Straight body, chin up, feet 45 degrees. The surgeon asked me if I took ballet lessons when I was young. Ha-ha nope, my posture is due to my COCC training. At that moment, I realized how much Citizens Army Training has influenced my life. Somehow, it has prepared me for my profession.
On the JCS grounds, everyday at 0600H before classes begin and 1600H after classes, the Batch Libra gathers for the battalion formation. We march around, we recite the day’s headlines and we tire our muscles doing squats and push-ups.
As a nurse, I have to work for 8 long hours standing, walking and sometimes running around during emergency cases. I only get the time to sit down when I’m in the pantry for the 30-minute lunch break. That is, if I have time to eat.
During battalion formation, we had to keep a ‘tiger look’ even when we were in pain. This is the reason why I’m good at hiding my emotions in front of dying patients and keeping a straight face when scolded by doctors and relatives.
I thought it was impossible to ignore an itch until I joined COCC. Standing at attention at all times while in ranks and never moving an inch when an officer is looking: this practice has been helping me a lot, especially when working in an Operating Room. My nose is itching but I’m not allowed to touch my face or sneeze because I would cause the operating field to be unsterile. Seriously, it is a matter of life and bacterial death.
I was lucky because there are things about nursing that I already knew even before they were taught. Another good example is the military time. A lot of hospitals require the ****H format for documentation and charting. Thanks to CAT, military time format is as easy as 123.
And remember the ‘magic 5’? We also have that in nursing. In CAT it was the black pen, notebook, rosary, white handkerchief and a wrist watch. The counterpart of that in nursing would be a tri-colored pen, bandage scissors, micropore tape, Trodat and also a wrist watch.
The white handkerchief gave me the worst headache. We wash and dry it with cornstarch; just like what I do with my nursing cap. It takes time to perfect the way of making it crisp and super-white. I wear my nursing cap with pride knowing that it is expertly and delicately made to stand like a jeweled crown.
I could go on and on. As a matter of fact, I could associate most of my nursing activities to my COCC training. Like how important it is that we use the Square Knot in suturing wounds, bandaging or making traction for orthopedic patients. It had been easier learning these things because of the rope course that we had in Momarco.
The discipline that I got from CAT has made it a lot easier to endure the hardships of nursing course. I am grateful that though I’ve gone through hell in that training, I am now a better person. No experience is wasted. It’s all part of God’s big plan.