In memory of
Francis Sioson was a Filipino nurse who worked in the Emergency Department at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. He sadly died in January 2020. In this touching tribute, former colleague Janice Morgan remembers her friend.
Francis Sioson was a fantastic nurse, his smile lit up any room and he was the most caring person I have ever met. His mum Emelyn worked in ED for many years, and it was so wonderful to see Francis start working here when he came over to the UK.
Unfortunately in late 2018 Francis suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, which required emergency surgery as well as specialist surgery at a different hospital. After a lengthy recovery he was able to return to work mid 2019. Then unfortunately again, in Dec 2019, Francis suffered another ruptured aneurysm and unfortunately passed away in Jan 2020.
I want to pass on his fantastic legacy.
Francis was at the centre of our Team ED family. He was a beautiful soul and one of the hardest working nurses, his death left a void in our team that will not be filled. Francis bought so much to our team, the department and to the people lucky enough to have met him. His smile was genuine and full of warmth and he always showed such respect to his friends, colleagues and strangers alike. After the loss of Francis the department and our staff made a pledge to #bemoreFrancis, to try and be all the things we loved in Francis.
All the staff in ED now wear a #bemoreFrancis badge and all new starters read the pledge.
Francis was so very kind, he cared deeply about every single person who crossed his path, he was genuine, caring and his work ethic was second to none - it was difficult to keep him still at times. He was so proud of his profession and loved being a nurse. Francis was an amazing nurse and he had worked so hard to get to where he was, he was an inspiration to all of us with his positive attitude even on the hardest and busiest days. Nothing was too much trouble for Francis, no job was too small or too big, he took everything within his stride with a smile on his face.
Most importantly Francis never left anyone behind, a five minute chat with Francis would make you feel noticed and heard. There is an old saying – 'people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’ - and Francis made us feel better for and about ourselves. He taught us to be grateful for the present moment and the importance of taking care of each other. No matter what, and despite any of his own problems, Francis was always smiling, positive and happy and this bought comfort to so many of us, and of course to the patients he nursed. We were lucky to have had a little part of Francis in our lives and his legacy will live on in our department.
Francis made the world a better place, so we ask you to join us in our pledge to #bemoreFrancis.
Everyone Francis worked with can share stories about how he made them feel. I remember when I was pregnant, he said to me that I must be having a girl (I didn’t know at the time the gender of the baby). He said ‘you look so beautiful Sister, you must be having a girl’, and now everytime I look at my daughter I think about what he said and smile.
We now have a plaque dedicated to Francis in our department alongside a picture of him.
21 July 2021
Happy 1st Anniversary
Many congratulations to FNA-UK Founding Director
on his award as
Compassionate and Inclusive Leader – Initiative
at the National BAME Health and Care Awards 2021
The citation says that Francis "demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting underrepresented groups, challenging those in authority to take action and develop practical support for BAME colleagues"
15 April 2021
This news article is currently circulating on different media outlets worldwide and on all social media platforms. FNA-UK have been in touch with the Philippine Embassy here in the UK to get clarification of the issue.
As it stands, the Filipino Nurses Association United Kingdom would like to take this moment to acknowledge all your valuable contributions and sacrifices in this once-in-a-generation health crisis. FNA-UK thank you for your resilience, your strength, your service, and your kindness.
Thank you for being the best in what you do and bringing pride to our country!
Marka ng Maskara
Filipino healthcare workers' accounts of what the marks left by face masks mean to them
Marka ng Maskara is an initiative, recently started by FNA-UK Secretary Susie Lagrata, to increase the profile of Filipino Nurses here in UK by telling their stories and experiences during the pandemic. Marka ng Maskara aims to capture the varied stories of our colleagues from many heroic, brave, uplifting and admirable to sad and heartbreaking.
go to the Marka ng Maskara page
GUIDE FOR INTERNATIONAL NURSES DURING COVID-19
Published 1 February 2021
This resource, created by NHS England and NHS Improvement, with the support of NHS Employers and the unions, provides a collection of national resources and guidance to support international nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FNA-UK SUPPORT TO OSCE CANDIDATES
Testimonial from newly Registered Nurse Joseph Oliverio about the support he received from FNA-UK during his preparation for his OSCE examination.
10 February 2021
ONCE A NURSE, ALWAYS A NURSE!
(FNA-UK meets non-NMC registered Filipino licensed nurses)
by Susie Mamangon Lagrata
2 February 2021
Being a nurse is full of delights and demands. The stress and strain of providing care as a nurse are worth the lives that are touched. Once a nurse, always a nurse! An ethos echoed by the group of non-NMC registered nurses from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital (TASH), and they will stop at nothing to get the chance to be registered nurses here in the UK. Brought together by an amazing nurse leader, Wilfred Cadelina (nurse manager in TASH), affectionately called “Kuya Wil” by everybody, FNA-UK officers led by President Ariel Lanada met this group of dedicated non-NMC registered HCW’s all of whom are currently working as health care assistants in the UK.
The meeting started with a brief “getting -to know” session. It’s a humbling experience hearing how they all bravely faced and overcame their challenges in their journey to get here. But that journey goes on as they all continue to navigate the path to achieving that much coveted NMC registration. Their desire and passion to become part of the UK’s healthcare workforce landscape as registered nurses emanated from every single one of them. It was also equally inspiring to hear the story of their leader, Kuya Wil. Wilfred is a brave COVID-19 survivor. No eyes were dry upon hearing Wilfred’s account of his survival. We were all unanimous in saying that there is a reason why he survived. God has a mission for him, and he is diligently doing it to the Glory of God. Wilfred does not just advocate and provide a voice for his fellow Filipino health care workers at TASH....he also leads them and guides them to help make their journey towards being a registered nurse a smooth and easy one. An aim echoed by FNA-UK.
FNA-UK wholeheartedly and tirelessly extends the hand of support to nurses and those who are aspiring to become registered nurses here in the UK. This meeting was not the first time that FNA-UK met with non-NMC registered Filipino nurses licensed in the Philippines. A few months ago, FNA-UK also met with a group of non-NMC Filipino licensed nurses from all over the UK who FNA-UK gathered as part of FNA-UK’s outreach program. At both meetings, our interim President explained the opportunities in the horizon, including the initiative of and fund allocation from Chief Nursing Officer of England to get this program going. President Lanada also gave various tips on how to traverse the road to become a registered nurse easily. After that, a question and answer followed where the attendees had the opportunity to ask questions to all officers’ present including Susie Lagrata, Marion Mangalindan, Shawie De Vera and Rose Gargarita.
The meeting ended with everybody feeling inspired, energised and hopeful. Meetings like this are truly a prime example of how the spirit of Bayanihan lives on wherever Pinoys may be and whatever the circumstances may be.
A Message from FNA-UK to everyone
21 January 2021
As the pandemic continues to take a toll on our society, FNA-UK reminds all - especially frontliners - not to lose hope. Be kind to others and to yourselves and inspire one another.
Together we can ...
2020..... A Year Like No Other!
by Susie Mamangon Lagrata
5 January 2021
No doubt a lot of us are reflecting on this challenging year and shaking our heads. How long is this going to last, and how much more do we have to deal with?
Some of us even might be having a hard time seeing any reason to be positive. After all, we’ve had our freedom to gather restricted. Our ability to live the life we envision for ourselves has been put on hold. People are dying, hospitals are filling up with COVID-19 patients, and a number of people just can’t seem to grasp that we’re in the middle of a crisis.
As the UK faced a deadly trifecta of pandemic, unprecedented international health crisis and major nursing shortage, many of the gaps are being filled by thousands of Filipino migrant workers, whose skills put them on the front lines. At the same time, many more are doing similarly difficult work outside of the spotlight as caregivers and personal support workers in individual homes and long-term care facilities.... most of us if not all of us have seen deadly outbreaks. The pandemic has highlighted a crucial fact that Filipino nurses are one of the backbones of the UK's health and social care system. But the pandemic also highlighted the vulnerabilities of BAME groups including the Filipinos as it has become very apparent that Filipino Nurses experience specific forms of vulnerability during this ongoing pandemic evidenced by the disproportionate mortality.
While our community was shaken, our resilience and faith in God were not – which are two main factors that helped us navigate this period of danger and uncertainty. Born from necessity, a sliver of hope surfaced through this crisis. The Filipino Nurses Association - UK or FNA-UK was born! As a collective voice, we became a force to be reckoned with. As a collective voice, we empowered each other to speak up to say that as a community, we don’t want to just survive.....we want to grow, thrive but above all we want to LIVE! Filipinos are well known to never complain and boy did we not for a very long time. We often tend to keep quiet and just say, ‘We’re okay, we got this job". But in this trying time, we realised that we have to speak up and to speak louder this time. And in the long term, our community, the FNA-UK will continue to be vocal in challenging systemic issues, will continue to empower each other through training and development, will continue to raise the profile of the amazing work that Filipino nurses and all Filipino healthcare workers here in the UK do.
Happy New Year everyone and here's hoping and praying that 2021 will be a better year for all of us! God Bless us all!
A further five new nurses from the Philippines who will be working at Oxford University Hospitals NHSFT arrived in Oxford on 22 December 2020 and are currently in quarantine in a local hotel.
They were met on Christmas Eve evening by Ariel Lanada, Chairman of FilCom Oxford and President of FNA-UK, who presented FNA-UK mugs. Ariel was joined by Steven Bryan Diano of KABAYAN REMIT who very kindly donated groceries for the new arrivals.
with members of FNA-UK
26 December 2020
PLEASE TAKE PART!
FNA-UK is proud to be a partner of the important UK-REACH study and strongly encourages our members and all healthcare workers of BME background to take part
23 December 2020
A very warm welcome to our new Filipino Nurses in London
12 December 2020
FNA-UK London Region meet and greet with newly arrived nurses from the Philippines. The region also arranged for the delivery of groceries.
19th UK Philippines Friendship Day - British Ambassador to PH, Daniel Pruce reflects
20 October 2020
I am very happy to be observing the 19th UK-Philippines Friendship Day which we commemorated on 20 October. We have a lot to celebrate in our relationship, and one element in which our partnership is growing stronger, richer and deeper is in education ... read more
FNA-UK PARTNER IN UK-REACH STUDY
11 October 2020
FNA-UK is a partner of the very important UK-REACH study based at the University of Leicester. The study is investigating if, how, and why, ethnicity affects COVID-19 clinical outcomes in healthcare workers.
FNA-UK encourages all its members and Filipino healthcare workers to participate in forthcoming research activities.
Minnie Klepacz Awarded BEM
10 October 2020
Many, many congratulations to FNA-UK Press Relations Officer, Minnie Klepacz, on her award of the British Empire Medal.
The citation reads:
Minerva Pascual Collantes KLEPACZ. Matron of Ophthalmology and BAME Network Lead, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. For services to Nursing during Covid-19.
We are so proud of you!
From the Bournemouth Echo
10 October 2020
NINE Dorset residents have been put forward for various honours for The Queen’s Birthday Honours List. This year’s awards are expected to be focussed on key workers and NHS staff for their hard work and dedication during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Minerva Klepacz, a matron of Ophthalmology and BAME Network Lead at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has been put forward for a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to nursing during the Covid-19. The 41-year-old, who was born in the Philippines, has been a nurse in Bournemouth for 18 years, working in many departments before becoming an influential leader of the Eye Unit.
Minerva said: “I was really surprised to be honoured, I never really thought I could have this prestigious award. “I think it is for everyone, it is as a team. There are loads of other staff, especially in this trust, that work above and beyond.
“It is a privilege and as a Filipino I am happy to be honoured. I would like to make this award for everyone on the unit and everyone of a BAME background.” Minerva, who has lost 11 friends during this Covid pandemic, said that she dedicated her award to her colleagues and all the NHS colleagues who have lost their lives during the coronavirus outbreak. She added: “During this pandemic it has been a challenging time. People from a BAME background are more affected by Covid-19, I wanted to offer support to other staff. “Most of them don’t have their family here so we can be a family for them. It’s about listening and empowering them to speak up.
“It is such an honour, I am so happy. I have my family back home and it is extremely hard not seeing them.”
FNA OFFICERS MEET AND GREET WITH JhermiNATION
27 September 2020
JhermiNATION's Jhermeroy Esperanzate hosted a virtual meet and greet discussion with some of the officers of FNA-UK who took their oaths of office last Friday administered by H.E. Antonio M. Lagdameo, Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
FNA-UK INTERIM OFFICERS TAKE THEIR OATHS OF OFFICE ADMINISTERED BY H.E. ANTONIO M. LAGDAMEO, PHILIPPINE AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED KINGDOM
by Susie Lagrata
25 September 2020
Albert Einstein's famous quote reads...." In every difficulty lies an opportunity".
This holds true for FNA-UK! FNA-UK was founded in the midst of the tragedy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and although this pandemic stunned the Filipino community to its very core, the Filipino spirit prevailed and did not give up. Instead, we rose up against all odds and displayed the hallmark of the Filipino fighting spirit. A spirit that turned such a traumatic experience into something that helps hundreds if not thousands of people - what could be more positive than that?
Today, we made history as the FNA-UK Interim Officers took their official oath of office administered by no less than His Excellency Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo. The start was sombre as we reflected upon and paid respects to our fallen Filipino comrades who lost their lives while trying to save others. After observing a minute of silence, a short film dedicated to our fellow Filipinos who lost their battle with COVID-19 was played. The virtual setting was not able to hide nor dampen the palpable heightened emotions everyone felt whilst watching the film.
Lucky enough our Masters of Ceremonies, Ms Louie Horne and Susie Lagrata, were able to lift the heavy and sombre mood as their smiles and energy were so infectious that you could not help but lighten up as the programme proper started.
Francis Fernando, the Founding Father of FNA-UK took us on the journey of FNA-UK, from its inception to where it is now. It is awe-inspiring how FNA-UK has been able to make such a difference and touch people’s lives in spite of the fact that the association is still in its infancy.
One of the highlights of the day was when each officer took the spotlight to give a personal description of themselves. Each one successful in their own right.... each one blazing the trail for the next generation of Filipino nurse leaders here in the UK and collectively.... the pride of the Philippines. Then came the main part of the program, when all the officers took the solemn oath officiated by HE Ambassador Lagdameo. Every word uttered and every declaration made was sincerely meant. Following the oath, Interim President Ariel Lañada, delivered an awe inspiring acceptance speech. President Lañada highlighted the values of the organisation and thanked the Interim Officers and all the members for their selflessness, compassion and creative thinking to help others. He also pointed out the reality of the challenges that we may face ahead, but our common goal to help and be of service to our Filipino nurses here in the UK will be the glue that will bond us together.
From one exceptional leader the program moved on to another fierce leader in the person of the association’s Vice President Arlene Bautista. VP Bautista started her closing remarks by acknowledging what the team has achieved so far. She also stated that the tragic circumstances that we all faced, and continue to battle with, will present us with many challenges but if we are united then there is nothing that we cannot overcome. She also pointed out the wide representation of officers and members which makes FNA-UK a truly diverse and inclusive team.
As the program drew to its close, every single person present at the ceremony had one thing playing in their heads..... a Filipino party is not a party without the obligatory group photo. Therefore, the FNA-UK Officers together with HE Ambassador Lagdameo, all proudly wearing their beautiful Barongs and Filipiña dresses, wore their sweetest smiles and, as if singing in harmony, exclaimed CHEERS!!!!!
The United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity and COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers
Our President and Secretary are representing FNA-UK as a partner of this study.
23 September 2020
AWARD FOR LOUIE HORNE, LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
7 September 2020
TRUST RECOGNITION FOR NEW INTERIM OFFICERS
1 September 2020
Oxford University Hospitals NHSFT recognises on facebook the appointment of Merline Tabirao, Gigi Yebra and Ariel Lanada as officers of FNA-UK.
SUPPORT FOR OBTAINING NMC REGISTRATION
13 August 2020
Calling all Filipino Nurses in the UK who are currently non-NMC registrants. FNA-UK, as part of its outreach programme, is exploring initiatives to support Filipino Nurses in the UK to obtain NMC registration.
If this is you, or you know of someone that might be interested, please send details to our Secretary Susie Lagrata.
Click here to email the secretary, please provide the following details
We would love to hear from you.
QUIET PROTEST IN BOURNEMOUTH
By: Minnie Klepacz, FNA UK member Bournemouth
9 August 2020
Another bright Sunny morning in Bournemouth its the most hottest day where loads of people are coming from all sort of places to enjoy the breeze of our lovely beaches.
Its a different day for me, I showed up in the centre of our town not to do shopping or enjoy a walk on the seaside, but to participate on quiet protest. It’s time nurses got the recognition and pay that we deserve.
This is what I want out of a protest: to feel the community of those around me; to feel like I’m doing something; to connect with groups and leadership within the movement; and to figure out what I could do next to best support the cause. In the centre of Bournemouth one by one my fellow Filipino colleagues joined the crowd, most of us bring homemade placards that voice our concerns.
There was a band playing music and of course the Filipino reaction is to be upbeat and to dance to the music. Despite discontent and frustration we Filipino’s convert the atmosphere into a positive experience. It's been really interesting to see firsthand the energy shift throughout the protest,". "As more and more people have been joining, the energy has gotten actually more and more hopeful, more and more together.
We followed this with a march Around town making our way toward the town hall The chants is getting louder and louder “what do want.? Pay rise, when do you want it? Now”
Its just beautiful…people coming together of all different walks of life in such a spirit of togetherness and unity! It's been a really, really amazing thing to see.
We were given passionate speeches by our colleagues about there experiences and feelings. I was encouraged by BJ Waltho RCN congress Chair to say a few words in behalf of Filipinos ( FNA UK member and BAME network lead). I was nervous but the feedback that I have received I come across very passionate and heartfelt in sharing Filipino experiences during COVID pandemic .
A fair pay award would not only make today’s health workers feel valued, it would also help to attract and retain the many more that will be needed if safely staffed and world-leading services are to be achieved,’
We always work hard and in the pandemic we have continued to work hard. A pay rise will go some way to showing the government values all they do, not just this year but day in, day out. Proper recognition and pay to match it will go some way to addressing the number of unfilled jobs.”
For too long the government has taken advantage of our goodwill; they have a moral hold over us because we are caring professionals who love what we do. Now we want to stand united and fight for fair pay for all healthcare workers, and for a better NHS so we can provide the care people need.
We risk our lives to save yours
We will defend the service that we love💕🇵🇭
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
Nominations are now open for Election of FNA-UK Interim Officers
Nomination of FNA-UK Interim set of officers from the 3rd of August until midnight of the 9th of August. Nominations must be e-mailed to email@example.com
Only those members who have completed their on-line membership form, a Filipino citizen or descent and registered with the UK NMC (Nurses, nursing associates) are allowed to be nominated, nominate, vote and be voted.
The following interim set of officers are to be nominated and elected:
PresidentVice PresidentSecretaryTreasurerAuditorPress Relations OfficerProgramme Coordinators:1) Training and Development2) Sports3) Health and Well Being4) Networking/Social events
The 12 Regional Directors will be appointee by the interim officers once they are elected.
Only the top 5,4,3,or 2 (whatever is appropriate) nominations will be eligible to be voted for by our members. In case of only one nomination for a post/few posts, they automatically get elected unopposed.
From the 10th of August (midnight), those nominated will have to submit their photos with a brief background about themselves and the reasons for running in this election. Only 150 words maximum is allowed.
It’s a campaign period from the 10th of August until 07:59am of the 14th of August.
Voting starts from 8am of the 14th of August until midnight of the 15th of August. Any more votes after this period will not be counted.
All elected officers will be announced on the 16th of August from 8am.
If there are ties, the chairman or any of the commissioners will toss a coin to decide who is the winner for a particular post.
Any enquiries regarding number of votes, tallies etc will have to be made in writing to the chairman of the election 2 days after the announcement of the elected officers (until midnight of the 18th of August) otherwise, the election results will be declared final and executory.
FNA-UK August 2020 Election Committee
‘NHS WORKERS SAY NO! TO PUBLIC SECTOR PAY INEQUALITY’ FACEBOOK GROUP RALLY - 29 JULY 2020
WHEN CLAP IS NOT ENOUGH
By: Susie Mamangon Lagrata
30 July 2020
In the midst of the most iconic landmarks of London, a group of people started gathering in front of St Thomas Hospital in London, just before 5 pm on the 29th of July 2020. It really was breath-taking to see the iconic London Eye, Big Ben hiding behind the shadow of scaffolding that surrounds it and next to it are the white and brown spikes of the legislative seat of power of our country. I found myself in a perfect spot, at the corner of Westminster bridge, within shouting distance of Florence Nightingale’s statue. As I cast my eyes upon her, to pay my respects and reverence, I saw a large group of hardworking nurses leaving the main entrance of the hospital making their way to where I was standing. In the midst of them is the founder of FNA-UK, Francis Fernando, and fellow member Glenn. In their hands are home-made signs and placards exclaiming “Fight for NHS pay rise now" or "Migrants make our NHS"! As if the mighty sun approves of what’s about to happen, it parted the grey clouds and smiled brightly upon us as we begin our socially-distanced formation to begin the march.....the NURSE’S MARCH to demand a well-deserved pay rise for nurses and everyone in the NHS.
Traffic suddenly stopped, cars and buses on the roads dispersed to give way to the hundreds of hardworking but disgruntled nurses shouting “What do we want? Pay rise! When do we want it? Now!" And amongst those voices are the voices of FNA-UK members Francis, Glenn, Mimi and myself proudly displaying the FNA logo on our shirts and on our placards.
The energy was palpable, one can feel the passion and the pent-up frustration from each individual nurse of every race, size, gender and colour lining up in the street. Down below, the water of the River Thames glistened as if reflecting the spark of passion and emotion of every single nurse up above it. Then all of a sudden, in a synchronised motion, the entire group took their first step towards our destination... Number 10 Downing Street. As our group pierced through the streets of Central London, people stopped to watch and wave at us and to give us a thumbs up, while taking their obligatory selfie the rally as the backdrop. Every car that passed-by honked and beeped as a sign of their support for the NHS and the nurses.
As we reach the gates of Downing Street, we all gathered around a makeshift podium where some of the nurse leaders and union leaders took turns to make their impassioned speeches. As the speakers took the podium, their tone ranged from powerful and inspirational to exhausted and emotional. The different stories of some of the nurses, from those who continue to fight for protection to those affected by COVID-19, were both maddening and heart-breaking. It still strikes me as beyond the pale that this is how nurses were treated considering that only a few weeks ago the whole country was clapping and we were all hailed as "heroes"! But that is why we are here, to support each other so we all get what we deserve. A fair pay rise! Just before we left the demonstration, we eased our way towards the front of the gates of Downing Street. There was laid a most poignant display of single shoes, all of which had belonged to healthcare workers who had sadly lost their fight with COVID-19. These shoes were lined-up to read as '540' - in commemoration of the 540 fellow healthcare workers who are gone but who will never be forgotten.
By 7 pm, the sun was still shining but the humid air was replaced by a cooler breeze. We headed back to the underground station to make our way home with a sense of empowerment and feeling much less alone. For me, the best part of attending the rally was the new friends I made: meeting colleagues who share the same passion for making change, ready and willing to work hard and not give up... which is akin to the very essence of FNA-UK!