Art by Ameana Khan (HLA Scholar 2020-21 and Anaesthetic Registrar)
I am a Filipino national who was born and raised in the Philippines. I have been working as a staff nurse in a prominent government hospital in the Philippines for five years before I moved to the United Kingdom. Nursing profession back home does not get the treatment it deserves. Filipino nurses are poorly compensated compared to other neighbouring nations in Asia. Having experienced the struggles of being a nurse in the Philippines marked by exhausting work hours, disproportionate nurse-patient ratio and little salary, I have decided to work overseas and fortunately, made it to England.
I was raised in a single parent family. My father left us when we were still very young so it was just me, my sister and my mom. Being a mother and a father at the same time was the hardest role one could ever be. Living in a world of patriarchy, I have seen the sacrifices and struggles of a single mother. With the great help of my grandparents, my mom was able to provide all the basic needs in order for us to thrive. Juggling from different jobs and sidelines to generate income, she was empowered by her will to nurture her children to the best of her abilities. Growing up with her providence and protection, I have seen how she became the strongest and most empowering woman I know. She has gained strength through all her sufferings and sacrifices. She always remind me that one doesn’t need a man to rear a family. This was greatly proven as I have felt and seen her fruits of love for us.
Experiencing culture shock was a challenging part I have faced upon migrating in the UK. The language, the people’s attitude and behaviour, the food, the time difference, the changing seasons – these were the aspects in my life I have dealt with everyday until I was able to adjust and adapt. At workplace, I am glad to say that I have been warmly accepted and dealt by my colleagues when I first transferred. There are already a number of Filipinos ,in the Anaesthetics and Recovery Department, who have been working for a long time already and they have been established and known to be hardworking and dedicated to their roles. It has been a challenge to me to follow their footsteps of how they have managed to be excellent at performing their responsibilities as an NHS staff nurse.
Take Home Message
Always love yourself. Because in loving one’s self, one learns to accept who and what they are, irrespective of any ethnic background and gender.
About This Art Series:
Inspired by the poster “We Can Do It” aka “Rosie the Riveter”, who has served as a powerful symbol to many women and has motivated and provided strength to many individuals throughout society. Ameana has created a series of work (which is on going) to celebrate the many strong women within out NHS workforce.
The NHS workforce is made up of a diverse community, however, like many organisation there are also some inequalities that are embedded within the NHS. In order to gain insight into the thoughts of other NHS workers, Ameana has requested her colleagues to be her muses and tell the story of their background and the challenges they have faced as women and as being a part of the ethnic minority. In her series of art pieces, she has used an urban style to-accentuate the powerful role the women play as NHS workers. She has written strong women in English as well as their native language.