Jaycee P. Gorillo
Perhaps no words can describe the suspense, tension, pain and agony of waiting for the results of the nursing board examination.
After I took the exam last Nov. 29 and 30, my dad and my mom asked me how I fared. But how could I assure them that I would pass? In the first place, not even 10 percent of the things we took up in the review class came out in the exam. Secondly, the most difficult subjects in the nursing curriculum, such as Medical/Surgical and Psychiatric Nursing for which I burned the midnight oil, were hardly covered by the exam questions.
Most of the questions asked were on subjects we did not bother to give a second look, like Community Nursing. And then there were some inane questions like, “If your boyfriend or girlfriend ever invite you to watch ‘Caregiver,’ a film starring Sharon Cuneta, which would you choose: to go with him/her or to report for your duty? And if you choose your job, what kind of virtue is this?” I looked for the word “loyalty,’ and when I couldn’t find it, I picked “fidelity” because I remembered being taught in grade school religion classes that the word can be likened to the loyalty of a husband to his wife or the loyalty of the believer to the Catholic Church.
Questions I never expected came out and I had to force myself to recall the lectures I had listened to and the books I had read on different subjects, not necessarily related to nursing and then fall back on my instincts and prayers.
I glanced at the other examinees and noticed that some were crying, others were murmuring words of disappointment, and still others were calling upon their mamas, their dead “lolo” [grandfathers] and “lola” [grandmothers] and God for help. One seat mate told me he had dipped his pencil in holy water.
The examiners told us to expect the results around Valentine’s Day.
After staying for almost seven years in a boarding house in Cagayan de Oro City, I packed my bags and went home to Valencia City in the southern province of Bukidnon, where my parents were waiting for me and for news about the exams. They were mired in unpaid debts, mortgages and even lawsuits over unpaid loans after sending me and my younger sister to nursing school.
Before I went to nursing school, I was studying computer engineering at Xavier University. But when I found out that most of my friends who had completed computer studies ended up managing small Internet cafés, I pleaded with my parents to let me shift to nursing. That was after I had spent two years in computer studies and more than P400,000 in matriculation fees, board and lodging and other expenses. My parents agreed on the condition that I would finish nursing in three years.
I enrolled at Liceo de Cagayan, and since they accepted the credits I had earned on my minor subjects and I took summer courses, I was able to finish in less than four years. But by the time I graduated, our house was gone — sold to finance my studies.
When my sister decided to pursue nursing in Manila, our family had to sell other things we had, like our sugarcane farm and our car. On top of that, my mother who works in a bank had to take cash advances, secure loans of every kind and use her credit card. Our parents had to make do with clothes they bought five years earlier and skip all kinds of social activities just so they could save money. My dad, whose earning capacity was down to zero, was reduced to asking friends for help, the same friends he used to help when he was still a bank manager. But his friends became fewer and fewer, and some of them would hide when he came knocking at their doors.
This was what made the waiting for the results agonizing for me. I knew that if I failed I would have to retake the exam, adding to the financial problems of my parents who were already being swamped by demand letters and threats of law suits.
When Feb. 14 came, my first thought was not about my girlfriend. I had to rush to the nearest Internet café to look at the Inquirer website and check the exam results. Alas, there was no listing that day—and the next, and so on. Not a day passed when I would not rush to the Internet café to check if the results were out.
Finally on Feb. 20, a friend sent me a text message saying the results were on INQUIRER.net. I was having my breakfast at the time but I pushed my plate, gulped down a glass of water and ran as fast as I could to an Internet café. And there it was, coming after Gomez, Gonzales, Gopez, Goquingo, my name: Gorillo. I was dumbfounded. I could not talk and my legs felt weak. I cried, overcome with joy by the thought that I made it. I shouted at the top of my voice: “Thank you, Lord! You are Great!”
When I went home, my dad had an expression of extreme anxiety in his eyes. I had put on a sullen look, and then I said: “Dad, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I failed.”
My dad looked away, and when he looked at me again, tears were welling in his eyes. “It’s okay, son,” he told me. There is always the next time.”
I grabbed his right arm and finally broke the good news: “Dad, I passed! I am now a registered nurse!”
He grabbed me and gave me the tightest hug I had ever experienced in my whole life, and said, “I knew you would make it. Let’s thank the Lord for that.” Then we looked at each other, our faces bow bathed in tears.
Jaycee P. Gorillo, 23, is a graduate of Liceo De Cagayan University.