When I came to San Da, I was told I would be giving some speeches.
I’ve never really been a fan of public speaking, so much so that I remember the specific class in high school when we had to get up in front of the class to demonstrate a skill or something we knew how to do. I presented making coffee, even brought in the damn coffee maker and the can of Folgers to boot. I didn’t even drink coffee then. I know, I know, I can’t believe it either!
All those eyes on me, as I sweated profusely and mumbled my way through my words really did happen. And I can’t say I mumbled my way through my speech, but I did sweat profusely. I even felt a trickle of sweat go between my boobs, and down my stomach. No joke. I’m glad I was wearing a loose fitting shirt. Maybe it also had something to do with the 80 degree temp?
I was pleasantly surprised that about 25 students showed up for my “Critical Care Nursing in America” speech today. I mean, it was during lunch/nap time (from 10:50-1:00), so I was really impressed. My hour long speech went fairly well, and I’ve become accustomed to students falling asleep. I can’t really say it bothers me a whole lot, because if I had to listen to a speaker for an hour in a foreign language, I might get tired too.
But the one topic that came up today, and also when I presented “Travel Nursing”, was the income for a nurse in the U.S. I immediately began to hear the students whispering to each other about the money. And I asked, “Is that a lot?”
I mean, I’ve been a nurse for over 10 years, and started at a measly $19/hour. After 6 years, I was making $25, which was about $5 less than nurses in the nearest big city. It was enough to live on, and still would be, but for all the work nurses do, I don’t really feel it’s enough. I make more as a travel nurse per hour, but I also don’t work that much. I might work 9 months out of the year, so it sort of is the same pay.
So after I ask the students if it’s a lot of money, they unanimously say, “Yes!” So then I ask what a nurse makes here in China, and they told me RMB 2,000/month (=$322), which I thought couldn’t be right. I then asked Rong Rong, my nursing faculty advisor here, and she told me her classmates (who are now “experienced” nurses), make about RMB 10,000 (=$1613) per month! I was blown away.
I do realize the workload, as far as actual patient care, is much less here in China. Family members are responsible for bathing the patient, feeding the patient, etc., so nurses care for many more patients because they aren’t doing as much, if that makes sense. At least that’s what I’ve been told. I actually get to visit a cardiac ICU in 2 weeks, so I’ll have to verify!
Until next time…