Have You Thought Of… Nursing?

Did you guys know that I started my nursing studies back in 1997? Didn’t think so. I finally graduated in 2017, why? That is a completely another story, so brace yourselves.

Me at the ward (c) Khalil Shafiq

Well, I did, and I ended up quitting my nursing studies some time later because I realised that there was something more meaningful I wanted to do instead – fly as Cabin Crew. In my first ever interview (2003) for Ryanair the interviewer asked me why did I want to change from being a Registered Nurse to being a Cabin Crew. My answer, because I was petrified and wanted the job so badly, was simply: “Well, I prefer healthy people.” I think I said or did something right, as shortly afterwards I was signing a contract with them. And my interviewer, who happened to be one of the top managers from the company, remembered me. Maybe I did make an impression with the healthy people.

I’ve always said that I see being a Registered Nurse and being a Cabin Crew as the opposite sides of the same coin. The work is hectic, you need to remain organised and composed at all times, and you take care of people. Surrounding might be different, and usually the people in the aircraft are healthy, but the basics are there. Maybe that is why I do consider these two careers are the most important to me.


And it makes me sad and deflated seeing how undervalued and underpaid both occupations are. At the moment I am working as a Registered Nurse and am very vocal about the situation in Finland. I can take being called “helping hands” or “glass changer” but what I cannot stomach is that there are doctors, who are supposed to be our colleagues, who say that anyone from the streets could do what nurses do. There was even a top-tier administrative doctor from the biggest hospital district who drew direct comparisons between nurses threatening to strike to get better working conditions and the war on Ukraine that Russia started.

And did anyone from the hospital district apologise when there was a public outcry? Guess. No.


Recently, the leader of the nurses union Tehy in Finland, Ms. Millariikka Rytkönen, tweeted a question that basically said: what would your life be without nurses?

It got me thinking long and hard (I am sitting in a train and have thought of this blog for the past 2 hours). Many things would be different without the nurses. I most likely wouldn’t sit here writing this blog if it weren’t the nurses and physiotherapists at the heart surgery ward who cared for my wellbeing back in 2015. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the NICU nurses who, back in 1976 altered the doctor that I was too yellow despite the UV light treatment.

But I have always thought that especially in the hospital world we cannot survive and function if we are not a fully functioning team – we need the expertise of the nurses, we need the expertise of the surgeons, we need the expertise of the physiotherapists, nutritionists, et cetera. So why would we bicker amongst each other instead of supporting the welfare of each other?

So Have You?

If you had the chance, would you consider nursing as a career? Or flying? I believe that I have made right choices when it comes to fulfilling my dreams in this account. And fulfilling the dreams is, at least for me, important as it allows you to explore and live life much more meaningfully. Even if your dream isn’t in nursing, or flying, go and make them come true!

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