My Experience with Workplace Bullying

I am working as a nurse in London.

I am now in a new ward. But I just want to share to you one of the life changing twists I have experienced in my life.

BULLYING.

Working in the UK as a nurse isn’t easy.

Especially for the faint-hearted.

Like me, unfortunately.

I sincerely just lift up everything to Him up above. It is the reason why I am still alive today and still have my sanity at work.

I am thankful that I am here now in London, yes.

I mean I haven’t lost anything. If I compare it to Philippines, I would say Philippine nursing just earns like a very abusive salary compared here in the UK.

But above all this, let me remind everyone that getting this amount of money isn’t as easy as many Filipinos would think. I am not saying that earning money back home is easy because I know it isn’t.  But home is home.

And for me a Filipino, UK isn’t home.

It’s not easy to work in a workplace you know you aren’t welcomed or liked. I mean, this is the place of British people. They recruited us just because they wanted more people to work in their NHS health system, to save money, and for additional workforce. Most of the managerial jobs are taken by White People, and that is the truth and that is I guess an unspoken privilege that whites should have. This is their land.

And I am okay with it.

I have brown skin.

I am Aisan.

I came from a third world country.

I am 24 years old.

I am young and still have many things to learn.

And here comes a senior white lady who talks to me as if I am shit. As if I do not know anything.

I can’t speak for myself because I don’t know how to stand up for myself.

She told me words like ”This isn’t primary school that I teach you ABCs” after I asked her nicely where to call where.

And that is not all.

I prefer not to say anything more to be honest. It’s just that I can’t take it. I may be wrong but all I want is to express this feeling or else I might go crazy. It isn’t at all easy going to work and you get this heavy feeling all the time. It makes you think things about yourself and doubt your capabilities as a person.

I am thankful for myself and the confidence I have for myself is high however meeting these people is just hurtful. I am glad though that I am still here alive, and will be able to rise up and use all these experiences to become a better person. If we meet again, I am not sure what to do really. I do not know how should I act or should I even say hi but all I know is I will fight and I know that home is waiting for me. If they will continually bully me, I will go home and eventually be happier. I may lose the money that I am earning but having your self-worth preserved cannot be ever paid off by any amount of pounds this country can offer.

The most important thing now is I am currently learning a new speciality and I am loving it. I am even planning to book a conference in Oxford University later this year! I am so excited! I will post about it if I am lucky to be able to attend it. And many of our own doctors that work in our unit will speak there. It is so exciting and these are the things I am really looking forward to.

I have really moved on. Although admittingly, it still pains me a lot especially when I see those people. And yes, it isn’t easy. It isn’t easy.

 

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A reminder to be thankful for the health that we often take granted for

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As a neurology nurse, I get to meet a lot of people who have the debilitating conditions many of the general public do not even know of.

One day, I was admitting this patient from Ireland. He came all the way to London just to have a better treatment for his condition. He is currently fighting a lifelong battle with Epilepsy.

Whilst most people battle other diseases which, most times, give people limited time to live such as cancer. Other people have this chronic condition, Epilepsy, wherein you just have to deal with having no idea when the fits would actually happen. Epilepsy is a chronic condition wherein a person suffers with epileptic seizures often called ‘fits.’

The middle aged Irish man suffers from epileptic fits or seizures at any time of the day.

People like him will sometimes feel what we call as ‘auras’, sensations that warn them that they may have it, and then they lose awareness, depending on the kind of fit they have.

They may wander aimlessly, and may develop into what we call as a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, which is characterized by involuntary jerking and shaking of extremities for minutes.

They might lip- smack, eyes look up, do motor automatisms and may salivate with the seizures. Some may lose control over sphincters and may urinate and open bowels in public places.

While I was doing the admissions, I get to ask questions that involve his general condition. I get to ask him the kind of seizures he have, the frequency and even the injuries he have had and how these affect him and the people around him.

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Epilepsy Unit in NHNN London, UK

 

Telemetry Unit in The National Hospital for Neurology and  Neurosurgery for Epilepsy

He walks in a limping gait. When asked why, he said he fell off once in a harbour in Ireland and broke his spine.

He has multiple bruises and lacerations in his life. He is single in his forties, unemployed, impatient and shy. He hated his condition.

I asked him how he felt.

He said he feels like he has no freedom. He is imprisoned with this disease.

“I want to be free”, he said.

“Coming here alone, I have to bring my brother-in-law, because I have to be safe. I don’t want people to always be bothered because of me. They have a life too, you know”.

“ I can’t go to public places on my own.”

“I can’t even drive. “

“I love driving.”

“And here’s me, I don’t know how to drive”, I interrupted.

He laughed. But yes. He love driving and staying in the car going places. He can’t do that.

People diagnosed with epilepsy are never given driving licences or their licences are being revoked after diagnosis.

These and many more stories came out of real people’s lips, I listen how these people with epilepsy are affected by this disease.

Anyone can have Epilepsy, I’ve met a single mother of one daughter sends her kid to school worrying about being caught by classmates that she has this disease, worrying when she crosses the road with her child and lose awareness.

I’ve met a father of three little boys, leading the kids in a camp, fell and injured his face when went off track after losing awareness.

I’ve met a young lad, losing self-esteem after all the bullying.

I’ve met a beautiful lady, losing her eye contact, keeps her seizure diary to keeping track of her seizures hoping one day all of it would make sense and the medical team would find a way to completely solve her disease.

Cliché from all of us, but yes, we fight different kinds of battles but sometimes, we take for granted the little yet vital things we have. Like Freedom. Freedom to grab the life we have in front of us.

 I hope we pause from our busy day. Breathe life, brush off fickle and trivial things that stress us on a daily basis. See life in a larger, and more positive perspective.

Enjoy life, have the spirit of thanksgiving, of helping each other, of understanding and of spreading love and kindness wherever we are placed in life. And to becoming the best version of ourselves.

To know more about epilepsy, how to help and to be ready to help, you can visit epilepsysociety.org.uk.

London on my Filipino eyes

London.

When you hear that word, what comes to your mind?

Big Ben?

West End?

London Eye?

River Thames?

Or the Queen Perhaps?

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Enjoying the Big Ben

I have been in London for a year now and in this short time I have been here, I was able to immerse and get to know Mr. London a little bit deeper than the usual.

Well, maybe let me introduce Mr. London to you in a Filipino nurse perspective. I am a Filipino or as we Filipinos call ourselves, “Pinoy” Nurses.

Pinoy nurses in the UK don’t earn as much as in the Aussie, Canada or the US.

Nurses in the UK belong to the average class of people. Far far from the social status the american nurses have. Well, correct me if I am wrong but from the stories I hear, nursing in other countries sounds very lucrative.

With that in mind, maybe it is safe for me to say that being a nurse and living in the UK more so me, living in CENTRAL LONDON, isn’t an easy peasy thing to do. Well, nothing in life is easy anyway but yeah. As a Filipino, living in the third world country, many first world country people wouldn’t understand the pain seeing your family live in poverty. So a typical Filipino would send a big chunk of hard earned money to the family being left with a meager amount of money to spend, which is a bit sad. Haha

However, I am not the type that makes a martyr out of that and I know how to rock and roll, work and party, and set goals for tomorrow, maybe? haha

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St. Pancras Hotel

So, now that you’re wearing a share of my lens, let me show you how London looks like.

London from a Filipino perspective is..

A city of chance and opportunity..

London is amazing in many ways. Look at the Big Ben. Amazing is an understatement. Feel the breeze of the River Thames, feel and reimagine the history of London. Relish the fact that you, a soul from a countryside third world country in Mindanao, Philippines, is standing in the greatest City of Great Britain.

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London Over River Thames

Although London is expensive, I never would ever trade this time of my life living in this marvelous City. London has always left me in awe. Let the photographs guide you and justify how I would express my feelings for this City.

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With Ate Laarni and Ate Mich in the British Museum

As Filipinos, we survive anything, we know how to live in almost nothing, so living in London, although it is, I admit stressful, living in the epicenter of Europe’s hustle and bustle, London will always be an amazing city that offers the opportunity to a kid from a town in a third world country.

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The London Eye

Sometimes, I feel I’m unwanted, personally, as you know, you can feel that, as understandably, this country belongs to the Britons who live here, but London has always been welcoming to foreign talents. Filipinos come here to work, helping the NHS to continue running, and in turn Filipinos earn money to sustain and help the family back home.

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London New Year 2017

London is very accepting and open to foreign people, has an amazing tube for transport and the double decker buses and black shining taxis around, all the iconic places London have. It simply is London, classy and calm.One good thing about London is that it is very accepting and liberated.

I also got close to venues the famous people go, so concerts and premieres are just within the neighborhood. The latest concert  I have been to is with Jojo. It was in Heaven, London.

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Jojo’s concert in Heaven, London

I have also seen some celebrities and experienced firsthand lining for the artists in premieres. It was tiring wrestling with all those die hard fans but in the end all is worth it.

Was able to see Ezra Miller in Fantastic Beasts, See JK Rowling, Eddie Redmayne in person in front of me, signed my Timeout magazine,  and shake Will Smith’s hands on Suicide Squad Premiere.

So far this is what London and the UK has given me and I couldn’t thank UK and God more of all these blessing showered upon me. Life here is hard especially when your parents demand so much from you but in the end, you just have to rock and roll in life and keep swimming.

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The Victoria and Albert

Let me know your thoughts about Filipinos in  London or in the UK, or if you’re a nurse in the UK or anywhere in the world. Who knows who might read this?

London is amazing, share your experience, will be happy to hear from you!

Cheers!