Touching down at Heathrow 20 years ago on 11 July 2002 was an exciting but apprehensive moment for the 19 overseas nurses from the Philippines (Royal Surrey’s fourth batch of nurses from overseas).
For most of the cohort, it was the first time they had left their country or their families, but fast forward to 2022 and 13 of the group are still working at Royal Surrey and are highly valued members of the Royal Surrey family.
Venson Nuevas, Practice Development Charge Nurse, was one of the group. He vividly remembers arriving at Royal Surrey for the first time and the warm welcome the nurses received, particularly from nurses who had arrived in previous years from the Philippines.
He said: “We were quite famished by the time we got to Royal Surrey, having only had breakfast on the plane, but a group of nurses had bought roast chickens from Tesco and rice to go with it. A very big ‘Thank you!’ to Francis and Luz, even though it was a simple meal, it felt very heart-warming and so welcoming.
“We had a huge sense of anticipation arriving here. It was a new country, a new opportunity and for a lot of us it was the first time we’d left our country to work abroad, so it felt very adventurous. Now, twenty years on, a lot of our ‘batch’ are still working here and are married, have kids and are really settled. We are still friends and are planning a big get together soon. It has proved to be a great opportunity for all of us and an amazing adventure too!”