After living in the sunny Philippines, Ian is ready for the cold British weather. He is wearing a heavy black leather jacket and blue striped scarf. It’s the middle of a grey, overcast week in January and Ian’s journey to get here has taken him from Davio in the Philippines, through Manila, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, London, and then a taxi to Hull. He is in surprisingly good spirits after very little rest.

Happy to be here!

Ian graduated as a nurse and received his license in 2009. He then worked as a volunteer nurse for a year, specialising in trauma and emergency, along with teaching as a clinical instructor.

After a couple of years, he moved to Australia in 2011 to be a registered nurse, but couldn’t get work as he hadn’t passed his IELTs. Ian explained: “I ended up working as a carer and disability support worker. I was just disappointed because I couldn’t really get into nursing. I applied for a residency and it became complicated and I wasn’t happy. In 2014 I got really depressed and decided to go back to the Philippines, initially for good.”

Two years ago, Ian decided to attempt the move abroad again: “It’s really hard for nurses to work in the Philippines I’ve been wanting to work in either Australia, the UK, or the US. But then when I heard about the UK, the NHS, and that they were hiring thousands of nurses from the Philippines – I decided to start the process! I found three agencies that were okay with my work experiences and one was Camox. They interviewed me in April, and after a month or so I got interviewed by Rob at Resource Finder… and that was it!”

Ian discovered that there were many agencies offering to send nurses abroad: “I was actually chosen by two… by Camox and another agency, but Resource Finder offered real benefits and that’s why I decided to choose to be working here. The offer was good, you didn’t have to shell out a lot of money to get here. So, I decided to retake the IELTs exam which is quite difficult… no, really difficult! Fortunately I passed!” I asked Ian if he had passed first-time, he paused, smiled and said: “Noooo… I’ve taken it heaps of times, don’t ask me how many times, but a lot of times!”

Of his experience coming to the UK, Ian said: “I’m glad that I chose Resource Finder and Camox [and] just excited to be working with the NHS. I actually have friends that had applied to other agencies, but I recommend them to Camox. I know that other agencies are not offering much – they have to pay for their OSCE, and will only refund other expenses once we get here… I am secure and feel more calm.”

Ian with Rob Fuller at the NHS induction

At the moment, Ian will live in nursing accommodation at the Castle Hill site in Cottingham, commuting to Hull Royal, where he will begin work on Monday. This will give him a much deserved rest over the weekend. Of all the things that Ian will miss about the Philippines, he said that it is the friends and beer he will miss most. Although, he was impressed that we’ve had San Miguel in the UK for years, it’s Red Horse beer he will yearn for. “That’s my favourite! It’s quite strong… but, after a bowl or two, you’ll be fine!” However, Ian didn’t have to miss the Philippines for long. The Filipino nursing community came to him that evening with a few bottles of wine to celebrate his arrival. Also, Ian is hoping to bring his partner of twelve years to the UK after he passes his OSCE in about six months, making his new family complete.

AJ Foote

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