I was in my senior year working towards my Bachelor of Science in nursing and was on clinical duty in one of the provincial hospitals in the Philippines. I was assigned to an 80-year-old man diagnosed with bowel obstruction in the general ward. The patient had a distended abdomen and could not walk properly. He refused medication, but eventually took it after a few talk. He even tried to remove his nasogastric tube, so we had to watch him closely.

Every time the patient’s wife would go to buy his medications in the pharmacy, I would accompany her. She had a cataract and couldn’t see clearly. I felt pity for the couple because they didn’t have a lot of money, and their children didn’t visit them. I felt that they were too old to be left out like that. I gave the wife 100 Philippine pesos, around $2 U.S. (it was the only money left in my pocket). I was with the couple Wednesday until Friday only. It was Monday when I came back on duty and my patient had already been discharged.

During my lunch break, the assistant chief nurse called me into his office. I thought that my clinical instructor had gotten mad because she thought that I hadn’t reported the incident from the previous week. I was really terrified and started shaking when the assistant chief nurse began asking in a husky voice if I had given money to a patient.

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I told him that I had just wanted to help the old couple. Then I asked him if it is prohibited for a student nurse to give money to patients. I was crying while talking to him, but then he started to laugh, which confused me. He then explained that my patient was a relative of the mayor in a neighboring town. My patient’s wife went to the mayor to seek financial assistance and mentioned how I had taken care of them.

Later that day, the mayor’s secretary brought in some gifts and a thank you letter. Then the patient’s son came to personally thank me. Every time I went to another department in the hospital to endorse something, they would recognize me because of my actions.

The mayor even offered to help me with some of my financial needs for school, which I refused. I was just grateful and happy to help someone who really appreciated it. Now I’m far from the Philippines and have made California my new home, but this scenario still serves as my inspiration to pass the National Council Licensure Examination and become a Registered Nurse.