45 Minutes with Dr. Marilou Perlas - Furio: Nurse Consultant

To say that life is about the journey and not the destination is almost a cliché for this successful woman that we will be featuring this week. Her passion and dedication towards the nursing profession has led her to become one of the most sought-after nurse-consultants and nurse administrators in the country. She is the epitome of making the most out of her leadership skills when it comes to the nursing service.

  Marilou Perlas - Furio RN, Ph.D. FPSQUA has 26 years of progressive nursing leadership experience in the Philippines’ leading tertiary and JCI-accredited hospitals. She spent most of her education in Makati Medical Center College of Nursing for her Graduate Nurse and BS Nursing (Supplemental) degree from 1979-1983. In 1995 and 2010, she received her Master of Arts in Nursing at Concordia College and her PhD in Organization Development at Southeast Asia Interdisciplinary Institute (SAIDI) respectively.
She worked as the VP for Nursing for various hospitals such namely Makati Medical Center and St. Luke’s Medical Center (Quezon City and Global City). She also has ten years of bedside nursing experience in the medical surgical unit of a tertiary hospital (Makati Medical Center).
Her trainings both here and abroad also guided her to be a module writer (Delivery of Health Program and Services in Hospitals National Nursing Core Competency Standards in 2013), coach (National Nursing Core Competency Standards at Cebu Normal University, Cebu City in 2013), and mentor  (National Nursing Core Competency Standards in 2012).
She is also the recipient of different fellowships and awards such as Philippine Society for Quality in Healthcare Fellow (2012), Nursing Excellence Award in the 1st Grand Alumni Homecoming of the Makati Medical Center College of Nursing (2012), First Nursing Excellence Award (2013) to name a few.
Her publications include the Competency Based Management System (CBMS) for Nurses as Framework for Establishing Nursing Excellence (Doctoral Dissertation) and Valuation of the Competency Based Management System and Preceptorship Program as Tools for Establishing Nursing Excellence (2013).

FurioPerlas-Furio is also acknowledged as the force who introduced innovations uch as the Preceptorship Program for Training New Nurses (1996), Performance Appraisal Tool for Nurse Managers (1995), and the one-on-one Method of Patient Care Endorsement (1994) in the MMC Nursing Services Division Innovations. She is also the Founder and President of the Nightingale Nursing Services, Inc. (NNSI) which is the leading and fastest growing nursing registry in the Philippines.
Currently, she is the JCI Consultant for the Nursing Services of Mt. Grace Hospitals Inc. (MGHI), the Officer-in-Charge in the Nursing Services Department of ManilaMed (formerly Manila Medical Center), the Managing Director at the Furio Management Consultancy and Training Services and Professor of the MBA and Nursing programs at St. Paul University, Manila.

Let us know more about Dr. Perlas-Furio’s career.

Tell us your career journey in the nursing service.
I started my career as a bedside nurse in Makati Medical Center for 7 years at the medical surgical ward. Afterwards, I got promoted to charge nurse then to head nurse on the same year. I was a trainer and I was involved in many quality programs at Makati Medical Center until I became its Director of Nursing in 2006. I had the opportunity to be the Vice President for Nursing of St. Luke's Global City in 2008 and led its initial setup prior to opening. At the same time, I was also the interim Vice President for their Quezon City hospital for a year. In 2010, I was invited back to Makati Med and stayed there for another 3 years also as Vice President for Nursing. All in all, I have 30 years of progressive nursing leadership in the Philippines’ leading tertiary and JCI accredited hospitals. Outside the hospital, I teach MA and also earned my PhD. in Organization Development. Currently, I'm working as a consultant for different hospitals in the Philippines through my consulting business, as a president of Nightingale Nursing Services Inc. and a part time graduate school professor in the Nursing and Business programs of St Paul University -Manila. 

So what is your current job all about?

As a consultant, I offer advice and have a very professional approach not only in setting up nursing divisions and other hospital operations but also in the rebuilding process. I play an active role in ensuring that all hospital nursing systems, equipments, accreditation and human resource requirements are met and ready to stand on its own before handing over. I also conduct workshops on Organizational Design Analysis, Competency Creation, Nursing Leadership Development, Change Strategy, Performance management and Strategic Goals, Purpose and Direction facilitation in hospitals.
As an entrepreneur and President of the Nightingale Nursing Services Inc., I professionalize the private duty nursing practice and works towards effective homecare program, an alternative to hospital management that is cost effective.
As a grad school professor, I use this as a venue to share my professional healthcare experiences in a manner that supports professional empowerment and improvement of healthcare services.

What do you love most about your current nurse-consultant role?

I can manage my own time and I have more time for my family. I also see the growth in the people I teach. As a person who is already at the stage of self-actualization, I only desire to share all the things I’ve learned through the nursing challenges I’ve encountered throughout my journey to those who are just starting to build their careers. It gives me such fulfillment and joy to be able to empower nurses and nursing leaders. I want to help the hospitals uplift their standards of care.
With your busy schedule, what do you do to try and keep fit, healthy, happy and balanced?

I’d be lying if I said I maintain an exercise regimen because I honestly don’t. I just watch what I eat and make sure I drink my maintenance medicines. I always spend time with family when I’m off from work. Lunch dates during weekends with my two daughters is enough to keep me happy. Both of them are already very focused on their careers so it always surprises me to know we’re all off on the same day. Ultimately, I find my life already well-balanced as it is but I can’t deny the fact that there are still challenges and rough roads. To be perfectly honest though, I am not afraid because God always brings miracles in my life.
I am so dedicated to my work and my life has revolved around it. Maybe it’s true when they say I also need to spare some of my time for myself but improving the nursing profession and seeing change propels me to do more. I can’t just tell myself to stop. I want to drive myself more and do my passions justice. I believe that all the years that pushed me through the edge of my limits, were blessings. My work is such a very vital part of my life. Kahlil Gibran best explains it when he said that “Work is love made visible.”
What is the number one thing to do on your “bucket list”?

I want to travel around the Philippines. I know it’s not something unusual but it’s one thing I’d really love to do. Most of us already know the beauty of this country but I want to immerse myself in the culture of the many provinces we have. I honestly don’t believe that my age can hinder me from ticking this out of the list. Two years ago, I was able to conquer spelunking in Sagada that not many have the courage to do. There are more places to see. For one, I want to feel and see the serenity of Batanes. I believe that this is God’s Perfect timing. I resigned from work and now, He is giving me countless opportunities to travel the country while sharing learned wisdom throughout my nursing career.