The Filipino Nurses Association United Kingdom (FNA UK) has won the coveted National BAME Health Care Awards for Community Initiative of the Year, even though it was just formed a year ago.
The awards honor the accomplishments of BAME employees who work selflessly to help others, such as remarkable resourcefulness and leadership, quality improvements, and access to services for people of color, among other things. In the United Kingdom, BAME stands for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic.
“It means a lot,” Arlene Bautista, a seasoned NHS nurse and FNA UK vice president, spoke highly of the award.
Amidst the lockdown, the group’s top leaders agreed to meet and invite colleagues who shared their enthusiasm and vision.
“I, personally, I have a good friend who died from COVID. I have a colleague who died from COVID, so are the other officers. So we thought there are so many organizations in the UK, but there is no true representation of the nurses in the UK from the Philippines,” said Bautista.
Before creating FNA-UK, the Philippines Nurses Association UK was the only nursing organization in the UK.
“We thought, we have to have a voice. We have to be represented. Let’s form an association. So, the birth of the Filipino Nurses Association UK happened. That was in July 2020. If there is a silver lining of COVID, that is one of them: we formed strong, unified heads amongst the Filipino nurses,” according to Bautista.
Some of the organization’s founding members were senior NHS nurses who convened on social media to capture the shared thoughts and issues of newly arriving nurses in 2020, who found themselves in the middle of a battle against a rare coronavirus epidemic that had swept the country.
“Yung mga kakararating lang (sa UK) at nag-long day duty; paglabas, wala nang mabiling pagkain dahil sa panic buying. So, sina-sign post nila sa akin,” Bautista said.
“To who have recently arrived here in the UK and has a long-day duty would find themselves no food to buy as panic buying had clean the store shelves. So they sign a post for me.”
An organization founded on a commitment to service is expanding across the country, with over 2000 members and a regional board of directors from every region.