Improving Immigration Policies for International Nurses: Bituina’s Journey

Bituina, an exceptional nurse hailing from the Philippines, embarked on a remarkable journey to the United States in March 2021. Her narrative shines a light on the challenges and triumphs experienced by international nurses, shedding profound insight into the urgent necessity for enhanced immigration policies to facilitate the entry of highly qualified professionals like herself into the U.S. nursing workforce, especially amid the current shortage.

PERSONAL STORY

Bituina’s professional voyage commenced in the Philippines, where she honed her nursing skills for two years. Her path brought her to nursing experiences in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, culminating in her arrival in the United States. Currently serving as an Emergency Room (ER) Nurse at Doctor’s Community Hospital in Maryland, Bituina employs critical thinking skills to provide efficient patient care. Her commitment to her profession extends beyond hospital walls; she stands as an inspiration, supporting her cousins’ college education back in the Philippines, one of whom has chosen to follow her footsteps in nursing.

Her integration within the Filipino community here in the United States has become a sanctuary and an essential haven to safeguard and share her cultural heritage. In this nurturing environment, she has built profound connections, fostering a network that not only facilitated her adaptation to life in the United States but also enriched her journey.

CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES

Bituina’s repertoire includes diverse experiences, from working in the pediatric ICU in Saudi Arabia to focusing on adult care as an ER nurse in Qatar. However, her journey to the U.S. wasn’t devoid of challenges. Over a three-year period, she navigated hurdles, including passing the NCLEX exam in 2018, and encountered difficulties with various agencies, which posed excessive requests and unresponsiveness. It was the support of MedPro that eased her immigration process, significantly contrasting the challenges faced elsewhere and marking a turning point in her journey.

When she arrived in Maryland, Bituina found solace within the Filipino community and was adopted by a local family, enabling her to learn essential financial skills and eventually become a proud homeowner.

An active member in the Filipino cultural community, she currently serves as the PR Chair of the cultural club, fostering connections and support networks for newly arrived nurses. Retired health care professionals act as mentors and support systems for these nurses, just like the support Bituina once received.

NURSING SHORTAGES IN THE U.S.

Bituina is a source of inspiration for other nurses, emphasizing the importance of communication, professionalism, and strong work ethics. Her most memorable nursing experience was delivering her auntie’s baby during her fourth year of nursing school, and she has now delivered over 15 babies during her time in the field. Her belief in the invaluable addition of international nurses to the U.S. healthcare system resonates with her recognition of the severe shortage, particularly in the ER. She advocates for immigrants in nursing, valuing the diverse contributions they offer.

Nursing shortages are a pressing issue that is glaringly evident within overburdened emergency rooms. The strain this has caused on healthcare systems has led to prolonged wait times for patients and the underutilization of facilities. Bituina is just one of many nurses from other countries who are invaluable additions to U.S. nursing staff.

Bituina’s story is just one of many that highlight the need for legislation such as the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act. This crucial act facilitates the seamless integration of skilled nursing professionals into the U.S. healthcare system by overcoming immigration barriers and providing vital support to international healthcare workers. It represents hope in alleviating the concerning shortages within the nursing workforce.

NEXT STEPS

The essence of Bituina’s narrative resonates deeply with the imperative need for inclusive policies that recognize and harness the immense potential of international nurses. By enhancing accessibility and efficiency, the U.S. can tap into a diverse pool of professionals like Bituina, significantly alleviating nursing shortages and ultimately benefiting patients and the healthcare industry. Ultimately, their seamless integration will not only bolster patient care and healthcare facility operations but also alleviate the strain on an industry grappling with critical shortages.

Thank you to MedPro International for contributing this powerful case study to the Healthcare Workforce Coalition.

CONGRESS: SUPPORT THE HEALTHCARE WORKFORCE RESILIENCE ACT!

Address Significant Workforce Shortages In Our Nation’s Healthcare System By Enabling More Nurses Like Bituina To Work In The U.S.

Download a copy of Bituina’s story here.