Stories of bravery and compassion embodied by our fellow Filipinos at the frontlines.
Filipino nurses have been a strong pillar of strength and stability for countless medical institutions in multiple countries. With over 150,000 Filipino nurses in the US, beyond 14,500 in the UK, and approximately 30,000 in the United Arab Emirates—the impact of our homegrown heroes is undeniable. Today, we share the stories that have inspired us and many others around the world, touching moments where Filipino nurses shine overseas and even within our own shores.
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Back in December 2020, May Parsons became the first nurse to administer the COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials. This landmark event was a first not only in the United Kingdom but in the world. Parsons quickly became a prominent name in the news, being a nurse in the UK for nearly 20 years since moving from the Philippines. The news not only focused on the vaccine but also on the importance of nurses to the entire healthcare system, Filipino nurses being a major force in that; with brave individuals like May Parsons.
Early into 2021, the New Year Honour’s List was published by Queen Elizabeth II. The list recognized the work of significant individuals with the Order of the British Empire (BEM). One of those awarded is Filipino staff nurse Charito Romano. “I am sharing this award with all my colleagues and to the whole Arbrook team. If not for them, I will not be able to have this award. It is a team effort,” she shared at the event. Romano moved to the UK in 2002 and is honored in this year’s list for her tireless work during the pandemic.
Mary Lorraine Pingol
Pingol was honored back in October with a Bayaning Nars Award by the Philippine Nurse Association (PNA) for her brave act in aiding a woman to deliver her child in an emergency setting along Osmeña Highway in Makati. This local story, among many others, proves that the compassion of a nurse goes beyond their time of duty.
Nenita Domingo Tuddao
Nenita is one of over 30,000 nurses in the UAE that are on the front lines of keeping the pandemic in control in the Emirates. She has even proclaimed that she and her colleagues are, “soldiers going to war,” as shared in a Rappler interview. In late March, Tuddao and other Filipino nurses were awarded the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s (OWWA) Marilag Awards 2021 honoring the courageous work of Filipino nurses in the UAE.
At the height of the pandemic in the UK with the National Health Service (NHS) under immense pressure, many nurses went above and beyond to provide tireless care for patients. This sparked an online campaign by Oxford-based artist Tom Croft honoring these unsung heroes. The #portraitsforNHSheroes initiative featured many nurses drawn into portraits by numerous artists around the country. Notably, seven portraits of Northumbria NHS Trust nurse, Kit Torres, were made after she posted a photo with a mask on during work became a prominent image for many nurses. Torress received one of her sketches and commented that “As a Christian and a nurse by profession, this has made me realize how blessed I am, that I can somehow share my services to humanity in the best way that I could possibly can.”
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