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Glen Haven opens doors for skilled international workers

The Filipino staff at Glen Haven Manor say they have been greatly supported and welcomed by their employer, colleagues, residents and the community and that they are appreciative of opportunities to contribute while also learning about the Canadian health care system and studying to expand their Canadian credentials. Pictured clockwise are Maricar Antolin, Arianne Lagumbay, Patrice Adolfo, Theresa Garces, Dexter Garces, Arlie Adolfo, Noel Lagumbay and Aran Gallur.
The Filipino staff at Glen Haven Manor say they have been greatly supported and welcomed by their employer, colleagues, residents and the community and that they are appreciative of opportunities to contribute while also learning about the Canadian health care system and studying to expand their Canadian credentials. Pictured clockwise are Maricar Antolin, Arianne Lagumbay, Patrice Adolfo, Theresa Garces, Dexter Garces, Arlie Adolfo, Noel Lagumbay and Aran Gallur. - Kim Dickson

NEW GLASGOW – Filipino staff working at Glen Haven Manor are appreciative that Glen Haven and Nova Scotia have opened doors for international, skilled and qualified workers and say it is a great place to share their knowledge and capabilities while learning and gaining experience within the Canadian health care system.

These international staff at Glen Haven achieved successful careers or completed studies in their home country but wanted new, progressive opportunities that life in Canada, offers such as education, the health care system and wide-open spaces.

Aran Gallur, his sister Arianne who recently married Noel Lagumbay, couples Theresa and Dexter Garces, Patrice and Arlie Adolfo, along with Maricar Antolin are all members of the Glen Haven Quality and Resident Care team and work directly in a resident care area. All are trained as personal care workers in Canada. However, in their homeland Aran, Arianne, Noel, Theresa, Dexter, Patrice and Arlie are all registered nurses and graduates of Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs from Philippine universities. Aran is also licensed as a nurse in the United States and Dexter has experience as a firefighter/medic in addition to his nursing credentials. All of the Filipino staff at Glen Haven are committed to continuing and advancing their training within the Canadian health care system and have been working hard to balance work, life and studies.

Arianne and Aran are half way through their bridging studies and are expected to complete the course by September 2018 and January 2019, respectively, while Noel is expected to start his course this September. The Adolfos have also started the process and will be assessed in June and plan to enroll in the course by either September or January. The same is true for the Garceses who plan on expanding their Canadian credentials of which Dexter plans to commence soon after Theresa completes hers. Antolin, who is in her early 20s, is currently studying for her CCAs through the Nova Scotia Community College while continuing to work at Glen Haven as a personal care worker.

Antolin says she is close to her Filipino colleagues and was happy to come to Canada to join her father Mario in Pictou County. Mario, is a mechanic assistant who has lived here for seven years and is thrilled to have his only child join him in Nova Scotia and Canada as a progressive place with lots of opportunity. Maricar who is quiet and unassuming comes from a town about the size of New Glasgow and says she likes the small town feel and her work.

The Lagumbays were the first of the group to come to Nova Scotia and to Glen Haven.

“We came to Nova Scotia because of a family connection,” says Noel. His Aunt Nenietta, who also works in the health care sector, married a Nova Scotian, Alain Fontaine, and has been living in Pictou County. Noel and Arianne also did extensive research prior to coming and discovered Nova Scotia is quiet and peaceful. “It is a good place to start,” says Noel. “It is quiet and friendly and a home away from home”.

“We didn’t feel we were different,” adds Arianne. “Working here has helped us to understand Nova Scotia and Canada. It was the biggest move of our lives and everyone has been so friendly. There is respect and warm hospitality.

“We love the residents,” says Arianne. “It is innate in you.”

Arianne’s brother, Aran and his family soon followed his sister and brother in law to Pictou County and Glen Haven.

“Everything has been exciting,” says Aran whose wife, Ilyn, is also a nurse in the Philippines, but who is now working as a medical secretary to Dr. Emanuell Rivera. The two met while volunteering at a provincial hospital in the Phillipines and they knew after they got married that life in Canada would open up many opportunities for their young daughter, who is in Grade 2.

“We wanted our daughter to have a good future,” explains Aran. “I find New Glasgow and Pictou County our ideal place - a perfect mix of rural and urban and not far from the city. It is a great place for a child to grow up in with less crime and less traffic.”

“I love having settled here. I knew this is a place where we could settle our family and raise our daughter. Nova Scotia is a very lovely place. We have acquired a house and are rooted here. The Filipino community here is growing. That’s what Filipinos do. If they find a good place, they encourage others to come.”

Aran also greatly appreciates the opportunity to work in long-term care noting that such facilities are not common in the Philippines. “I was working in the academe, more than the clinical area before. This job has brought a lot of excitement to me working in another field of nursing and to learn more about geriatric care. It is important to work for what we studied and it is great to be learning more!”

Another connection within the group is traced to Arianne (Gallur) Lagumbay and Dexter Garces who were classmates in high school. This influenced Dexter and his wife Theresa who applied for permanent residency in Canada and Nova Scotia answered to also apply and work at Glen Haven. “I find it really good,” says Theresa. “Colleagues are very good and management is supportive. It is rewarding at Glen Haven”. “The appreciation we receive from the residents and their families is heartwarming,” adds Dexter. “It makes you feel you are a making a difference”. The Garceses also find Nova Scotia a great fit and say with a smile that even winter cannot outweigh the good things they are experiencing. “We also love that the Filipino community is so strong here,” says Theresa. “We don’t feel lonely. It is close knit.”

Theresa grew up in a family of nurses. She saw how her mother and older sister worked as nurses and the results of it, explaining with passion that she couldn’t think of any other career. “It is a noble profession,” says Theresa.

The Adolfos also came to Canada for career opportunities. “We wanted to take care of people,” says Patrice. “There is a manageable work load here,” she explains. “In the Philippines the work load is very heavy.” “We are lucky to be here,” comments Arlie. “It is very good and we feel accepted at Glen Haven. Our co-workers are approachable and nice. Working here is a great opportunity. Taking care of people- it is what we like doing.”

“It is a welcoming work environment and very accommodating,” says Patrice with a big smile. “Filipinos are innately helpful and if you are medically inclined you are drawn to a career where you can help people. In the Philippines we are close to the elderly in our families. It is part of the culture. Often, they live with your family or very close by. Families here are good. They also reach out and visit often. It is good to see families get together.”

Patrice says the best part about being in Nova Scotia is being on the journey with her husband, Arlie. “I wouldn’t ask for anyone else to ever share it with,” she says. The two have taken time on their days off to explore Canada, visiting the South Shore, Cape Breton, PEI, New Brunswick and Quebec in addition to Pictou County since their arrival last August. “I knew people were nice here that even when we are walking around the community, people would speak to us and offer help.” Arlie and Patrice also took notice of the work environment and how it has helped to make their transition and ability to enhance their Canadian education. “We were very eager to pursue continuing care careers,” says Patrice. “Even after a long shift you feel like you have done something worthwhile”. “Thank you from the families makes it all worth it,” adds Arlie. “The staff here know the residents well.” The Adolfos also say that the community and their colleagues have been interested in knowing more about the Filipino culture.

Lisa M. Smith, CEO of Glen Haven says the Filipino staff have adjusted extremely well to life and work in Nova Scotia. “We are grateful for their skill, outstanding work ethic and dedication. Each staff member has fit in well with their colleagues and are enriching the community,” says Smith. “I constantly hear feedback from residents and other staff members about their commitment and dedication to our residents and how they are strong team players, consistently contributing to Glen Haven’s priority to deliver to exceptional individualized quality care. It is both admirable and inspiring to see their ongoing commitment to further their professional Canadian credentials in their chosen fields. They have already accomplished so much in their careers in the Philippines but are committed to excel also in Canada. The diversity of our team makes us stronger in so many ways.”

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