I was a registered nurse in the Philippines before coming to England on a student visa to get a UK nursing qualification in 2010. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at the University of Hertfordshire in 2012, while working as a career in Nursing & Residential Homes.

I worked in the care industry for about 5 years. In 2015, I responded to Diaverum UK’s job advert for a Healthcare Assistant, and based on my background in nursing, I was offered a Dialysis Assistant [DA] position instead. While happy as a DA, I was inwardly yearning for a full nursing role. However, due to the strict guidelines set at that time by the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for nurses trained overseas, I had to put my aspiration of becoming a registered nurse in the UK on hold. Until when...? I had no idea!

There was a glimmer of hope in 2017, when the NMC introduced new guidelines for overseas nurses. Still, I was hesitant. Thankfully, my senior colleague took time to discuss the available options with me, including how Diaverum would support me if I decided to go ahead with my application. With that knowledge, I started the process of meeting all requirements stipulated by the NMC despite a tight and hectic schedule as a working mother of two children. I am happy to say that I was successful in all the assessments.

After passing these initial exams, I experienced the worst months of my life with health and domestic struggles, financial challenges and immigration issues. There were problems and obstacles everywhere I turned, which eventually led to me leaving the UK to go back to the Philippines. It was a dark season, but my faith in God kept hope alive as I waited for my miracle.

In November 2018, I received a ‘Decision Letter’ from the NMC, making it possible for Diaverum to support my return to the UK. This marked a new beginning for my children and me. On my return, I prepared and sat for the final stage of the NMC qualifying exams and successfully gained my NMC PIN, confirming my eligibility to practice as a registered nurse in the UK.

It has taken a long time for my career to take off, but I strongly believe that everything happens in its own perfect time. I have never been this excited about work. It’s a great feeling. My dream of practicing as a nurse in the UK is a reality.

I worked hard for everything I have achieved, but none of this would have been possible without the outstanding help and support of the following people:

First and foremost, I am grateful to Diaverum for their trust and confidence in me and for all the support in processing my return to the UK. To my managers at the Eastbourne clinic: thank you for believing in me and for helping me out the entire time. To my friends and colleagues, many thanks for the words of inspiration and for being my family in the UK.

To that someone who saw beauty and hope in me during my darkest times, maraming salamat. And most importantly, thank you to my family, especially to my children, for keeping me alive and sane. I could not have accomplished all of this on my own.

To those who qualified in their own countries and still have the desire of becoming a registered nurse elsewhere, or of following their own secret dreams, I can confirm that it is never too late to step out. Anything is possible. Fulfil your purpose. The longest journey starts with a single step. Take that step.