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From Mindoro to Saudi to Cavite: A Nurse’s Tale of Coming Home

by Marga Salvador; Kalibrr

Jomadel Ferrancullo, or Jomz to her friends, went through her fair share of ups and downs when it came to the job search. Jomz graduated with a degree in BS Nursing from the University of Perpetual Help, Las Piñas in 2009, a time when everyone was crazy for Nursing degrees. And this was not an easy time: the Philippines was producing 200,000 nursing graduates yearly, but only about 2,500 local nursing jobs at a time were available.

Fortunately for Jomz, she wanted to work abroad. But unfortunately, too, jobs abroad often required 2 or so years of work experience at a hospital, which meant that Jomz had to first find a job in the Philippines. So she was back to square one. After passing the nursing board exam, she got herself a 6-month contract with RN Heals that sends nurses to work in clinics in the rural areas of the country. It was better than nothing, so Jomz took the job and was off to Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro.

For the next six months, she busied herself doing rounds at the local clinic providing basic healthcare to the communities in Bulalacao. It wasn’t her ideal first job out of school but her training and expertise went somewhere where they were needed the most.

Like many nursing graduates here in the Philippines, Jomz had her string of odd jobs that led her to where she had started: another 6-month contract with RN Heals, this time on the island of Romblon. Not ideal, but she kept moving forward.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming

Her perseverance eventually paid off. After she got back from Romblon, Jomz found herself a job in a multi-specialty clinic in Saudi Arabia. This was it: she was a nurse working abroad — exactly what she wanted to do. But learning a new language wasn’t easy, nor was constantly being misunderstood, finding a new routine, and being away from your home and family for so long. In Februrary of 2015, Jomz came home.

She still wanted to work abroad, but she took a one-month break before setting off again. It was during this month that Jomz realized how much she missed her family. She had not seen them the entire time she was abroad and this was finally taking its toll on her. Something clicked and she made the decision to stay. “Maybe my real calling was to be a nurse in the Philippines,” Jomz said.

One day while scrolling through Facebook, she spotted an ad that said “work opportunity for nurses” and not much else. She got in touch, and FamilyDOC got back to her after a week and set an interview.

Family like no other

Jomz was surprised to find out that FamilyDOC was a clinic under AyalaHealth. With a better employment package than expected, she and her co-applicants got both excited and nervous. Jomz waited one week to get contacted by FamilyDOC, another week for the initial interview, and another for her panel interview. Needless to say, she got the job.

After one and a half month of training — learning the mission and vision of FamilyDOC, “unlearning the things you’ve learned before” — Jomz had her first day at the opening of FamilyDOC in Cavite.

“It was really overwhelming. There were a lot of patients and even if we were a new clinic, the community accepted us in a matter of days. They really appreciate the efforts of FamilyDOC. I was happy about that,” recalls Jomz of the opening in December.

Now that she’s gotten into the groove of things, Jomz says that she doesn’t really have a routine at work in FamilyDOC.

“Everyday is an exciting day. We never know what challenges will come. It’s chill one day and toxic the next.” But then again, that’s the life of doctors and nurses. “You can be flexible. You have to be. It adds up to your life experiences, learning to be patient, swallowing your personal feelings when you are tired or frustrated.”

When asked what the most difficult thing about working at FamilyDOC is, Jomz thinks for a second before answering. “How are you going to split yourself? There are lots of patients and lots of things to attend to. That’s the hardest.”

To answer that question, Jomz responds this time with the best part about being a nurse at FamilyDOC. “We work as a team, a family. We support each other and have each other’s backs. It’s great because this culture also encourages us to work harder and continuously learn.” It’s tough but they get through it as a unit, with the occasional badminton game, hiking trip, or dinner out, of course.

It hasn’t been a year since Jomz joined FamilyDOC but she feels fulfilled on a daily basis.

“When the patients come back and say that FamilyDOC helped them get better. I have patients who tell me that they are grateful for the services we provide and just knowing that we made a difference in their lives by simply talking to them, building a connection with them, and caring for them—that’s the best feeling.”

With good reason, the team refer to Jomz as a Customer Care Champion.

Advice for jobseekers

One might think that all in all, it took only three weeks for Jomz to become a working nurse in the Philippines. But she had to she blood, sweat, and tears before she was prepared to take, and succeed in, that journey.

“Believe in yourself,” Jomz advises jobseekers. “It’s really important because if you don’t have confidence in yourself, who will? If you feel like giving up, just move forward.”

There were times when Jomz regretted studying nursing. She wanted to be an accountant but like many of us, her parents had other plans for her. While she was in school, she prayed for a sign that this wasn’t for her.

“Unfortunately”, she passed her exams without reviewing. She tried other jobs, and it didn’t work out. Jomz took that as a sign that nursing was, in fact, her calling. “It really is something. It’s a tough job but also extremely gratifying. If you love what you do, you find things that make it easy.”

Be part of a company that cares for their teams as well as they care for their patients. Click here to apply for jobs in FamilyDOC today!

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