The first international travelers begin to arrive
As planned, nurses from across the globe are beginning to arrive at Asante for three-year contracts. Two have already landed hospital assignments, while eight more are in the United States and are awaiting licensing approvals before they can start work.
These 10 are among what will be 54 international nurses contracted through PassportUSA in 2023. They couldn’t be coming at a better time. With influenza, COVID-19 and RSV cases crowding our hospitals, staffing once again is critical.
Noel Hontiveros — Asante’s first new international nurse — was able to start work at ARRMC in September, having been in the United States since March. Before moving to the West Coast to be closer to his family in California, he worked at a rehabilitation hospital in Colorado.
His time at that hospital, as well as caring for older patients at a large hospital in the United Kingdom, helped prepare him for his new role in ARRMC’s Neuro/Ortho Unit, which treats patients recovering from stroke, among other conditions.
“I’m really quite lucky,” said Hontiveros, 31. “I tend to ask a lot of questions, especially getting to know the unit. My preceptors answer my questions and allow me to learn the way I want to, like picking up the older patient workload. I like to learn all I can in a short period of time.”
Growing up in the Philippines, Hontiveros had planned to become a physician. He took a nursing job after high school to help pay the bills and discovered he enjoyed it. He also likes living in Oregon.
“I like that it’s spacious. You’ve got more options if you want to buy your own home. You’ve got huge grocery stores.”
Compared with other parts of the United States, Medford is a shorter distance to San Francisco, Orange County and San Diego, where many of his extended family members live, some of whom are nurses.
Being a traveler from overseas does, however, carry a few drawbacks. Hontiveros misses his friends and family, and Filipino cuisine. He’s hoping to meet more international nurses and med techs from the Philippines, where many of Asante’s new travelers will be coming from. For them, he can become a support and a guide.
“I had experience, so that made me a little more adaptable,” he said. “But for some it’s their first time out of the country.”
A second international nurse, Rosemarie Maralit, joined ARRMC’s NICU in December and a third, Giselle Amboy, will arrive in ARRMC’s ICU on Jan. 9.
Eventually, Asante Talent Acquisition expects to contract with more than 300 international travelers, which include RNs and medical technicians. Some will be assigned work at ATRMC, but the vast majority of the early arrivals will work at Asante Rogue Regional.
Candidates must speak fluent English, are interviewed for fit, have extensive prearrival training and receive support from PassportUSA for their transition to our community. They will be integrated into the Asante community similarly to new-graduate RNs.
After they arrive, they’ll be evaluated for further training needs and receive professional and social support.
While short-term travelers served a vital role during the COVID surges, the goal with these travelers is to ensure they remain with Asante long after their contract expires.
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