The Filipino NARS

Natividad Ronquillo Abalos, RN



Pinoy Lifestyles in White

Thanks to the nursing shortage in the US some thirty years ago, that nursing became every girl’s/boy’s dream in the Philippines. In many perspectives, this nursing influx has numerous impacts in the socio-economic picture, both here and abroad. These factors flowed naturally to create the Filipino Nars image while in transition in creating that niche in the American healthcare.


Coming to America with couple of hundred dollars and the trade of a nurse, life was interesting among the young men and women in white separated from their families, friends and country! Generally hard working, genuinely caring, respectful, patient, submissive, happy, and peaceful, the Filipino nars blended readily with America and its immigrants from all over the world.


They came by batches, single and in their prime times, so that working double shifts is not an issue. These gave them the edge to their financial strength which extended to their families, sending one or two of their siblings to nursing schools to follow their footsteps and good fortune. Their non-nursing counterparts have to adjust to their busy lifestyles.


Each nurse has a story of courage from being pinoys and fresh from the province, working against all odds to create their status as America’s professional nurses, from being foreign-educated to Americas own-trained advance practitioners.


Over the years, the Filipino narses created this image to portray a world-class caregiver as Nurses. They started low as nurse’s aides until they pass their boards and serve as professional nurses. The path was not easy and without issues. As people of color, minorities and foreign-born, they were not exempted from prejudgment, bias and unfair treatment. Despite of these, they survive the tension and stress of being nurses. They create their own lifestyle to suit the needs of their profession and bounce back from the wear and tear of stress and physical demands of caring for the American patient. The Filipino nars love fun, dancing and picture taking and talking about movie stars. They love to cook and share their cuisine to their co-workers. They fill the nurse’s lounge with the smell of a garlicky adobo on lunch breaks.


Quo Vadis, nars!

~Myrna D. Santos, RN


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Nursing Chronicles

The Filipino Nurses: Coming to America 

Ode to a Nightingale: Phoebe Andes, RN

The Legend from Oton