45 Minutes with Jimmy Almodovar: PNA Ireland President

This week we go across the globe and venture Europe specifically the green lands of Ireland. Known for its abundance in breweries, the infamous Saint Patrick’s Day, and the mystical leprechauns, the Republic of Ireland is one of the major European countries that witnessed the rapidly growing number of Filipino nurses who left the Philippines for greener pasture.

In this edition, we feature the president of the Philippine Nurses Association of Ireland, Jimmy Almodovar. He is a Critical Care Senior Staff Nurse at Mater Misecordiae University Hospital and he was previously affiliated with Dallah University Hospital in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a nurse educator/critical care nurse.

In the Philippines, he was also previously connected with Dr JP Rizal Memorial District Hospital and at Calamba Doctors Hospital as chief nurse.

It was a pleasure for us to ask him about the current state of PNA in Ireland and the different conventions and summits they have conducted to support and enhance the professional skills of Filipino nurses.

Jimmy A
What is the state of Filipino Nurses in Ireland in terms of the percentage of current nurse population of Filipino Nurses to the overall nursing population? What is the number of PNA Ireland Nurse members?

So far there are at least 3,776 active Filipino Nurses registered in NMBI or Nurses and Midwifery Board Ireland (a counterpart of the PRC in the Philippines) as of January 2015 and they are divided into several divisions according to qualifications such as general nurse, nurse-midwife, psychiatric nurse, intellectual disability nurse practitioner, child/pediatric nurse, public health nurse, nurse tutor, advanced nurse practitioner, and nurse prescriber. This analysis shows that Filipino-born nurses when grouped as one ranks as the 2nd largest Non-EU nurses on the Irish registry for the total of 64,606 nurses working in the Irish Institutions with 5.84% behind Indian-born nurses (6.79%).

As per our database, there are about 500 active Filipino nurses who are registered members of PNA Ireland Chapter since our inception 3 years ago. Our number is continuously and constantly increasing by day.

We are aware that UK is now on the “recruitment mode” of Filipino nurses. Is this also true in Ireland? What do you think caused this scenario?

I believe that the present situation related to this question is the shortage of health workers especially nurses in a global scale. The numbers  of  trained  nurses  entering the  labor  market  fall  short  on  the number of nurses needed  to  replace an  ageing  nursing  workforce in the recent years.  Another reason perhaps are increasing number of Irish nurses migrating to  more  attractive labor markets such as the UK, Canada and United States. While another good reason is the early exit of nurses from professional nursing practice or in other words “retirement” from the nursing profession.

This forces employers to  look elsewhere and initiate international  recruitment  campaigns  to  facilitate  the  migration  of  qualified  nurses  to Ireland. With this scenario and the embargo implemented by the Irish Government at the end of 2007, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the movements of nurses across the healthcare sector in Ireland. But recent positive changes have also been observed. I have been in constant communication with Nursing Home Ireland (NHI) and they specifically prefer our world renowned Filipino way of caring. They are also delighted and thrilled to inform us that they are willing to resume hiring Filipino Nurses – using the Atypical Working Scheme Visa for Non-EEA Nurses on Clinical Adaptation Placements – a scheme introduced last September 2014 by the Department of Justice and Equality.

So with this great news, we hope to see the freshly-skilled and well-motivated Filipino nurses from the Philippines to work here in Ireland.

Tell us about your recent PNA Ireland Second Nursing Summit and Biennial Convention.

It was a very successful and momentous event. Last October 2014, more than 250 Filipino Nurses coming from all over Ireland attended the summit and the convention. With the theme, “Nurse Empowerment through Global Health Care and Entrepreneurship”, PNA National President Dr Roger Tong-An served as the primary spokesperson. It was our second convention. The first one was last 2012 and the respectable Dr Teresita Barcelo, who was the President at that time, graced us with her present during the first convention. These two conventions surely contributed in formulating global and regional strategies that advanced the ever evolving nursing role as well as in developing policy initiatives in relation to nursing practice and nursing education. It also assisted us in gaining immediate access to practical solutions for starting, building, and managing our nursing portfolio from these two well respected and esteemed guest speakers coupled with home grown Irish speakers.

PNA Ireland Conference

PNA Ireland Conference

Enticing topics such as Bullying in the Workplace, Safe Practice and Legal Documentation in Nursing, The Role of Nurses and the Social Media (FB, Instagram, Tweeter etc.), Nurse Entrepreneurship and up to date information on Nursing Registration of Nurses in Ireland (related to work disparities as well as a substantial breadth of fascinating topics relative to our vocation) were also discussed. I know that through sharing and exchange of information on the latest developments in the nursing discipline amongst eminent experts from across the nursing paradigm, the convention and summit becomes a professional highlight and motivation that nurses who work away from home can look forward to every two years. Lastly, it is indeed worth reminiscing how each one of us have struggled so hard in the past just to march down the aisle that both our parents and mentors have prepared for us hand in hand and paved the way for us to where we are now. As skillful and highly competent nurses of our country, I encourage all of you to be generous in imparting your abilities to others because this will lead you to a more productive professional and learning experience. Remember, it is in sharing what we know and what we could do that we are able to gain more knowledge and wisdom for ourselves.

I know that responding to the challenges of a dynamic environment (especially here in Ireland) is a very tedious task for all of us. However, it is only in adhering to these tasks that we will be able to let go of ourselves professionally and feel the commitment and dedication that come along with our oath to be of service to humanity.

Let us never be blinded of the monetary reward that has been conceived to be part and parcel of our chosen profession. Instead, let us be overwhelmed by the countless opportunities that are presented to us every day to render the best nursing care service to those who are physically weak. These and only these will bring out the best in us. Maraming Salamat Po!