Pinoy nurse, teen win Twitter Shorty Awards

Filipinos were among the winners in the 3rd annual Shorty Awards, said to be the “Oscars” of Twitter, according to The New York Times.
The Shorty Awards gives recognition to people and organizations doing short-form and real time social media content.
The winners are chosen based on the number of votes garnered on Twitter and the votes cast by members of the Real-time Academy of Short Form Arts and Sciences.
In the new “Nurse” category this year, the Nurse of the Year Award was to be given to someone they said is “making a difference through social media.”
Two winners were picked for this category. One is Matthew Browning, chief executive officer of
The other winner is Filipino nurse Ronivin Pagtakhan, an educator.
Pagtakhan, who teaches nursing at Mapua, uses Twitter to help other people.
“Para sa akin, sa tingin ko, kaya ako napili kasi nakakatulong talaga ako sa nursing profession,” he said.
Pagtakhan is happy about the international award as it can help uplift the image of the Pinoy nurse.
“Sana sa pagkapanalo ko na ito ay makatulong ako sa image ng Pinoy nurses para naman makakuha pa tayo ng mas maraming mga job opportunities kasi alam kong marami tayong nurses na walang trabaho,” he said.
Aside from Pagtakhan, Ann Li of “PBB Teen Clash” also won a Shorty Award.
The teen won in the fashion category. – Report from TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News

First newspaper for docs, health care professionals out soon

To keep doctors, nurses and other health care professionals abreast of all new developments which impact health care delivery in the country, FAME Inc. is coming out with Vital Signs, the first of its kind newspaper for them.
Vital Signs will include opinions, commentaries and views of respected leaders in the medical profession and government who all share the common vision of better health care for all Filipinos, especially those belonging to the marginalized sectors.
The list of columnists of Vital Signs include Sen. Edgardo Angara; Health Secretary Enrique Ona; former Health secretary Esperanza Cabral; Dr. Oscar Tinio, president of the Philippine Medical Association; Dr. Ramon Abarquez Jr.; Dr. Saturnino Javier; Dr. Anthony Leachon; Dr. Maya Santos; and Dr. Cynthia Cuayo-Juico.
The newspaper will feature articles and commentaries from some of the country’s top doctors and medical practitioners.
This would also allow doctors and other health care professionals to know what their respected colleagues say on current scientific, socioeconomic, political and other issues that impact healthcare in our country.
It will also serve as a medium for local medical societies to disseminate updates regarding their advocacies and activities.
“We hope to empower doctors, dentists, nurses and other health care professionals with scientific, socioeconomic, legislative and other news which are relevant to their practice,” says Dr. Rafael Castillo, Vital Signs editor.
He added that the insights and opinions of respected columnists can also help guide the readers of Vital Signs in various decisions they need to make as health care stakeholders aiming to improve the practice of their respective professions and health care delivery in the country.
Vital Signs comes in three sections. The main section contains hard news and commentaries, opinion columns, activities of hospitals, medical organizations and the pharmaceutical industry.
The second section is called Hippocrates which contains scientific and clinical updates, nursing updates, and medical issues and controversies.
The third section, called Off-Duty, is the lifestyle section which includes articles on dining, travel, fashion, motoring, finance and sports.
Vital Signs is published by FAME Inc., which also publishes several full-color glossy magazines such as H&L (Health & Lifestyle), Zen Health, Travel Plus, DiabetEASE and Disney. - via

Filipino nurses working in Wales tell their stories

Katherine Casaban-Rose
Katherine Casaban-Rose
Last year 8,500 nurses and midwives came from abroad to work in the UK, many from countries such as India, Pakistan and the Philippines. This year, with foreign recruits set to outstrip the number of newly-qualified British nurses for the first time, Clare Hutchinson spoke to nurses who travelled from the Philippines to work here in Wales
KATHERINE Cabasan-Rose was 26 when she first moved to the UK a decade ago.
At first it was a strain to leave family and friends behind but the money, she said, was worth it.
Ten years on and 36-year-old Katherine has a Welsh husband, a five-year-old daughter and earns a decent wage as a ward manager at the burns unit at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.
It is a far cry from life in her more “primitive” homeland, where the average monthly wage for a nurse is around 700 Philippine Pesos, the equivalent of £100.
Katherine trained as a nurse in Tuguegarao City, in the far north of the country.
Nurses in the Philippines, she said, are trained to work hard and fast because of the sheer numbers of patients who come through the country’s private healthcare system on a daily basis.
Emphasis is on getting the patients “in and out” and it is this work ethic, and the attraction of wages, that makes the Philippines such fertile ground for NHS recruitment.
When Katherine moved to the UK after three years in Saudi Arabia she saw it as a stop-off point on her way to the USA.
“I wanted to move to the UK because I thought it would be easier to get to the States from there,” she said.
“I came straight to Wales and when I arrived I found I liked it – wherever you go people smile and chat with you.
“I went to New York for a holiday to see what it would be like working there and the people seemed to be snappy and I thought, ‘maybe I don’t want to work here after all’.”
Katherine now lives with her Welsh husband Andrew, 39, and their daughter Elizabeth in Llandough, near Penarth, where she plans to stay until she and Andrew retire, after which they will spend their summers in Wales and winters in the Philippines, because, she said: “The one thing I can’t get used to here is the weather.”
She stays in touch with her classmates from Tuguegarao City on Facebook and finds them scattered around the world in countries as far-flung as America and Australia.
When Katherine first came to Wales, she said, the language barrier was hard and it was sometimes difficult to mix socially with her non-Filipino colleagues.
But now on a works’ night out she is happy to be the only non-drinker and on a recent international day at her daughter’s school she spent 20 minutes telling the children about the Philippines and letting them taste its traditional dishes.
She said: “I’m happy here because I have been given a good opportunity, we have a good standard of living and I have friends here.
“It is an opposite culture to back home, which is a bit primitive, although it is becoming more Westernised.
“I go home every year because it is the only time I can see my family, but it is like my mum says, ‘love your life, but don’t forget us’.
“I do love my life and I love my job – as far as I’m concerned it is the best job in the world.”
Jaime Menor moved to Wales from his country’s capital, Manila, in 1999.
The dad of one, who works in the intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Wales, took a job in the UK for financial reasons.
It is part of Filipino culture for working people to help their families by sending money to parents, cousins, aunts and uncles – whoever is in need.
Jaime, 38, who lives in Llanrumney with his Filipino wife Mary, 31, and their four-year-old son Elijah, said: “I responded to the recruitment drive at the time primarily for financial reasons, because the wages here are much better than back home, and also as a way to help my family.
“I was apprehensive to start with because I didn’t know what to expect or what life would be like here.
“I knew it would be an expensive place to live, but the worst thing for me was being away from my family.”
When Jaime arrived in the UK he came straight to Cardiff, where he has stayed ever since.
“It is very good here,” he said.
“Cardiff in particular is not a big city but it has a cosmopolitan life and at the same time you can get out of the city and experience the country.”
When it comes to his work, there are some striking differences between the private healthcare system in the Philippines and public NHS in Wales.
“Obviously you are treating people with the same conditions and in similar ways, but you find that because in the Philippines it is all private, once you get better you are out of there because the longer you stay the more you spend.
“Here, because of the NHS, you stay as long as you need to.
“As a nurse working in the Philippines you just treat people and discharge them, but here you are looking at the total needs of the patient.
“You look at how old they are and ask will they cope? Are they living alone? Are they safe? If they aren’t then you talk to certain agencies. And, of course, there is lots and lots of paperwork. That is what I found difficult adjusting to at first.
“It is much better here in the UK, but I think we can still improve, for example waiting lists for surgery are still very long, but then if it is something acute, if you are unwell, you can go to the emergency unit and get treated straight away, which is wonderful.”
Up until January, Jaime was working at the smaller intensive care unit at Llandough Hospital where, he said, he had a good relationship with his colleagues.
He said: “We really enjoyed each others’ company and we knew each other very well.
“There has been a bit of a change and I work in the Heath now and I am having to get used to new people and new equipment, but everyone is very helpful and supportive.”
Jaime’s wife Mary, who is also a nurse, moved to the UK four years ago after the couple met in the Philippines during one of his annual visits.
But while both have family back home, they have no intention of leaving their adoptive country.
“I have invested too much here in Wales,” said Jaime.
“I have got a mortgage, a little boy, I know people here and I’ve established friends – Filipino and Welsh.
“We are more or less settled and I think this will be it, although if I win the lottery I will buy a much bigger house.
“I’m an adopted Welshman and I’m here for good.”

Nurses recruited to offset shortage

Recruitment agencies are to hire hundreds of nurses in coming months after a surge in demand from new health care facilities caused a nationwide shortage.
Nurses are being recruited from countries including the Philippines, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and India to staff new medical centres as well as three hospitals opening this year in Sharjah, Fujairah and Ajman.
Dr Sanjiv Malik, the executive director at DM Healthcare Group in Dubai, said the expansion in health care required not only more workers, but workers with new skills.
"New hospitals are opening and there are new specialities coming up in the UAE," he said.
"Ten years ago, people used to travel overseas for treatment, but health care is becoming bigger and better here."
The recruitment drive complements efforts to woo Emiratis into the sector by combating perceptions of nursing being a low-wage, low-status job with limited career opportunities.
A forum will be held on Monday at the American Hospital in Dubai to outline a framework allowing nurses to pursue specialisities, such as paediatrics or geriatrics, that offer higher salaries and better career prospects.
The shortage of nurses is a "global phenomenon" that made hiring nurses extremely competitive, said Dr Malik.
"It exists in countries such as the US, England and even in India, with the majority of the nurses there leaving the country to work overseas."
In February, Al Qarain Healthcare Centre opened in Sharjah, with facilities including two dental clinics, a radiology and laboratory department and a pharmacy.
Five further medical facilities are being built in Sharjah, Ajman and Ras al Khaimah, which are expected to cost a total Dh1.25 billion, according to the ministry.

The UAE's medical recruitment drive will involve the hiring of more than 700 staff at the University Hospital - Sharjah, the emirate's first teaching hospital, which is due to open at the end of this month, according to sources at the hospital.
Peteromy Dominic Palacio, 28, who works as an HR co-ordinator at the hospital, said they were hiring nurses from the Philippines, the Indian subcontinent and Arab countries. Last year, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in Manila approved the hospital's request to hire 70 nurses through a recruitment agency.
Edna Rance, a business development manager at Reach Consulting in Abu Dhabi, helped the hospital recruit 50 nurses from the Philippines in June last year. It was one of several recruitment projects she worked on for the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company and the federal Ministry of Health.
"Several new hospitals are opening in the UAE," she said. "This year, we expect to hire at least 200 nurses on behalf of our clients."

In January last year, her group helped the Ministry of Health hire 100 nurses from Jordan and 228 nurses from the Philippines for Masafi Hospital in Fujairah. A delegation from the Ministry of Health flew to both countries to conduct the licensing exam and interview applicants.
Private nursing companies also contribute to the demand for nurses. Al Hilal Nursing and Medical Services in Dubai said in February it planned to hire 200 nurses to add to its staff of 30 nurses and three physiotherapists. The company outsources nurses to schools and private clinics and provides home care to Emiratis and expatriates in Dubai. Half of the staff will be sent to schools, private clinics and homes. The rest will work at a private hospital in Dubai that is due to open in June.
Recruitment is only the first hurdle to overcome. In the UAE, nurses cannot be hired directly after passing their licensure exams. Employers must check their credentials, including their university degree and experience certificates, which can take up to six months.
"While it ensures the quality of nurses that are hired and that all their credentials are correct, it may lead to an artificial manpower shortage," Dr Malik said.
* With reporting by Mitya Underwood and Bana Qabbani

DOLE honors 1st Pinoy passer of Japanese nursing exam

Being the first Filipino to pass the Japanese Nursing Licensure Examinations, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) honored Ever Gammed Lalin as the Woman OFW Achiever of 2011.
“Ever Lalin made history being an exceptional woman achiever in migration. She had proven that Filipino nurses, and OFWs in general, are professionally competent and skilled as they join the world labor market,” DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimaplis-Baldoz said in a press statement.
Baldoz said the department cited Lalin’s achievement as the Japanese Nursing Licensure Examinations is “famed for its difficulty.”
Lalin was the only passer of the exam taken by 254 foreign board takers.
Baldoz, along with POEA Administrator Carlos Cao Jr., welcomed Lalin’s family in an awarding ceremony at the DOLE Building in Intramuros, Manila, last week.
Aside from the award she accepted, Lalin also received an overseas exit clearance (OEC) from the DOLE, which frees her from the lengthy clearance processing. - (Edward Sumile/ trainee)

More Pinoy nurses heading to Japan for licensure exam

Despite a devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan this month and the ensuing nuclear accident, a third batch of over 80 Filipino nurses are scheduled to go there on May 30 for a language training in preparation for that country’s tough licensure examinations.
In a press briefing, Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura said a total of 82 Filipinos will leave for Japan to undergo intensive Japanese language training there, after a two-month preparatory language course in Manila to be conducted by Japanese instructors.
“Although I have no doubts that you will be able to fulfill your duties and responsibilities as healthcare professionals in Japan, I am also aware that one of the most difficult obstacles for passing the Japanese nursing licensure examinations is the language barrier,” Katsura said at the formal launch of the training course.
This is the first time that Japan is implementing a preparatory language course prior to the applicants’ departure for Japan. Only two of the 139 Filipino nurses in previous batches passed that country’s licensure exam.
Apart from the preparatory course, Japan has also revised its licensure exam for foreign nurses and caregivers to boost the passing rate of health workers. (See: Japan cuts Filipino nurses some slack)
The revisions include the use of English words for medical terms originally in Japanese, like diabetes, cataract and pulmonary tuberculosis.
Since 2009, the Philippines has sent a total of 139 nurses and 299 caregivers to train in Japan through the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) signed in 2006.
Various groups had earlier questioned JPEPA’s constitutionality before the Supreme Court, saying the treaty violates constitutional provision on trade, natural resources, labor, education, mass media legislation, public utilities and foreign policy. (See: Groups question Jpepa constitutionality at SC)
The Japanese Embassy said it has been taking steps to help Filipino nurses maximize employment opportunities for Filipino nurses under the treaty.
“This demonstrates the perseverance and dedication of both countries to take initiatives in improving the standing of Filipino candidate nurses in particular, especially in successfully integrating them, through language,” Katsura explained.
Nurses who fail Japan’s licensure tests in Japan can only re-take the exam within the period they are allowed to stay in Japan.
If they still fail the examination, the nurses would have to return to the Philippines to apply again for training.
Apart from the six months of paid language training, Filipino nurses and caregivers are employed in Japanese hospitals and care-giving facilities for three years and four years, respectively, to familiarize themselves with the country’s healthcare system.
During that time, nurses undergoing work-training receive an average monthly salary of 130,000 yen to 220,000 yen (about P68,000 to P115,000) For caregivers, the monthly salary ranges from 125,000 yen to 185,000 yen (about P65,000 to P96,000).— With Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMA News