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Jane Rabago

What do you enjoy about the job you have?

My mother always said that nursing is the noblest profession.

When I started doing my clinical placement I saw how nurses, even as students, can actually make a difference in the life of a patient, family and the community.

There is no shortage of things to learn in nursing. Every day is different, an opportunity to learn new things, either with knowledge, practice or evidence to confirm and challenge set practices. If you work hard and study you can achieve more and go far in your career.

You get to meet people with different behaviours and personalities and you learn to adapt and work around it. And when a challenging situation presents itself you are armed with experience.

This is a challenging role and sometimes I go home in pieces emotionally, but my heart is still full of joy.

What challenges have you faced getting to where you are now?                      

I was a late bloomer, I came here to the UK in 2005 with my family including a small child. Time was not mine alone and my priority and my world was with my small family. This said, I never stopped yearning to practice as a nurse.

It was difficult to balance my work and family life while attending courses and the financial side of things was also challenging; exams and courses cost money.

I also had to get used to a new environment, everything was new: the workplace, practice, language culture, food and weather.

I have suffered disappointments and rejections along the way but my view was that I have to create my own opportunities by continuously studying and improving myself. As the saying goes, “you have to be in it to win it!”

I started in the NHS as a band two. A couple of years later my matron saw my skills, knowledge and potential and encouraged me to apply as a band three. I gained my UK qualification in 2019. Then, less than a year after becoming a band five, I felt there was more that I could give, so I applied for a senior post and am now currently working as a band six. To get my qualifications here in the UK and be a part of a senior role is a combination of right timing, right opportunity, right mindset and a lot of hard work.

How does what you do make a difference to other people?

It is a cliche that nurses make a difference, but it’s true. For patients and their families, we are one of the first people that will hold a newly born child, and for most people we are the last person they will see before they take their last breath. The job that we do is multifaceted; we can be a teacher, coach and mentor. Other days, we are faced with caring for people with varied medical conditions and life-threatening situations. At times we are the patient’s personal assistant when we arrange appointments, medical procedures and family meetings. Every day we are their compassionate companions. We hold their hands and we listen, especially when they are at their most vulnerable, lost and alone. We are their voice, encouragement, source of hope, joy and clarity.

For our colleagues we can be a source of strength, inspiration and always a good source of support.

When my work schedule permits I help to train others. This is my way of giving and providing inspiration to my other foreign colleagues. I want them to know that they too can do it. Nothing is impossible and everything is achievable.

What would you say to other women aspiring to be in a similar field and who have doubts about their ability to achieve their goal?

There are three quotes that I live by when I feel I’m losing myself in a battle for my professional and personal life:

“Consistency is the key.” - Brigette Hyacinth.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts” - Winston Churchill

“If all pain and all my tears, and all that I have learned throughout the years, could make one perfect song, To lift some fallen head, To light some darken mind, I should feel not in vain I serve mankind.” - Leo Buscaglia

To summarise, you have to have a purpose, a clear goal of what you want to do and what you want to achieve. Do not be deterred by failure and disappointment, it’s part of the process and will make you stronger. Lastly, you have to be consistent. If you want to achieve your purpose do not stop until you reach it or until you have set another goal.

My mother was right, it is the noblest profession. To be a nurse you have to have your heart in the right place. You will not last a week if it is just all about money. Yes, it is a paid job; the opportunity of career progression is readily available for the takers.

It is a profession that keeps on giving back. Not everyone can give 100% of themselves to the truest essence of nursing. But if you do, you will have joy in your heart when you know you have made a difference, the feeling of accomplishment and pride.