COUNTY CORK, Ireland - A Filipina nurse from Bacolod City shared how she was able to start her own business and overcome the struggles that came with it.
Joy Berey from Bacolod City started working as a staff nurse in Ireland in 2000.
Over the years, the mother of six was promoted as Clinical Nurse Manager and eventually as Director of Nursing in Powder Mill Nursing Home.
It was through monthly meetings with other nursing home directors that she realized that the need for nursing home nurses would continue.
That's when the idea of putting up a nursing recruitment agency crossed her mind by mid-2014.
After hard work, careful planning and the help of Nursing Home Ireland (NHI), Global Healthcare Recruitment Agency opened in May 2015.
“There are two major challenges that I faced in the beginning. First, Irish people, upon seeing that your color was different from them, will think that you can’t communicate in English properly, hence they speak slower. But upon hearing me talk, they immediately realize that I am just as fluent as they are," Berey said.
"Second, being a woman in an industry dominated by men is quite a challenge. I really exerted much effort and hard work to earn respect, and the fruits of my labor is now evident," she added.
Berey has so far managed to hire and place 78 Filipino nurses in different nursing homes all over Ireland, all of whom are happily settled in their respective workplaces.
One successful applicant was Aileen Genodifa, who has been working in Cork for a year now.
She said that being hired by a nursing agency owned by a Filipino is very advantageous.
"Sobrang suportado kami ng Global Healthcare, 'yung processing ng papers naging mabilis (Global Healthcare supported us, the processing of our papers was fast), and all the pointers and reminders were given to us as well," she said.
Another satisfied applicant, Mariel Genodifa added: "Marami na kaming naririnig na recruitment agencies na kakabahan ka kung totoo ba ito o hindi. Kung kababayan mo ang nag-hire sa 'yo, mas confident ka na tama 'yung lugar na pupuntahan mo and the communication is easy."
(We have heard of many other recruitment agencies where you'd get skeptical if it's true or not. But because it was your compatriot who hired you, you are more confident that you came to the right place so communication is easy.)
Berey said there are two major requirements for Filipino nurses aspiring to work in Ireland. They should have a minimum of 2 years of hospital experience and must pass the International English Language Testing System or IELTS to get the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) license.
Interview is usually through Skype, she said.
"Good clinical and communication skills and proper attitude is what the employers are usually looking for," said Berey.
There are already 14,725 Filipinos in Ireland mainly working in the healthcare sector, based on the 2016 census of the Central Statistic Office.