It seems nothing can stop Filipino nurses from bringing honor to the Philippines and to the nursing profession as a whole. Last December 12, 2011, Michael Tagadaya, a Filipino nurse of mixed Tausog and Maguindanaon ancestry and also a Notre Dame University alumus, bagged New York Times 2011 Tribute to Nurses Award for innovation and leadership at the New York Times headquarters in Manhattan. The “Tribute to Nurses Program” is New York Times’ way of bringing the attention to a broader level, the outstanding contribution of nurses in the healthcare field in the Tristate area.
However, the icing on the cake is the fact that his inspiring success story had its own fair share of hardships and resiliency. Tagadaya is son of the late Julhussien Tagadaya, a bemedalled police officer who also served as chief of the Cotabato City police in the late-1980s. And to pay for his educational needs, Tagadaya said he was shining shoes and working in a deli during his younger years. After becoming a registered nurse, Tagadaya came to the U.S. in 1991 to chase his American Dream.
But making it to the “land of milk and honey” didn’t push our very own Michael Tagadaya to just stay and be stuck in his own comfort zone. He has worked his way up to prove that Filipino nurses are the epitomy of unparalleled dedication and love to the nursing profession. As a nurse manager at the Ambulatory Surgery unit of the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, Tagadaya created paddle pagers to ease the family members’ concerns about their loved ones’ surgeries. He also created new staff positions to bridge the gaps between operating room and recovery room. Tagadaya’s superiors at the NYU hospital say, patient satisfaction soared, thanks to those innovations.
“It’s no surprise that a lot of our nurses are of Filipino background and we really have a lot of respect for them, and they’re wonderful colleagues and they really make our medical center special, It’s a pleasure to have them,” said Joseph Basco, Vice Chair of the Orthopedic section of the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases.
Tagadaya was nominated in three different categories. With his unique contributions to the nursing field, the awards organizers say, they created a new award category for the Filipino nurse – the Innovaton and Leadership Award.Today he has a Master’s Degree in Nursing.
Michael Tagadaya is only one of the millions of Filipino nurses working day and night to make a difference to the lives of their patients and put the Filipino name and our country’s reputation on the pedestal. Filipino nurses who are struggling back home should take Tagadaya’s story as an inspiration and a driving force to make a difference to people’s lives anytime and anywhere. That’s what we call the true spirit of a FILIPINO NURSE.