Soy una enfermera. I am a nurse.
When I entered Nicaragua and was asked by the customs agent what I did for work, I responded with ease. In fact, it was some of little Spanish I remembered from high school. Content with my response, she smiled, stamped my passport, and waved me on.
Being a nurse is my profession, but it’s also part of my identity. After studying for years at university to obtain my bachelor’s degree, passing the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination, donning scrubs and a tag bearing my name, enduring consecutive 12-hour shifts on my feet, and working one of the hardest jobs I can imagine, I’ve earned this title.
I’m not the only one that thinks that. The law agrees with me.
The word nurse is a legally protected title in Canada, and for good reason. As a patient, you wouldn’t want just anyone calling themselves a nurse. There’s a lot of meaning behind that tiny little word, and that meaning changes depending on who you ask…
When my sister and I were young, we played a game that I’m sure many of you enjoyed as children.
We would hop from the couch to the coffee table, to a random sweater one of us had discarded hastily on the floor, giggling and screaming as we attempted to balance on these various items without letting any bit of our tiny bodies touch the ground below.
The reason we had to delicately steady ourselves on these islands of inanimate objects was simple-
The floor of our house was densely coated with the fiery liquid from deep within the earth’s core.
Well… at least it was in our imaginations.
“The floor is lava!” One of us would scream, as she bounced from chair to chair.
In a giddy panic, the other would race to the nearest piece of furniture and climb aboard, seconds before the spot where she had just been standing was engulfed in magma.
Imagining lava on the floor of my childhood home was a delightful pastime, but I never thought I’d see the substance in real life.
Until I arrived in Nicaragua.
As a country in the dead centre of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Nicaragua is home to 19 active volcanos. One of these is Masaya…