Search ‘voluntary service’ on the internet then ‘Spec’ and ‘Getting a job’ are found as related search keywords. On the internet, we can find questions and answers about voluntary services that would help us get a job. But, the question is “Is the voluntary service really a voluntary service that we do out of our own free will?” I say this because the voluntary service is really for others: help them through devotion and sacrifice. I want to discuss this question with you through an interview with Park Chan-Geum, a senior graduate who graduated in 1980 from Gyeong-Gi Nursing College (the present Gachon University Medical Campus). She worked at Chung-Ang University Hospital from 1980 to 1985, and now she is currently working Se-Jong Hospital in Bucheon. Working as a nurse for 30 years, she is now in the nursing headquarters. Let's just hear what she has to say.
1. Why did you become a nurse? Is there a special reason?
The motivation to become a nurse came from my sister. She was a nurse too and in the 1970s when we were going through difficult times, she devoted her life to our nation and family. After seeing my sister devote her life to our country and family, it encouraged me to follow in her footsteps.
2. When do you feel most happy during your work?
Because our hospital is a heart-specialized one, an urgent situation is quite common. Though the person directly involved may not be aware of that, there are a lot of life and death situations. When we are able to help patients overcome obstacles and save their lives, it is the most satisfying moment that words can't possibly describe.
3. How would you describe the job of a nurse?
Being a nurse is not all about giving injections or giving patients medicine. We have to control their spiritual part and help them throughout their procedures with the doctor. It is also not easy to listen to their hardships and sympathize. When they worry about their economic aspects, we connect them to the social-welfare department to help resolve the problem. In simple words, we support our patients in all aspects, from A to Z. Among all of it, the hardest part is to help them mentally.
4. Even though when you have personal problems, you should look after patients as a nurse. I think it would be very hard to work in such an atmosphere where there is so much pain and suffering. How do you overcome these obstacles?
Actually, dedication to one's job is not easy. Especially professions like a nursing, where we work with patients and not machines. At times like this, I always think of the word ‘vocation’. There are lots of patients that have a hard time controlling their temper and for those patients I try to control their mind by treating them as if they were one of my family members. By changing the nurse-patient relation to a mother and child relationship, I can endure all the difficult situations.
5. You have been working as a nurse for 30 years, what are your plans after retirement?
First of all, I'd like to say that I am sorry to my family. I fulfilled my role as a nurse, but I didn’t do well as a mother. So, after my retirement, I want to fulfill my role as a good mother. I also want to live a life sharing and helping others with my experience working as a nurse. Wherever there is help needed, I will try my best to help them. I am thankful to have had a chance to work as a nurse and I would like to pay back to society. After retirement, I would like to enter a social-welfare organization like NGO and want to offer my help to others.
6. Please give some advice to the students who are studying nursing and hope to become a nurse.
First of all, please consider if you have a calling to become a nurse. Being a nurse is not an easy job and to work just to earn a stable salary should not be the reason to become a nurse. I also hope that your studies are for your future patients because it is essential that you should know how and what to work in the future. When you are nursing, you are looking after someone’s life, and you should always have a sense of responsibility. A lot of new recruits make mistakes, but through a senior nurse’s help, you can overcome those obstacles. Even though it may sound like sex discrimination, it's good for a woman to work in a specialized department. You can advance to various fields like pharmaceutical companies, health centers and industries that are not all related to hospitals. If you get an American nurse certification, you can work in America, too. Just, do your best by having a strong will and sense of responsibility and don’t ever limit your possibilities.
7. Do you have a role-model?
I didn’t have a certain role-model, so I thought carefully when I was asked about my role model in life. When I was a sophomore, I practiced at Sung-Mo Hospital in Bucheon. I have a vivid memory of my chief nurse, even though that was 30 years ago. I can still remember her name, Cho Sun-Hee. She took care of patients with her heart and soul, often shedding tears and sharing their pain. When I saw that, I was so touched---even shocked by her. From that moment on, I too wanted to look after my patients with such devotion and dedication.
8. Any last words to Gachon University students?
Though there was a lot of difficulty to unite Kyungwon University and Gachon University of Medicine and Science, it is actually a wonderful start for a new history. It embodies President Lee Gil-Ya’s grand meaning: dream and sacrifice. This is the first year, and I think it is good fortune to be a Gachon University student. With considerable investment, the medical campus’ nursing history is over 73 years long. I think investment in the global campus and the history at the medical campus can create a synergy effect. Your alums hope you slide along a groove because President Lee Gil-Ya is doing her best to enhance the name of our university. I think everything will work out well, so be proud as a Gachonian!
This interview was very eye opening and it gave me a chance to look back at my own life. I could feel her consideration and dedication during the interview. Though she is 40 years my senior, her choice of words was very respectful. Among the answers she gave me, the one that left the biggest impression was about her future plans after retirement. When I asked her that question, I was honestly expecting an answer relating to traveling around the world or spending some quality time on her own, but her answer was way beyond my expectations. When she said that she wanted to offer her help where it is needed, I could feel her passion and devotion as a nurse. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, she will look after her patients with a smile. Even in retirement, it will be the same wherever her help is needed. The answer to my question in the introduction was in her smile. Working with a smile and loving what you do the most, isn't that the real voluntary service? < Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >