45 Minutes with Patrick Marban, RN, MAN

By Jerome Babate /Joseph Andrew Pepito

Meet Patrick Marban, RN, MSN currently working in Singapore as a clinical researcher. One of the few Filipino nurses who is into research and early-phase Oncology drug development field in this tiny city-state.

Patrick was formerly a clinical instructor at the University of the East. He moved to Singapore a few years ago.

Tell us about your job in Singapore. What excites you about working at National University Hospital? 

Working as a senior research coordinator is never boring. There is always a new drug with unforeseen effects, good response or bad (adverse events), especially when dealing with phase 1 studies. Work is very dynamic and challenging, being the front and back end the same time. I get to handle patients first hand, and I also gather data to make sense of what is going on. Working with the best oncologists and big pharmaceutical companies also is a good learning experience. I learn to think critically, and still see the big picture in drug development

Overall, what is the perception of Singaporeans towards Filipino nurses? 

They see Filipino nurses as the best. Filipino staff nurses here are all very experienced. One of my VIP patients even requested that only a specific Filipina nurse can draw his blood because, as per the patient, "she knows my veins better than anyone in this hospital."

What are in store for Filipino nurses who would like to move to Singapore to work in hospitals or aged care sector or maybe in research environment?

My colleagues would say the most challenging part of being a nurse here is not the number of patients, but gadgets and computer systems being used in patient care. We document notes in the computer (we are phasing out the charts soon), and medication dosing is recorded with a barcode scanner. I have no exposure in the aged care sector so I cannot not write about it. In clinical research, it is more challenging as we are like the little doctors. Other people have very high expectations from us. They expect us to know everything. Expect senior consultants, nurse managers, patient/relatives to ask you everything about your research, from preclinical data to current data and future direction of the study. Expect to receive a call while you are on a weekend break or even overseas holiday. Expect to multitask and receive multiple demands on a tight timeline.

Working in Singapore, in my opinion, is 3 times as challenging as any of my previous work in the Philippines, but also at least 3 times more rewarding.

Jerome Babate & Joseph Andrew Pepito