountered or worked with someone who has to wear hearing aids especially in the nursing field at a young age? Well, imagine my story.
First of all, I am 23 years old and was born in the Philippines as the youngest of three. I grew up and studied almost half of my life there. Then, I moved to California to be with my mother. I went to middle school, finished high school and took up a business administration course majoring in accounting in a university in California.
When I was in States, a lot of people had noticed that I do not hear them sometimes and even those minimal noises that they could hear. So my mom and I went to different doctors and had my hearing check-up for many times. They all found out the same result which was my mild to moderate hearing loss. They could not figure out what may be the exact reason for it. But, a flashback to my childhood years came up that I had a swimming accident during my physical education class. It happened so fast and later that day, my ear bleed and I had to rush to the nearest hospital for an emergency check up. I could not really recall which side of my ear was affected but what I can remember was the huge traumatic impact it caused me at that moment and the person who was involved.
Then, there it goes, the reality. I had to wear hearing aids at all times. At first, it was pretty much difficult to adapt to my new situation since it was the time of becoming self-conscious about your own image as a teenager. Eventually, I got used to it. I was also not really treated different back then since in the United States, people do not mind or care much about your physical disabilities. What I just always put in my mind is that it is for my own good and others as well. But the day that I started having my hearing aids, I knew that it was the moment that will change the rest of my life.
As you may already noticed, nursing was not really my first choice. Honestly, I like to be more in the business field and be on a corporate or semi-formal attire than on a scrub suit working in a hospital. However, I decided to move back to my home town and finish college there due to personal reasons.
By that time, I did not know what course to get but I ended up enrolling in a nursing college. There were several reasons why I chose it. One was because nursing is a very practical course. I mean, nursing is a broad course that almost everything is in it. You get to learn different very helpful knowledge, essential information and implement them to our daily lives. Another reason is because I was exposed to the nursing field in my family. My two older brothers actually took up nursing too. They both got their BSN degree and one of them is already a US registered nurse in California. Also, I've heard that nursing was fun and interesting especially the clinical duties and practices.
Then, my student nurse life career started.
My first year of college was actually my favorite. It was that time when people did not know anything about me yet, especially my hearing ability as I decided to keep it to myself. There were only few school officials knew about my condition since they got my records. Since I was somewhat new in the country, I did not have any friends yet. I most likely put my time on my studies other than my family to keep myself busy. I was recognized to be doing good on my academics especially in a nursing subject, but that changed when I eventually met my own group of friends. Although some things changed, I still managed to balance my time between school and friends. Most importantly, I enjoyed my first year of college as I was getting interested in my new school environment and nursing at the same time. I was also chosen to be part of my school's pageant activity. I won as a runner-up with special award. It was that time that I met more great people and get recognized in a good way. It was the year that made me comfortable at my school and boosted my confidence as well.
Then of course, when there are good times, bad times come on the way. Things had changed ever since reshuffling happened wherein you were placed in a different section surrounded with different faces and personalities. It was also the time that I decided to wear my hearing aids since my clinical duties started. I realized that I really needed them for my own sake and of course to others' safety as well, especially patients whom I encountered with.
Unfortunately, we sometimes cannot avoid dealing with people who may be insecure and try to belittle others in some ways. There were rumors and gossips spreading out about me and they were using my hearing loss against me. But what worse is, I had some clinical instructors who doubted my abilities and skills. I remember, one said to me that it is still misfortune for my case because 'I'm deaf'. I mean it is true that I am 'deaf' but she did not have to say it out to everyone and use it as a personal offense to me. It hurts hearing that especially from some one you should be looking up to and encouraging you. It is sad that there are still people who are immature and judgmental but we cannot help it so I had to get along with them as needed for school matters.
From those times, I just moved on and took the courage to just let it go and be myself. My defense mechanism is either go with the flow and laugh at it or avoid it and let them get what they deserve in the future. I did not care anymore and just focused on my priorities and did my best as much as I could.
Fortunately, there are awesome people who accept me for who I am and have been true to me - my closest friends. They already know who they are and I am grateful having them. So I enjoyed the rest of my college years with them. Moreover, there were still good clinical instructors, professors and advisers who appreciated and recognized my hardwork, willingness to learn, and potential to be a good nurse despite of my physical disability. It felt really good and flattering knowing those positive feedbacks and evaluations about my capabilities as a student and a nurse.
One unforgettable experience and achievement that I have is my nursing research paper or thesis. I was unexpectedly chosen by my group to be their leader and I felt like having a big responsibility that time. But I just pushed myself and put my best effort and most of my time in it as I was thankful for a lot of opportunities related to our study. We became a candidate for best thesis, represented our school to present in other colleges, received a certification of recognition and even a best thesis runner-up award on my graduation.
As I mentioned above, nursing was not really my first choice. But as years pass by, it touched my heart and became interested on it even more. One thing that I love about nursing is that you can touch someone's life even in small ways. Being able to put a smile or comfort to others and sharing your blessings are already big fulfillment for me.
Another main reason for all of this is my Almighty God who has been there to guide and help me. I realized that it is probably God's will to put me where I am right now. God has reasons for those things that happened to me in order to prepare myself in the future especially on my chosen career. I even asked God to give me a normal hearing sense, but then he gave me hearing aids instead. It made sense to me. God will never leave you a challenge that you can never get through. Don't give up. Have guts and toughen up!
So what if I have hearing aids, so what if you have a physical disability, it does not mean that you cannot serve others well. It is given that I do not have a normal hearing sense same as almost everyone out there. But, I believe that I can listen well and that's more important. Hearing may serve as my weakness but at least I somewhat turn that perceived weakness into strength. As long as you are doing the right thing, you are in the right direction. Do not get your physical disability or fear lower your self esteem and get you down. Do not be shy about it, but have the courage to be the best person you can be regardless of your physical disability. Show them that you can do it, prove them you are worthy because you really are. That's the spirit of being a strong nurse, a nurse with strong guts with strong mind.
Hearing aids are not just my survival kit that drives me to where I am right now, but what most important are to be God-Loving and to have a positive attitude. There is always a way and God will put you in there in the right time. Also, always remember that there are people out there who love and accept who you are - your loved ones. And of course, there is our awesome wonderful God 24/7
I just graduated last April and hoping to get ATT this year and pass the NCLEX-RN exam first time. I will be a US registered nurse soon and I claim it Lord!
Live to Learn, Learn to Live. With God, We Can!
The male nurse with hearing aids, Atom.