A salute to frontline lamp bearers | Inquirer Lifestyle
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St. Luke’s Medical Center
St. Luke’s commitment to compassionate and patient-centered service is not possible without the excellence and tireless efforts of its nurses.

A salute to frontline lamp bearers

Compassionate, empathetic, selfless, and brave —  at times when it is precautionary to avoid exposure and protect ourselves from the virus, our nurses choose to go out and be of service to others.

St. Luke’s Medical Center
St. Luke’s commitment to compassionate and patient-centered service is not possible without the excellence and tireless efforts of its nurses.

St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) Chief Nursing Officer Ma. Martina Geraldine “Gigi” Q. Dimalibot, PhD., RN shared stories of the plight of nurses during the pandemic. “They are afraid to enter a hot zone area at times because they are unsure whether or not they will be positive and worried that their families will be exposed as well.” 

Ma. Martina Geraldine “Gigi” Q. Dimalibot, SLMC SVP and Chief Nursing Officer

At the onset of the pandemic, Nurse Gigi shared that as the Chief Nursing Officer, she struggled in dealing with the invisible enemy —  the novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19. 

“When it started, I was contemplating on how we can prepare and be ready for it. What do we communicate to our nurses and the rest of our associates? How do we protect them while they will be taking care of our patients?” 

She said that despite the fear of the uncertainty of COVID-19 last year, her passion to serve  is stronger. “We all felt fear of what’s going to happen but passionate that whatever happens, we will never turn our backs on patients who need us.”

Nurse Gigi shared that it is not easy to wear bunny suit PPEs, but nurses have to wear them throughout their shift to protect themselves from the virus even if it is difficult to breathe and make them sweat a lot. 

After their shift, nurses even experience discrimination outside when people avoid them because they are healthcare workers who are exposed to COVID-19 patients. “Some of the nurses were asked to leave their dormitories because they work in a hospital. It hurts our feelings because they feel like we have a disease even if we fulfill our oath to take care of patients,” Nurse Gigi added. 

SLMC nurses continue to provide quality patient care despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these experiences, there are moments that allow nurses to feel recognized for their sacrifices. Nurse Gigi shared that some patients and their families express their gratitude by sending them food, basic necessities, and thank you cards with heartfelt messages.

“We are grateful for you extending your hand to my father. You went the extra mile in your job,” said Joana Montojo, whose father, Antonio Montojo, was admitted for COVID-19. “It’s not your duty to, but you showed care and love to my father, and our family was also able to experience it as well.”

As Chief Nursing Officer, Nurse Gigi ensures that her fellow nurses are taken care of. “I make sure that I am updated with what is happening. I keep my lines open 24/7 with the Nursing Team and partners. I always check if there are enough PPEs, if they have meals on time, proper accommodations, and transportation. I take care of their basic needs because they are busy taking care of the overall health of patients,” she said.

From the moment they wake up, prepare for their shift, and wear their scrub suits, to the moment they start their shift, conduct daily rounds, check for their patient’s vitals, and administer care, nurses manifest their commitment to their vocation. The devotion nurses show each patient is easily appreciated by those under their care.

 “The care they give is world-class — it’s no longer customer driven but now more emphasized on giving patient care,” said Ana Marie Torrenueva, a patient who will be undergoing an outpatient procedure in May 2021. “Nursing is not just a career, but a vocation. You have to have with you the concern to take care of others in order to be a good nurse. I salute our frontline nurses, whether it be in a pandemic or not.”

Nurses answering the call to action is nothing new. They have unswerving loyalty to their oath and continue to stand firm in the frontline throughout the years. They play a major role in times of crisis by providing care and bringing hope to their patients. 

“I’m very grateful for their service. Without hesitation, they come into our rooms with a smile—as if they aren’t stressed from all the day’s work they have,” said Carla Bautista, a patient who gave birth to her son in 2020. “My family could really feel how hardworking the nurses and aides are despite the scary and challenging the times we are in.”

When asked what keeps her going, Nurse Gigi shared that it is her passion for the vocation. “Making a difference in one’s life is so rewarding, it is a privilege. It is fulfilling to bring hope and compassion to those who are suffering and to dedicate yourself to making people feel better.”

Much like Florence Nightingale, the modern nurse will continue to hold up their lamp and care for their patients dutifully. This International Nurses Week, express gratitude to the nurses who continuously serve and show determination in saving lives, especially in our fight against the pandemic.