A Change in Perception

It has been 6 days now that I have been assigned in the only Psychiatric Ward here in Zamboanga City and probably the whole of Region 9.

How can I describe the experience. One word. Life-changing. Well not exactly. At least my perception on many things changed.

First of all, I realized how cheap human life is in this country. Never mind the fact that they are mentally ill. They are still human beings and as such should be dignified as one.

To make you cringe a bit, let me describe the conditions inside the psychiatric ward. Patients in the non private rooms don't have any privacy. They are forced to relieve themselves in public using a small container. The whole place smells bad. There are flies everywhere. You don't have immediate access to water. The whole area is dirty. They are confined in their rooms most of the time. By the way, when I say rooms I mean prison cells because their rooms are comparable to prison cells. Lastly, when they eat they aren't provided spoons and forks. I'm not very articulate and a good writer and so I can't seem to make the psychiatric ward at the ZCMC look very very bad.

Anyway let me put it this way. The first time I saw the place, I was in tears.

Another perception of mine that changed during the time I was 'inside' was on mentally ill patients. Before, my only exposure to mentally ill patients are those that we see in the streets and on TV (which of course does not give a good picture of a mentally ill patient). But now, I learned that they are just human beings who has chemical imbalances.

Anyway, I can say that among all the RLE exposures I've had, this one is the best!


  1. I personally haven't visited a psychiatric ward, but I have an idea on how sad the situation in places like that. I would've been in tears too, if I was there.

  2. i used to visit myBebe during college at a psychiatric ward[she's an intern]. it's like a prison without the walls, i observed too. it's hard because their sickness is not organic, and no amount of medicine can help them. that's why i understand myBebe when she tries to comfort them in her own little ways in the hope that they'll be back to their senses.

  3. what a sad place ... I think the hospital should at least provide them their basic needs; nobody deserves to be treated like lower beings just because they have a chemical imbalance! can't the provincial hospital do something? :(

  4. i hope your exposure would open ur eyes and be able to understand why nursing is not just a job...nursing is a vocation...we dont just use our brains when we nurse, we use our hearts as well...the soul of nursing is not just being able to undertake all ur nursing tasks in compliance to nursing standards but in being able to nurse with compassion and taking into considerations that whatever state ur patients maybe in they should be treated as human beings...
    u'll probably see worst situations as u go along the way but never let them hold u back...instead, make those situations ur inspiration.