Influence: A journey worth traveling; an immigrant’s dream to be a nurse in America


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Every day in VA hospitals nationwide, nurses dedicate themselves to help patients reclaim their lives. What they do is more than a career, it’s a calling to restore hope and bring healing to Veterans and their families. Nurses’ strength, skill and compassion lie at the core of VA’s high-quality standard of care. This Nurses Week, we are sharing VA nursing stories that embody inspiration, innovation and influence. Be sure to check back in for a new story every day the week of May 6-12th and share your favorite VA nurse memory in the comments section.

I never thought I would be a nurse in America…. I didn’t even dare to dream I could be a Nurse when I was young. My mother was a housewife and my father was a fisherman in one of the islands in Southern Luzon Philippines. The island has no electricity and no roads. With five children in the family, life was hard and my parents were struggling to make ends meet. My parents couldn’t afford to send us to school.

Then a twist of fate happened to our family. My father witnessed a big house fire and he helped to rescue the family and their valuables. In return for my father’s good deeds, the lawyer who lived in the house sent my father to school and gave him a job in his company. We were then able to go to school and our parents always emphasized the value of education, “this is the only inheritance we can give you that nobody can take away.”

My brother led the way by finishing nursing school and landing a job in Florida. I was inspired by all the people he helps, so I was determined to become a nurse in America and be successful in my career. I have been a nurse for eleven years, 5 years in the VA system.

Being a VA nurse is a privilege that I will always appreciate. Every shift that I work, I always give the best that I can be. I stay positive and calm in times when situations seemed to be very demanding. I always put our Veterans and their families on my priority list, being an advocate for their health and safety is always my common goal for every Veteran that I encounter.

I never thought that someday I would be a nurse in America… I used to be just a simple girl in the island who had a simple life. I felt I have a mission to accomplish to our Veterans. And to inspire and influence fellow nurses to do the best that they can do in every patient encounter. Whatever we do now, will be history tomorrow.

Let us not waste time, instead, let us make good memories to share not just this nurses week but all the days of our lives!

Story submitted by: Alma Ner CCRN-CMC, RN, BSN

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VA Careers

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