Ray Goto on nursing in a new country, Covid-19, and the Chief Nurse Fellows programme

Ray Goto Ray Goto is a staff nurse at King George Hospital and moved to the UK from the Philippines in July 2018. Below, Ray writes about the challenges he has overcome, firstly nursing in a new country and secondly, caring for patients with Covid-19 and keeping up with rapidly changing information and guidelines.

Recently, Ray took part in our Chief Nurse Fellows programme and he also discusses the opportunities this has bought about:

"Stepping out of your comfort zone to pursue an ambition in a foreign country is a challenging task which no one can really be prepared for. It takes courage, dedication and passion to finally make a move, take a huge step and chase one’s destiny - for the sake of personal development, professional progress - and having a bit of fun in between!

"Starting a new job role in the UK challenged me deeply. It was a difficult transition - the way we worked in the Philippines is way different to the way things are done here. I did struggle trying to learn new and different things such as protocols, guidelines, routines and even the equipment. 

"I had to consider cultural diversity as our patients in our hospitals are of lots of different races. 

"I felt I couldn’t cope on the ward because the amount work was overwhelming. It was difficult balancing the things I needed to learn while making sure that good care was delivered. 

"It was hard and I felt frustrated and I wanted to go back home. I was feeling down. 

"And then it hit me - I should never give up. 

"The immense support of my mentors, fellow nurses, colleagues, and all the people I met has pulled me through. I had people who would cheer me up when I was feeling down.

"I also had to give the best of myself. I had to cross cultural and racial boundaries to provide the best quality care there is. I learnt to be flexible, independent and efficient. 

"The challenging period has moulded me to be the nurse I am today. The difficulties enhanced my skills, cultivated my knowledge and improved my attitude. 

"As I was starting to get along quite well on the wards, Covid-19 happened. And, in a blink of an eye, the world was turned upside down.

"The good thing it taught us was flexibility—there was a sudden shift from working in a surgical to a medical team. 

"The level of care for patients with Covid-19 was different from what we were used to but they were still patients who needed our care. Everyone went out of their comfort zone to provide the quality care that they deserve. 

"Moreover, this pandemic has strengthened our teamwork. We looked after one another and we continuously supported each other. And we even tried to have fun during a difficult time. 

"However, something that I would like to change about this pandemic is how we reacted to it. The national mandates and directives have been changing over and over again and caused a lot of confusion and struggle. We were already exhausted and it should’ve been handled in a clear and logical way so that staff could feel confident and supported while battling the pandemic. But we were able to pull through in the end. And I am just thankful for that. 

"As Covid-19 eased, I had the opportunity to be part of the Chief Nurse Fellow Programme. The experience was amazing. I was able to gain different insights and learning from different areas. I developed a deeper understanding of what the scope of work in our hospitals and it has made me strive harder. It has given me a new perspective in my view of nursing as a profession and has provided me with a pool of opportunities for my career progression in the future. 

"I am so honoured to be part of the program and thankful for the experience I had. It has been one of the highlights of my career since I came to the UK. 

"The experiences I’ve had over the last few months during Covid-19 might be different from other people but the values we possess, the vision that we had was probably the same. I will continue to pursue excellence to be the best nurse for my patients."

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