Posted in Stories

Ralph’s Journey as a Swedish Nurse

The Nordic Countries, probably the richest and most happiest countries in the world has always been a dream of mine. At nursing school while my classmates aspired about the Great American Dream, the vast and lush Arabian pastures, or the Majesty and Dominance of the United Kingdom. I on the other hand always had my mind set on the beautiful awe-inspiring Scandinavian Region specially the Kingdom of Sweden.

My aunt has lived in Sweden for more than 10 years and has worked as a preschool teacher so Ive had tales and stories of how life and grandeur is in Sweden. With her help i began my tedious and off the path journey in the capital of Scandinavia, Sweden.

My name is Ralph Chito Picardal, a mindanaon born and raised in the city of majestic waterfalls Iligan City. I began my nightingale calling year 2011 at Iligan Medical Center College with a scholarship from my fathers company. I graduated top of my Class with a GPA of 1.6,  year thereafter topped the Philippine Nursing Licensure Examination at the 12th spot with a general average of 84%. I have always believed in my ability academically and dazzled in the fact that I have had highest achievements during my school years and I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO WRONG until i came to Sweden.

I first lived with my aunt while studying swedish but learning a language proved to be a lot harder than memorizing the 12 cranial nerves. In order to be able to get my license I must be competent with the language with a C1 level competency which equates gymnasial nivå (highschool level) approximately 15 language courses in a span of 2 years which with right motivation took me a year to complete. I always wanted to be financially independent so 2 months after i began my language course i so bravely worked at a kindergarten while only having 20 swedish words in my vocabulary. I thought Pathophysiology is hard but trying to communicate to children in a foreign language with 20 words deemed to be harder than i thought.

I then applied to take the nursing board exam counterpart in Sweden which is the National Clinical Examination for Nurses (NKSE) which can only be done 3 times. What could possibly go wrong? I topped my board exam in the Philippines there is no way I could fail this. And then just when you thought you could conquer the world, the universe conspires to set your feet on the ground. I so greatly failed my board exam here in Sweden leading to a 3 month depression.

I then re-applied to take the Swedish Board Exam which would take around 6-10 months wait. While waiting I worked as a Health-Aide in dialysis department and then afterwards transferred to a special medicine department catering kidney, stroke and  nevrological patients. December 2018, I retook and passed the swedish nursing board examination. I then underwent an OSCE- based practical examination at the University of Gothenburg and made it out alive with flying colors May 2019.

As of the moment I am currently working as a nurse at Falu Lasarett (Falun Hospital) with a clinical instructor for a duration of 3 months as a final requirement to get my authorization. Furthermore I am currently studying Swedish Health Laws and Regulations at Umeå Law and Juridicial University in Sweden. By September this year would I finally become a full-pledged Swedish nurse. Afterwards I plan to take my masters degree in pediatric care and psychology at the home of the Nobel Prize, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden . I look so forward to the opportunity to meet and learn from my distinguished members and directors of this organization.

 Med Vänliga Hälsningar från Sverige!


Posted in Stories

Roman’s Journey as an Icelandic Nurse

I am Roman Aquino 29-year old of age and finished Bachelor of Science in Nursing in the year 2011 at Medical Colleges of Northern Philippines – Tuguegarao City. I took the Nursing board exam month of June at the same year and luckily nailed it. I then pursued my chosen career and God was just so good to me that I was hired to a Secondary hospital in our city from September 2011 to December 2013. The salary was not that good but at least I was able to practice my profession. Then after two years, I tend to work as a community nurse at the Department of Health Region II from January 2014 to November 2015. While working as a community nurse, I pursued my education and took up Master of Science in Nursing major in Adult Health Nursing at University of Saint Louis- Tuguegarao City which I finished in the month of October year 2015. Years fly so fast, and then I just woke up one day realizing that I am already packing my things for a greener pasture.

Roman Aquino, BSN, RN, MSN

I started my journey as an Overseas Filipino Worker last December year 2015. Coming from a very family-oriented clan, it was really hard for me to be miles away from my family especially that my Dad was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure a year before I decided to go out of the country. It´s just so hard that while I am busy taking care of other people,  I can´t take care of my own father. Since we are financially broke due to my dad´s hemodialysis twice a week, my aunt way back then voluntarily sponsored me to have a student Visa in Iceland since working visa is not as easy as it is. I then enrolled in Bachelor of Arts in English, was just so mesmerized that the University of Iceland approved my application but unfortunately they asked me to take IELTS since English is not our mother tongue. It was really hard as a rock to take the IELTS but with the help of Almighty God, I was able to pass it. Also, an intensive review from one of my precious friend who is an IELTS reviewer really helped a lot.

Starting my life being a student again was really exciting yet full of challenges. First, I needed to wake up early with the very freezy weather and I needed to study, study and pray because of the condition that if I fail my studies, I have to come back in the Philippines out of nothing. In addition, I also need to work for me to sustain my daily expenses at the same time to send money in the Philippines which is the very reason why I accepted this life´s journey. I worked in one of the Hotels in the city for the meantime since that´s one of the easiest jobs to get with. And the obstacles did not end there, due to cultural diversity I needed to adjust so well. I have to get familiarized with their culture in order for me to cope up with the homesickness because it’s through gaining friends that I feel secure and feel like I am living in my home country. After my first semester in the Uni., I opted to shift my course to Icelandic Diploma as A Second Language because this will be my greatest weapon to be an adept Icelandic Nurse in the future. After six months of squeaky-cleaning toilet bowls, I got an interview in one of the hospitals in Iceland. I then started to work as an Assistant Nurse. When I was already in the medical field, I thought my life would be easier but then I was wrong.

The battle has just started, my communication skills were challenged. I came to a point of giving up. There are many nights that I cried for longings that I should have just stayed in the Philippines. There are those days in my life that I feel like I am just so inexpert and unproductive nurse due to the language barrier. But quitting is not an option for that very moment in my life but in contrary pursuing harder to achieve my goals is the least that I can do. I always remind myself that there are a lot of people who would do everything to get to where I am so I need to be thankful. Thinking about my parents especially my dad also gave me strength.I prayed so hard that someday I will be one of those many Filipino nurses who is soaring high conquering their dreams. I then doubled my time to master the Icelandic Language. So, while studying at the University, I enrolled in tutorial classes which were taught during the evening. I learned to love every new word that I gain. So all in one, I work, study, study and pray. Days and months passed until I decided to take an Icelandic exam to show to the Icelandic Department of Health that I am capable of expressing myself using their language. With God´s help, I successfully got a certificate and the Department of Health in Iceland granted me my Icelandic Nurse License last December 2016. I then started practicing my profession by then.

Life as an Overseas Filipino Nurse is not that easy, especially in non-speaking English countries.  But if we want to achieve great things in life, we need to go through numerous challenges and we all have to make great sacrifices. Let us all be reminded of what Miss Universe 2019 has quoted that we should always think  to look for the beauty in life´s challenges and to be grateful and should bring this aspect to see situations with a silver lining and to assess where we can give something, where we could provide something as a well-rounded nurse. And if we could also teach other people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster. Let’s continue to be a blessing and an inspiration to others.

Posted in Stories

Roumeline’s Journey as a Norwegian Nurse

Norway Chapter. Roumeline’s Journey to Norway. You will hear more from her on our First General Assembly in September 2019! It was not an easy journey for her. 

Roumeline Aglipay, a graduate of B.S. Biology year 2001, thereafter B.S. Nursing year 2004. Immeadiately after passing the licensure exam, got a job at The Medical City in Ortigas, Pasig City, Philippines. Worked as a staff nurse @ Surgery Ward and promoted as OIC, then Head Nurse of the same unit. Worked in TMC for almost 7 years.

My journey in Norway started in the year 2009. A Norwegian agency from Norway in collaboration with an agency in Makati, came visiting the hospital and recruited interested nurses, with a working visa, provided we pay the norwegian language course. It was a hard journey juggling between work and going to the language school, mainly because of the distance and time. For 3 months i worked night shifts and in the morning have to go to language school. Unfortunately, I was not lucky to go to Norway because of unexpected circumstances. I was discouraged and was convinced that I would never leave PI anymore. But came an opportunity again by the year 2012, this time with a student visa. Applicants/we payed all expenses. Finally set foot in Norway September of 2012. 

With a student visa, we have to pay everything again, from lodging, school tuition fees and allowances. I and a friend cleaned a house once every week just to have an income. It was hard applying for a job related to nursing mainly because of language barriers. I seeked advice to our guidance counselor in school and she helped me get in a nursing home for my language practice. Luckily , I passed my Norwegian language exam (norskprove 2 & 3). I was then offered a work with 11,6% and this was not much but i just have to grab that chance. With determination & push from a Filipina nurse working in the same unit as I am, I then took the Nasjonalefag thru online. Passed the exam and undergone 3 months practice in Geriatrics. After the satisfactory evaluation from my norwegian nurse mentor, i submitted every requirement to SAFH (Statens Autorisasjonskontor for Helsepersonell) and got my authorization as a nurse in Norway.

Currently working in Sarpsborg Kommune, Valaskjold Omsorgssenter as a night shift nurse for 6 years now.

Tears, sweat and blood pays off, I believe!