Much has been said about Filipino nurses’ exemplary compassion, ability to provide tender loving care and their willingness to do the extra mile for their patients here and especially abroad. But during these trying times, Filipino nurses who are on the brink of giving up badly need a source of inspiration to go on and believe that Nursing is still a fulfilling profession to pursue. Success stories usually inspire a lot of people and urge Filipino nurses to hold on to their dreams and keep on moving. I’ve researched Filipino nurses who has made a name in the nursing industry overseas and has made a difference to the lives of their patients. And out of many, three stories stood out that will remind us that Nursing, still, is one of the best jobs in the world no matter how bleak the future might be:
Ms. Angelica Ligas, a staff nurse at Good Samaritan Medical Center at West Palm Beach, has a touching Cinderella story that has inspired thousands of people. After her father died and their house was burned down, young Ligas, together with her four siblings and her mother, had struggled to make ends meet and even forced to live in the piggery. To help her family, she sold vegetables, retail clothes, and a lot of other things. She was a consistent scholar and eventually finished high school at the Holy Angels Academy and her nursing degree at the Dr. Yanga Francisco Balagtas College. After graduation, she took the next bold step — to work abroad. In Canada, she worked as a live-in caregiver while earning another nursing degree.”Being alone in Canada was tough. There were nights when it felt like my loneliness is killing me,” Angelica frankly admits in one of her interviews. But she stood above all these trials and eventually moved to U.S. together with her husband and daughter. She was soon hired by the Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she made her mark for being one of the most caring nurses on staff. Just recently, she bested over 12,000 nominees and became the only Filipina nurse recipient of Palm Beach Health Care 2011 Nursing Distinction Hands and Heart Award. On her acceptance speech, she dedicated the recognition to other Filipino nurses who are still struggling in the dark: “It’s such a great honor to receive this award. I dedicate it to all my co-workers at Good Samaritan, to the members of Palm Healthcare Foundation, to my friends and family, and my patients. Without them the rest of my team and I would not exist. Also, I dedicate this to all Filipinos and I encourage them to pursue their dreams because nothing is impossible.” Her inspiring story is a wonderful reminder that dreams do come true with a little luck, humility, hard work, and determination.
Mr. Jamandre, an Ilonggo nurse who is working as a regulatory and accreditation coordinator at Hamad Medical Corporation in the State of Qatar, is a walking testament that nurses can be a nurse and a community leader at the same time. Also recognized as one of the best employees of Hamad Medical Corporation, the most prestigious government hospital in Qatar that employed thousands of medical staff from over 25 nations, Jamandre has led various medical-dental missions for OFWs in Qatar and also has helped in giving assistance for indigent Filipinos in the Philippines over the years. A recipient of Bagong Bayani Award (given last December 1 by President Aquino), Jamandre has helped tremendously to uplift our reputation abroad and has proved to us that making a difference is possible even beyond bedside care.
According to DFA, Alcedo, who has worked as a school nurse in Alice Springs and is now a child and maternal health nurse in Tennant Creek, arrived in Australia from the Philippines in 2004, and has dedicated herself to working with communities in the Northern Territory ever since. She commits herself to helping disadvantaged youth and has developed the Filipino community’s ‘Ladies of Alice Springs’ group. Although a permanent resident of Australia already, she still have her Filipino roots and values to thank for. Ever heard the phrase “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can never take the country out of the girl”? That is probably true in her case.
Filipino nurses are undoubtedly one of the bests in the nursing world though it saddens me that they find greater recognition and appreciation abroad. Our government are yet to find a long-term remedy for the struggling local nursing industry but what matters most is the precious heart and dedication of our nurses to serve and help those who are suffering. These three inspiring stories remind us that there’s no sure ticket to success but the passion to serve as a nurse will always remain as the greatest gift one can ever get. Dreams do come, all we need is faith in God, determination to master the art of nursing, and the resiliency to rise above all adversities. Good luck nurses!