Safe and Sound – on the job

By Alejandra Bahamondes

I was 22 years old. It was my first job after I graduated from nursing school–my first real job. And there I was, frightened, anxious, excited.  I remember all the thoughts that it came to my mind the night before all the way to the consulting room. I was really scared. I think it is common to think you might fail when you are doing something new.  That was my case.

So, after all those terrible thoughts, I was finally there, in my own office, ready to serve the kids of the neighborhood.  My job consisted in prevention control for children until 14 years old in an at-risk population that included measuring weight and high every month.  I also specifically tested to measure psychomotor development and to advise mothers in issues like nutrition, stimulation and healthy habits.

When I finally decided to enter to the office, my first impression was that it was not good at all.  The white walls, the metal scale, the ugly desk were all dark, plain and sad.  That was the moment when I realized that if I did not change that situation, I would become a dark, plain and sad person.

Thus, the same day after my first day of work I went to a home store and bought several beautiful items for my office.  I bought portraits of brilliant colors, pictures; games for the kids, stickers that I thought were pretty in that store.

So, I was there again, my second day of work and I was ready for my makeover!  When I was done, I looked at the place and I felt happy. Just like that—happy.

That day, I realized that I wasn’t looking to work in a pretty place.  I was looking to work in a safe place . . . I was looking to feel safe, and so it was from that day forward


Alejandra Bahamondes was born on April 24 1984 in Santiago, Chile and worked as a supervisor nurse in an emergency room before she traveled to the United States. She arrived in New York City on March 6 2016, to meet her husband (Chilean too), who is currently working in Columbia University. She is now studying English at the Harlem Public Library waiting to revalidate her Nursing School Degree to be useful to the community of NYC.

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