The Filipino Nurses Association United Kingdom (FNA UK) was recently awarded the National BAME Health and Care Awards, under the “Community Initiative of the Year” category.
BAME stands for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethic in the UK— one in every six staff of the National Health Service (NHS) are from BAME backgrounds. (Read: 3 Compelling Documentaries About the Lives of Pinoy Workers)
The awards recognize the contribution of BAME staff and their dedication to serving others. This includes their exceptional initiatives and leadership, improvement of services, access to services for people from BAME.
The FNA UK continues to grow with some 2,000 registered members already across the UK and regional board of directors from every region in the country.
Spirit of Volunteerism
True to its foundation anchored on the spirit of volunteerism, FNA UK’s Founding Director Francis Michael Fernando was awarded the Compassionate and Inclusive Leader of the Year-Initiative.
The association’s incumbent president Ariel Lanada was also named BAME Nurse of the Year. “[Lanada] has been instrumental in supporting his colleagues and the Filipino community in Oxfordshire through what has been an extremely difficult period,” a press release from the Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) reads.
“I am dedicating this award to all my fellow nurses and Healthcare colleagues throughout the world,” Lanada said on Twitter after receiving the award. (Read: Caritas PH to Launch Legal Consultation Service for Pinoy Workers)
Filipino Nurses Association
According to Arlene Bautista, veteran National Health Service nurse and vice president of FNA UK, the association aims to support Pinoy nurses in the UK. (Read: 5 Filipino nurses who’ll inspire you to stay strong and compassionate amid COVID-19 crisis)
“We thought, we have to have a voice. We have to be represented. Let’s form an association. So, the birth of the Filipino Nurses Association UK happened. That was in July 2020,” she said.
Bautista added that the COVID-19 experience of Filipino frontliners— some of them dying during self-isolation— inspires the group to continue supporting each other and their fellow nurses.
“If there is a silver lining of COVID, that is one of them: We formed a strong, unified heads amongst the Filipino nurses,” she said.
Speak up, Learn to Say ‘No’
According to Bautista, newly arrived nurses are often timid and are afraid to say “No.” They accept duty assignments even when it is already detrimental to their health and well-being, she said.
“Filipinos have been disproportionately affected by COVID. During the first wave, nearly 60 Filipinos died. You see, Filipinos are so subservient and that is so inherent. We are just saying ‘Yes, okay,” shared Bautista.
She added that this is why support groups like FNA UK are essential to encourage their peers to speak up. “We don’t want them to suffer in silence. We are here for them,“ said Bautista.