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How rural hospital staffing can go global

One chilly morning in February 2016, Mary Rose and her family were greeted at a U.S. airport. The weather must have been shocking to the family who hailed from Quezon City, Metro Manila in the Philippines. They had been warned about Iowa winters and the need for proper clothing, but there’s something unsettling about saying farewell to family and friends in 90-degree heat and humidity only to deplane a few hours later to the foreign concept of wind chills.

The family and their arrival coordinator gathered up their suitcases, boxes, and keepsakes and made their way to a small town of around 26,000 in eastern Iowa. This was to be their new home.

After helping the family set up their new household and making introductions to the facility and nursing team, it was time for the arrival coordinator to leave. Items such as banking, transportation, and schooling for the children had either been arranged before arrival or taken care of on site.

Fortunately, clinical and emotional support was always there. Mary Rose knew assistance was as simple as a phone call to her assigned international employee supervisor. But she realized fitting in and forging a new life for her family would be largely her responsibility. This“big city girl” from the tropics thrived in her new career and rural community in the American heartland.

From staff nurse to preceptor and charge nurse

While on assignment, Mary Rose and her fellow nurses worked hard to earn magnet recognition for their facility from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Additionally, Mary Rose precepted new nurses, continued to work on earning extra nursing certifications, cross-trained to become a charge nurse, and expanded her skills to work in the progressive care, med-surg, and telemetry units.

In the final performance review of her contract assignment, the facility’s nurse director said, “Mary Rose does a great job. We are very glad that she is here. Her clinical skills and abilities have grown over the past year. She is always positive and helpful, and her patients say positive things about her. Her critical thinking and analytic skills have really developed since she arrived.”

Here is a summary of her performance review progress:
Review date Score  (5 max) Clinical manager performance review comments
90-day 3.56 90-Day review: Mary Rose is a very hard worker and a very willing eager learner. She is clinically doing well and interacts with her patients and coworkers well. She is very flexible and takes direction well. She is positive and professional at all times.
2017 3.78 Mary Rose has done well in her role as RN at night. The patients report positive comments about her care. She has learned a lot over this past year . . . She has a great attitude . . . Her coworkers find her delightful and report that she delivers great care to her patients. She is definitely an asset to PCU and our hospital.
2018 4.44 Mary Rose is delightful and easy to work with. She never complains about anything or anyone. She is loved by her patients and has progressed very nicely with her clinical skills. She functions effectively in the charge role and has cross-trained into the tele tech role. She delivers safe care to her patients and has developed her critical thinking skills to benefit her patients. She is dependable and always helpful to her coworkers.
2019 4.67 Mary Rose does a great job. We are very glad that she is here. Her clinical skills and abilities have grown over this past year. She has precepted a new nurse and is planning to work on her PCCN certification in July. She is always positive and helpful. Her patients say positive things about her. Her critical thinking and analytic skills have really developed since she arrived.

Reflecting on her journey

At the end of her assignment, Mary Rose accepted a full-time employment offer from the hospital.
“From the beginning through the end of my assignment, PassportUSA was there to help. Their guidance and patience paved the way to where I am now,” Mary Rose says. “Working at this hospital has made me a better nurse. I have learned a lot here. I work with wonderful and amazing people. They have become my work family. Where we live is safe, nice, and friendly people are everywhere. I was blessed even more when my third child was born in the USA. And even though we miss friends and family in the Philippines, we never feel alone because of the support from our new friends here in the U.S. Having the opportunity to come here to the USA has made my family’s lives better and easier. I believe America is the land of opportunity and a place where dreams come true.”

NRHA adapted the above piece from Health Carousel, a trusted NRHA partner, and its international recruitment brand PassportUSA, for publication within the Association’s Rural Health Voices blog

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