Best nurses?

It irks me to no end when I come across someone who haphazardly say “Filipino Nurses are the best nurses in the world”. Really now? Uttering a superlative statement like that is dangerous and shows ignorance as well as arrogance. I should think that before one can confidently say such, he or she should have a backing of a credible comparative study of the performance of nurses from around the world or at least must have worked in a foreign land, then, and only then can this be considered an unbiased statement.

This ethnocentric belief is very harmful to our profession, elevating our status in such a way that is unnecessary and burgeoned with bigotry. I am currently working in a foreign land, and I have been fully immersed in a healtcare system quite different from ours.

I have worked side by side with these foreign nurses and I have witnessed their utmost professionalism and dedication. They are very aware of their responsibilities which corresponds to their autonomy within the wokplace. I have come to embrace their work ethics which eliminates the strict enforcement of hierarchy that stifles productivity, as well as being treated as subordinates by physicians. In fact, physicians ask us regularly about the condition of their patients because we are the ones who mostly sees them when they are in the hospital. Are these nurses who I work with good? Oh, much more than that, they are excellent. Even with my four years of clinical experience in the Philippines, these nurses and even the LPNs (as opposed to RNs) have worked for decades and decades, and they still know their basic skills as nurses. I was an IV therapy preceptor back in the Philippines, and I have seen many who took up the training in their mid sixties for the first time even if they have been in the service for 20 or even 30 years, and the only reason why they took the training is because they were mandated to do so, furthermore, these nurses are the midmanagers in the hospital where they belong.

There is someone I used to work with who just recently retired, and she is in her early 70s. She was my mentor, and she remained as a staff nurse. Before that, she’s handled various positions in the health region (that’s what we call the employer which is the government as a whole), but she has always maintained that being a staff nurse was where she was most comfortable. Even at that age, she can lift, do bedbaths and regular tub baths to her patients. It is also amazing how she can manage to do her other day and/or night routines and sometimes I’m just in awe. Is she the only one? Certainly not, during my orientation I’ve been paired with other RNs as well as LPNs who are in their 60s, and they are very good. These folks commanded respect, and I give deference to them because they truly deserve it.

So if I am to be asked, “Are the Filipino nurses the best nurses in the world”, I’d say that they can be, just as the next Japanese or the American nurses can. Pinoy nurses indeed have the potential, but it is not right to step beyond a boundary that is unfounded and very untrue.

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  • Randy

    Being a nurse at UCLA, I work with many Filipino nurses. In addition, I work with nurses from around the globe who have come to live here in LA so I also work directly with several European and Canadian nurses. We at UCLA have a strict code of ethics and retain only the most dedicated nurses, those who come to work for a paycheck only soon leave for other facilities. Being a tertiary facility ranked fifth in the nation by US News and World Report, and being the hospital that performs more transplants than any other Hospital in North America, our patients are more acutely ill than in most other hospitals. I am proud to work next to my Filipino colleagues. There are Filipino Nurses working at bedside on every floor, many hold Director positions and one is the President of the Nursing Union for UCLA and has been fighting for the rights and fare salaries of all the thousands of nurses that work for UCLA. He has done an exceptional job. These nurses may not be great just because they are Filipino, but each excel at their positions because they know what needs to be done and the added bonus of coming from the Philippines. Being a natural-born American, I see so many “birthers” who feel entitled and do only the minimum to get by. In comparison, the Filipinos I know, have a desire if not a need to excel. If I am in the hospital, I want my nurse to be Filipino, because I know they have the innate compassion and attention to detail that comes with the drive to be the best they can be. Certainly there are other great nurses, I like to believe that I am one, but proportionally, Filipinos make up a greater number of these professional nurses and I am proud to call them my friends.

    • pinkee

      you are so right. because most filipinos have their hearts on their jobs. some simply do not care for the monetary value that our job can offer. some are even contented already with a mere “thank you”…we simply care…that’s that. cheers to the nursing profession…the filipino way!!!

  • patient me

    oooooohhh i just looove nurses!

  • James

    I have worked in the Phillipines, middle east and now in the middle earth. Having gone this far, I’ve witnessed the best and the worst nurses in the healthcare industry. We Filipinos have a distinct quality among all other foreign nurses. But to say that we are the best nurses/ producing country of nurses in the world is uncalled for.
    There are many highly intellectuals ans skilled nurses other than Filipinos. Their impeccable service records are not always put on spotlight because they believe that the nursing vocation is not meant for that. Their contribution is for the world to consume to continue to uphold the passion of this noble profession.
    We Filipinos give so much emphasis on our nursing education, reputation and achievements and it annoys me because part of saying that is that we tend to become arrogant and become biased with other foreign nurses.
    I’ve worked with other foreign nurses, I have distinct qualities, and they too have, and when we combine these qualities together, we come up with what this noble profession is meant for – optimum care for the patients regardless of our background on ethinicity, education and religion!

    • Randell

      James, It is with all the admiration in the world that I say this, but you are exhibiting textbook Filipino humility. Although admirable, it is not necessary. If you ask an American, “What is the best country on Earth,” without hesitation you will get the USA as an answer. With all the greed associated with Wall Street insiders and bankrupting the world economy and pillaging the retirement accounts of our own citizens just so a few can become Plutocrats, there are many who would beg to differ. Yet, you would get the USA as an immediate answer anyway.

      Filipinos should be proud of what they accomplish in a country where nothing is given. Hard work and diligence is it’s own reward. You worked hard for your nursing degree, as did I, but the Filipino Heritage makes you great. In the U.S. there is so much talk about “family values,” but those very people will disown their own children for being gay or marrying outside their race or religion. I know Filipinos who marry outside their race and I know families made of a Catholic Mother and Muslim Father. Family TRULY comes first in the Philippines. That is why I love your country as much as my own.

      Be proud! If you are the best at something, then shout it out! It is not boastful to celebrate the talents that God has given you. God has blessed the Filipino People with and extra measure of compassion. That makes Filipino nurses the best in the world in my book!

  • pinkee bellen

    God has blessed the Filipino People with an extra measure of compassion. – WELL SAID MR. RANDELL. I SALUTE YOU. you’ve written a lot more and i do appreciate most of it but this line stood out. you too have the HEART of a FILIPINO.



  • pinkee bellen

    “God has blessed the Filipino People with an extra measure of compassion.” – WELL SAID MR. RANDELL. I SALUTE YOU. you’ve written a lot more and i do appreciate most of it but this line stood out. you too have the HEART of a FILIPINO.