In 2015, Gladdy Acta, RN, made a life-changing decision. She was leaving her home country, the Philippines, to start a new life in the United States.
Her transition wasn’t easy. The news of her hiring came one week before her wedding. Also, a month before she left, her father-in-law had a massive stroke. But her family, especially her mother, were sure moving to the United States would give her a better life.
Carle recruits international nurses as one of several ways to help manage the nursing shortage in the U.S. In late 2015, a Carle team traveled to the Philippines.
“Since the trip, we strengthened the talent pipeline for international nurses,” talent outreach consultant Jackie Ohl said. “Recruiting international nurses is beneficial. It’s another way to bring highly experienced nurses to the Carle workforce.”
Carle hired more than 30 nurses on the 2015 trip and now has 21 experienced registered nurses who are thriving in their new work environment.
Acta and her husband arrived in the U.S. on October 12, 2017. Before they came, she worried where she would live and how she would manage her money.
“It has been overwhelming,” Acta admits. “But Jackie and the rest of the Carle staff have been very accommodating. Also, some of the other Filipino nurses donated household items. I am so blessed.”
Acta works the night shift in the surgical unit on Carle Tower 7. Effective communication takes time.
“Slang words are the major issue. Other nurses say it gets easier over time. For now, I verify words with patients when I need to,” she said.
Although she’s far from home, Acta has family enough to ease any homesickness. Her parents and two younger sisters live in Canada most of the year. In the Philippines, her husband worked on a cruise ship, so they would spend months at a time apart.
Now he works as a transporter at Carle, and the couple is able to spend much more time together. In their free time, Acta and her husband enjoy walking around the U of I campus and cooking at home.
“My favorite thing about nursing is helping patients,” Acta said. “I can help bring them relief from suffering, and I feel so appreciated at Carle. I have no regrets about moving.”
Acta isn’t the only Carle nurse who recently immigrated. Dally Legaspi, RN, moved to the U.S. last year. Legaspi was born in the Philippines and then moved to Canada in 2007.
But, in 2016, Legaspi received some frightening news. Her sister in Indiana had breast cancer, and Legaspi wanted to be closer to her.
Legaspi started to look for work in the U.S. One of her friends worked at Carle and put her in contact with an immigration lawyer. In early 2016, the lawyer submitted her resume to Carle. After getting the job, Legaspi, her husband, and their 3-year-old son moved to Urbana.
“There was a big culture shock moving from the Philippines to Canada,” Legaspi said. “But coming to the U.S. from Canada wasn’t as big of a deal, especially because I learned English in school. I had a good experience coming to America.”
Outside work, Legaspi likes to be with her family and friends. The family recently took a trip Disney World for her son’s birthday and visited cousins who live in Florida.
Legaspi works the night shift in the oncology unit.
“I was hesitant about this because my background is in cardiology,” she explains. “But I enjoy the work and the people. From day one, everyone has been so welcoming, and it feels like they want you to be here.”
Recruiting international nurses will continue.
“We will be taking another trip to the Philippines later this year,” Ohl said. “And we plan to start a second recruitment initiative in Canada, as well.”
For more information about careers at Carle, please visit carle.org/careers.